You can’t walk into a classroom without hope that things can be better. You have to hope that, by your hard work and your vision, every person in that classroom can be better tomorrow than they were today. I think that we need more hard work and more vision in politics.
  • Reform our Politics

    We often complain about the role of money in our politics. Out on the campaign trail, a letter carrier told me she was going to vote for whomever sent the fewest mailers. I get it. Our elected officials have had years to do something about how money has corrupted our politics, but they haven’t done a thing. Instead they throw up their hands, complain, and pretend to be powerless to stop it. When I am in office, I won’t do that. I will work to pass legislation that increases transparency in government. I will advocate to eliminate some of the perks legislators get. I will work for more accountability in campaign finances so that we know who is paying for all those mailers, and I will lower campaign spending limits so legislators can work on creating good policy instead of raising money.
  • Promote Economic Growth

    Economic inequality is not an issue only for those who suffer. When paychecks only cover the basics of survival, our neighbors can’t support their local businesses, and those businesses in turn can’t grow the way they should. In addition to being unfair and immoral, this disparity is bad for all of us. Recent business closings like those at Electrolux, Sears, and Herbergers have directly affected many of us: maybe we lost a job, maybe a friend lost a job, or maybe we have lost business because others are suffering. But this isn’t a trend in isolation: as we have faced these challenges, the poverty rate in the St. Cloud area has doubled, and 26% of our community now lives below the poverty line despite St. Cloud’s low unemployment rate. We need a new economy, one that is forward-looking and prepares for the future rather than simply reacts to change. We need to develop a business climate that builds on our strengths. We need jobs that supply a paycheck, but we also need jobs that allow people to improve their standard of living, jobs that create hope for promotion and social mobility. Quality of life is as important as quantity of profit. We can’t have one without the other. To accomplish this, we must build and maintain good roads, bridges, and transit to help grow jobs and a sense of community, incentivize entrepreneurship, and provide broadband to all of us. We need jobs that grow the middle class and allow our children to find opportunity here.
  • Address our Healthcare Crisis

    Our current approach to healthcare fails too many Minnesotans. It’s too expensive and too complicated. Some might say that we should let the market figure it out. We tried that; it doesn’t work. But bad policy creates some of the issues that cause healthcare to be expensive, so we need good policy to fix the problem. A healthcare system that only benefits the healthy and wealthy is morally wrong, and it’s not going to work. We can’t wait for the federal government to solve our healthcare crisis. Given our political climate, we need to make a number of improvements on the state level immediately, like strengthening and expanding the public option right here in Minnesota. We deserve better and more affordable healthcare. That includes passing commonsense legislation, like the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, which would have ensured Minnesotans who struggle to afford insulin can still get it. Our current Senator voted against this bill; I know we can do better.
  • Invest in Education

    As a teacher, I know we have some of the best local schools and the most dedicated educators in the state. But our schools succeed even though our government has consistently failed them, treating teachers like enemies and schools like factories. I know our teachers, and I know our schools. They deserve better. Our schools shape our future. Schools teach us new skills, but they also help us meet new challenges, and they encourage us to engage with people who don’t look like us. Our children are entering a world unlike the one we grew up in, where they will meet a wider variety of people and more frequently change jobs. We need an education that can teach our young people to become versatile citizens. The legislature funds our schools like we’re a small town, and we aren’t anymore. I will work to fund our schools appropriately and honestly so that our children get the attention they deserve. We need smaller class sizes. We need additional support staff so that our young people receive the guidance that they need. And I will work to energize how we teach citizenship in our public schools by creating a Congress in the School program and helping our kids become better communicators. We need better schools for a healthier community and a better democracy.
  • Hold Government Accountable

    Elected officials should be public servants. They need to be reliable and accessible to all their constituents. But public service isn’t passive; it is active. An elected official should be a leader, should reach out to the community, and have a vision and the skill and will to communicate it. It’s not the job of government to solve all our problems — but a healthy democracy can foster vigorous dialogue and discussion. Elected officials must provide leadership and foster connections between elements of a community, stand up for each of us, and make all of us stronger. When I am elected, I will hold regular town hall meetings and write columns for our local media. I can’t say you’ll always agree with me. But you’ll always know what I believe, where to find me, and how to get in touch. And you can trust me to always call you back. We deserve representatives who don’t take us for granted. We deserve a Senator who works hard to listen to and be heard by all of us.