The state legislature is a place where we can tackle the challenges that are being ignored in Washington, D.C. and take better care of all people in our community. More than listen to and represent you, I pledge to be someone who empowers my constituents to lead. We must change the paradigm of democracy to facilitate participatory leadership and lift up all voices.
Civil discourse is critical to the health of our democracy and neighborhoods. In today’s polarized climate, I pledge to be a leader who champions civil discourse and works to find constructive solutions to the issues we face. The National Institute of Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona is leading the way on improving the civility in our state legislatures. Representative JoAnn Ward of Woodbury is leading the way in our state on this important work, and I hope to support these efforts at the legislature. There is a recent conversation about it from Aspen Ideas Festival, re-broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio here.
I worked on increasing civil discourse at the University of Minnesota through the Art of Participatory Leadership/Art of Hosting Community of Practice.
Education and College Affordability
Our public schools have long defined this district. We must continue to invest in our schools and make strides to promote equity for all students served. I will make the public schools in our district – and throughout the state – a top priority. I have met with stakeholders in each of our four school districts, including students, parents, teachers, union leaders, administrators, and school board members. The number one issue in education in our district is funding the special education mandate at the state and federal level. I have a masters in Educational Administration, and have worked on education policy at the legislature as an advocate over the past nine years.
Student loan debt is crushing our local economy and putting the American Dream out of reach for too many Minnesotans. We can reduce the burden of student loan debt through commonsense steps such as low-interest refinancing and public service loan forgiveness at the state level.
I was the student body president for graduate and professional students at the University of Minnesota and built a coalition of students across higher education in Minnesota to address affordability and advocated for those issues at the state and federal level. While I was there, we secured tuition freezes for some groups at the University, and addressed textbook and journal affordability (journal subscriptions are one of the highest ongoing operational costs at most Universities). I would continue to work on affordability issues as your advocate at the legislature.
Healthcare, Reproductive Rights, and the Opioid Crisis
No Minnesotan should go without access to affordable healthcare. Affordable health insurance is vital to small business growth, economic security and the health of our community. I will work to expand healthcare access. Together we can find solutions that save money and improve health.
Every woman deserves the right to make healthcare choices in consultation with her doctor and family. No politician should interfere in a woman’s personal healthcare decisions. I will stand up for reproductive freedom and support women’s healthcare access. I taught reproductive health to women when I served in the Peace Corps in Honduras, and saw first hand what it meant to have limited access to healthcare and reproductive choices.
Our healthcare and social service systems are being inundated by the Opioid Crisis. This is a huge opportunity for bi-partisan cooperation, from continuing education and regulation for prescribers, to improving existing laws relating to the life-saving drug, Naloxone.
Climate and the Environment
Climate Change poses a grave threat to our health and economy. I will work to champion clean energy and find opportunity for growth in addressing climate change. We can harness innovation through initiatives such as the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab to build collaborations and solutions to the climate crisis. These policies are not partisan, a majority of voters in both parties agree that this an immediate need. I worked for Senator Ellen Anderson at the legislature when she passed the Renewable Energy Standard with Governor Tim Pawlenty. I would push to continue our progress to increase our renewable energy standard beyond the power companies, who are getting there, by making housing and transportation less reliant on fossil fuels.
LGBTQ and Gender Equality
I am proud to have the support of EMILY's List and womenwinning, which champion pro-choice women candidates. Every Minnesotan should be able to get ahead, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. I will champion equal pay for equal work, and other policies that protect people of every gender identity and sexual orientation. I want to join the effort to reform the culture at the Capitol to be a place where women can work on issues that make our state better, without fear of harassment or discrimination.
I will advocate for policies that ensure that families don't have to choose between caring for a child or missing work. Paid family leave and affordable childcare are critical to the future of our state.
I served in the Peace Corps in Honduras, where I helped women access education by teaching seventh and eighth grade to children and adults. I taught finance and improved their access to credit through micro-lending in small women's farm cooperatives, along with sustainable farming techniques to improve water quality. I also taught reproductive and maternal health with our town nurse.
I also attended and have advocated for the Perpich Center for Arts Education. Governor Rudy and Lola Perpich were inspired to create the Center because they wanted to create a creative community that was safe and inclusive for young Minnesota artists to counter bullying they witnessed in their own community. We need to make sure all kids have a safe space to learn. I was also an inaugural member of the Stonewall Kickball League in the Twin Cities!
Transportation and Transit
Minnesota must invest in transportation solutions – from bike lanes and metro transit to county roads and highways – that strengthen our state. I will support robust transportation investments that create jobs, improve our quality of life and environment, and keep Minnesota competitive.
Across the metro, light rail and bus transit are a critical part of mobility and I support the build-out of a light rail system including SWLRT. This system is critical to keep the Twin Cities Metro Area competitive, attract the professional workforce we need to keep successful businesses here, and respond to a congestion management problem that we can't build our way out of with more lane miles.