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.
  • Rein in Prescription Drug Prices

    In the State Senate, Aric will push to rein in prescription drug costs because no one should have to skip taking their medicine because they can’t afford it—especially during the coronavirus crisis. Putnam supports allowing the state to use its purchasing power to make prescription drugs available at the lowest possible cost. He will work to require drug companies to publicly disclose how much they spend on research and development, advertising, and executive salaries. Putnam supports prohibiting price gouging on prescription drugs.
  • Put Our Skilled Manufacturing Labor Back to Work

    The coronavirus has shown that we need to be better prepared for the next health crisis, so we don’t have to rely on other countries for essential medical supplies. Aric Putnam supports a plan to put our skilled manufacturing labor back to work by making masks, gowns, pharmaceuticals, and other essential medical supplies right here in Minnesota. Before the closing of Electrolux, our city was a well-known manufacturing hub. St. Cloud can thrive again.
  • Return to Work With Purpose

    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. Aric Putnam will help rebuild the local economy by supporting small businesses so they can reopen, grow, and thrive. In the State Senate, Aric will fight to
    • Provide low-interest loans for small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic
    • Invest in businesses that will create jobs
    • Offer tax credits and forgivable plans to small businesses for hiring local workers
  • Reform our Justice System

    Aric’s grandfather was a police officer, his uncle was a sheriff’s deputy, and three of his cousins are currently cops. Aric understands the challenges our police face. Aric will work to reform public safety so it protects everyone, working with communities and local police, holding police accountable to the communities they serve, and improving training for officers so all of our families are safe, no matter where they live or what they look like. In the State Senate, Aric will fight to support the mental health of officers and focus on de-escalation, increase transparency and accountability with community, and seek to increase transparency and citizen participation in officer discipline.
  • Invest in Education

    As a teacher for more than 20 years, Aric Putnam knows our schools. He knows that no matter where we live or how much money we have, we all want our kids to have access to a quality education. We have some of the best teachers in the state. But our schools are struggling. Our students and staff don’t have the support they need, and that hinders our entire community, not just our schools. By securing a good education for all of us, we can build our future for generations to come. Aric Putnam will fight for our schools and our students:
    • Voluntary Pre-K
    • Smaller class sizes
    • Adequate support staff: Minnesota is worst in the nation when it comes to the ratio of support staff to students. We need more adults, especially counselors, in our schools.
    • Mental health check-ups for students entering 9th grade. We check physical health, and we need to check in on mental health too.
    • Affordable college tuition that funds valuable programs. SCSU was so under-funded that they closed two majors and we lost our football program. We deserve better.
  • Serve the Veterans who Served Us

    Aric is from a military family. He is who he is today because of people who served in the armed forces, including his grandfather, who served in World War Two, and his father, a Vietnam veteran. Military service runs deep in his family, but you don’t need to be from a military family to respect veterans and know that their sacrifices should be honored. When Aric is in office, he will work to fully fund the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs; support programs that help veterans transition from the military to education and promising careers; and reduce the cost of hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses for disabled veterans. He will also work to expand the VA’s Vet Centers in Minnesota. Vet Centers provide veterans and their families increased access to mental and physical healthcare, and help them manage issues with readjustment after combat. Vet Centers also assist in reducing veteran suicide and homelessness. For too long our legislature has taken half steps to support those who have been all in. It’s time we honored our commitment and truly supported veterans.
  • Establish Sustainable Climate Practices

    The climate crisis is no longer a problem for tomorrow—it threatens our way of life, and it does so right now. Winter recreation industries suffer, and as fires and hurricanes, intensified by rising temperatures, wreak havoc on other parts of the world, climate refugees flee to areas like Minnesota that are becoming more temperate. No part of the world will be untouched by the climate crisis. We need a comprehensive solution to this crisis. It’s not just an issue of energy policy, though that’s a big part of it. While we reduce dependency on fossil fuels and shrink our carbon footprint we need to intentionally pursue dematerialization and decarbonization. We can accomplish some of this with newer, greener technologies, but we must also make better use of the ones we already have. For example, switching to electronic medical records has already significantly decreased the amount of paper we use, and we can and should also incentivize agriculture that sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Politicians in the pockets of polluters will try to force a false decision between the environment and the economy. That’s not a true choice. Efficiency and sustainable practices are key to a strong economy and our future. We won’t be fooled, and we won’t wait.
  • 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 Aric is elected, he will hold regular town hall meetings and write columns for our local media. 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—and that’s the kind of Senator Aric Putnam will be.
  • Make Housing More Affordable

    Sixty percent of the people in St. Cloud live in “economic distress.” That means that over thirty percent of their income goes to housing. “Distress” is the right word because all it takes is one stretch of bad luck—a health crisis, a lost job—and almost two thirds of our neighbors could experience homelessness. Worse still, on any given day three to five percent of our school district’s children experience homelessness. That means that some days, five hundred children in our community are looking for shelter instead of doing homework, just trying to get through today instead of building for tomorrow. The answer to our affordable housing crisis is complex. We need more options for affordable housing, but the problem goes deeper than the housing supply. We need to reform how we fund and oversee both our housing options and how we help those experiencing homelessness. Right now, a patchwork of dedicated volunteers is stretched thin supplying a temporary remedy to a problem that is continuous and growing in harm. These efforts need more resources, but they would also benefit from greater coordination and accountability.
  • End Partisan Gerrymandering and Map Manipulation

    Partisan gerrymandering is a tool politicians use to manipulate the lines of their district in a way that benefits them—so politicians can pick their voters instead of voters getting to pick their representatives. That's not how it's supposed to be. But when selfish politicians make government worse by manipulating the system, it almost guarantees these politicians get re-elected. That means they stop listening to who they represent and instead pander to their party’s extremes and the special interests who fund their re-election. If we’re going to fix this mess and end partisan gerrymandering, if we're going to create fair maps, we need non-partisan, independent redistricting that ends map manipulation.
  • Legalize Cannabis

    Cannabis is currently classified as a Schedule I drug along with substances like MDMA and heroin, but researchers know cannabis poses far less harm than those drugs and can even be beneficial for some medical conditions. Cannabis prohibition hasn’t been fairly enforced, either, and has only deepened our country’s racial divide: arrests for cannabis use have fallen heavily on Black Americans, despite the fact that Black people and white people use cannabis at similar rates. The prohibition of cannabis in our country has been a moral and political failure, and it’s time we ended it. But we need to be smart about how we legalize cannabis. We don’t need another extension of big pharma, with corporate farms crushing small business. We need to have reasonable rules to prevent underage access and impaired driving, rules like the ones we have for alcohol. But other states have solved these issues, and we can too. Colorado, for example, uses the tax money it raises from cannabis sales to fund schools, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and homelessness prevention. Two-thirds of all Americans believe cannabis should be legal, and eleven states and Washington, D.C., have already legalized it. Minnesota should join them.
  • Restore our Politics

    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 Aric is in office, he will work to pass legislation that increases transparency in government. He will advocate to eliminate some of the perks legislators get. He will work for more accountability in campaign finances so that we know who is paying for all those mailers, and he will lower campaign spending limits so legislators can work on creating good policy instead of raising money.