JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Creating good jobs, right here at home
My husband and I owned and operated a family restaurant for 11 years. So, I know the challenges of being a small business owner. Nothing comes easy. Your employees and communities count on you. In this pandemic, we clearly see how we all depend on robust small businesses for economic resilience.
When I’m in St. Paul, I will stand up for small businesses, the people they employ, and the self-employed who create their own jobs. They are the industrious, resourceful folks who help power our state. Working together, we can foster opportunity and attract investments to northern Minnesota. Our goal is to sustain a resilient and robust economy throughout Greater Minnesota, even in the wake of this pandemic.
FULLY FUND EDUCATION
Investing in our children
Our public schools are our promise to do good for our children. Unfortunately, many of our students in Senate District 5 are at a funding disadvantage. They depend on their communities to pass referendums to fund basic needs. Our teachers, too, are often asked to do more for less pay than teachers in other parts of the state. Eliminating school funding disparities is a priority for me.
Funding for higher education is also critical. As a graduate of Bemidji State University and lifelong resident of the region, I see how higher education and post-secondary job training are essential to our region’s economic viability. Fully funded, public schools and access to post-secondary education and job training will help us close the opportunity gap and build a resilient, well-prepared workforce.
AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE HEALTH CARE
Taking care of one another beyond the pandemic
Lost jobs, lost health care, and a lost sense of security. Even beyond the coronavirus pandemic, we see that we can do better at providing affordable, accessible health care for all. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table or filling life-saving prescriptions, paying medical bills or paying the rent.
All Minnesotans should have the care they need. We can start with expanded access to Minnesota Care for more working, middle-class families. We need lower costs, higher quality care, and broader coverage. That includes coverage for dental care and mental health. The coronavirus has made us all acutely aware of the importance of health care for everyone.
Setting wages that pay the bills
The coronavirus has been a stark reminder of how much we depend on service workers. Our grocery store clerks, personal care attendants, childcare workers and delivery folks have been our community caretakers. Yet, many of them are our lowest-paid worker. They often work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. For those with children, low wages and lack of affordable childcare keep them out of the workforce altogether.
Raising the minimum wage is one way to make sure workers earn enough to pay their bills. This pandemic reminds us that all workers deserve a wage that allows them to take care of themselves and their families.
Building broadband access for all
Universal broadband access is the great equalizer of the 21st century. Unfortunately, hundreds of small businesses and many families across our region have insufficient access. That limits their ability to do business and gain and share knowledge.
School children, too, are also handicapped by the lack of broadband access. This is especially true during this pandemic when schools and universities are all teaching online. In today’s economy, broadband access is a matter of equality in education and economic opportunity.
Taking care of what we love
Wetter, warmer summers, and milder winters. Climate change threatens the places we know and love. Severe summer storms, big rains, and high winds bring more power outages and dangerous blowdowns. Milder winters with shallow frostlines keep loggers out of the woods and invite invasive species that threaten our timber resources. And warmer summers negatively affect our lakes and fisheries.
Like you, I’m concerned about the challenges we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. As your senator, I will help lead the transition from coal to carbon-free energy sources like woody biomass, wind, and solar. Our children are counting on us to support clean, renewable energy sources.
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Investing in Minnesota’s community assets
Cities across Minnesota need upgrades for aging streets, water utilities, wastewater management, and storm sewer systems. We face crumbling roads, failing bridges and long-term transportation needs that aren’t being addressed. The costs can be daunting for cities and their residents. Yet infrastructure investments are essential for functional communities and thriving businesses.
We need state bonding and other sustainable funding to make meaningful investments in infrastructure, including utility and transportation systems. Investing in infrastructure and transportation now will put people back to work and provide needed economic stimulus in Minnesota and Senate District 5.
Using our resources wisely
Minnesota is a model for the nation in environmental protection. We preserve public lands, protect clean water, and support strong environmental laws. Like many Minnesotans, I believe protecting our natural resources is an essential part of building a strong economy.
I support clean, responsible practices that create jobs and protect the Minnesota we love. That includes iron mining and timber production, both important to our region’s history and economy. We also need to be attentive to concerns about building a new pipeline, but if we are going to transport oil, a pipeline is the safest way to do it. We should expect that all companies doing business in Minnesota follow our permitting processes and meet the environmental laws that we depend on.
LEGALIZE ADULT-USE CANNABIS
Creating a responsible regulatory framework
Minnesotans deserve the freedom and respect to make responsible decisions about cannabis use themselves. Legalizing cannabis for adult use will offer broad benefits across Minnesota, because Minnesota’s current cannabis laws are doing more harm than good.
Under Minnesota’s medical cannabis program, people suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are getting relief from cannabis. But most vets can’t access medical cannabis, and no vets can legally receive it from the VA. There’s also a big question about fairness within the justice system, as statistics show a disproportionately higher number of minority group members arrested for cannabis possession. An adult-use cannabis bill should decriminalize and expunge past non-violent offenses.
We need to create a responsible regulatory framework and get it right. If any state can do this right, Minnesota can. By creating a regulatory framework, we can address the harms caused by cannabis and establish a more sensible set of laws to improve our health care & criminal justice systems and ensure better outcomes for communities.