Our community is home to some of the busiest roads in the state with thousands of commuters passing through every day. The convenience of our community’s transportation structure increases the accessibility and value of our neighborhoods. Investment in our community’s roads, bridges, and infrastructure needs to be a top priority.
Parks and Trails
Our cities and county have invested in our local parks and trails, and I will continue to support these investments. These services enrich our quality of life, bring people together, and make our district a great place to live.
Distracted Driver Legislation
This issue has made significant headway at the Minnesota Capitol. We need to take the necessary steps to protect our roadways. I'm continuing to work to bring different parties together to find a common-ground solution to this problem. I'm confident that we can take action on this in the next legislative session.
Environment and Natural Resources
It is important to make sure that we are being responsible stewards of our environment. I have consistently supported protecting our natural resources and prividing sustainable options to meet our energy needs.
State Income Tax Conformity
A top priority of the next legislature is to address the issue of bringing Minnesota in line with the changes in the federal tax code. As it stands, taxpayers will have significantly more preparation on their next tax returns, and many will be paying more in state taxes.
No Gas Tax Increase
A consistent proposal from politicians is a sizeable gas tax increase. With budget surpluses and dedicated revenue for highways and roads, there is no need to further burden our citizens with additional taxes. I do not believe increased taxes are in our community’s best interests, and hurt our most vulnerable citizens the most.
I want everyone, and particularly those in our middle class, to have access to good, high-quality jobs. I seek the creation and expansion of local businesses that generate employment in our district.
Taxes and Spending
Taxes are the people’s money and must be spent wisely. Spending decisions must benefit our whole community, not the interests or agenda of a few. I believe in responsible government spending - government should not grow faster than family budgets. We need to eliminate wasteful spending and put the financial health of our families first. We need to focus on tax relief for the middle-class and our seniors, as well as reduce the amount of debt that college students acquire.
After years of double-digit increases, the Minnesota legislature has been successful in enacting policies that are actually reducing insurance premiums. For the 2nd year on a row, premiums are going down. For 2019, premiums will decrease by 7-12% on average, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Minnesota has a strong history in providing excellent and affordable health care. We need to continue to strengthen the health care market and ensure affordable insurance options are available to all citizens.
Our community is home to one of the best school districts in the state, and I want our 5-star status to continue in the future. Our children and families are beneficiaries of some the best teaching in the state (thank you, educators).
Unfortunately, Minneapolis and St. Paul schools are struggling with the largest achievement gap in the country. This tragedy must be overcome. We need out-of-the-box solutions from educators and others. I will work with all on this issue for the benefit of Minnesota’s children.
I come from a family of educators. My two sisters, a brother-in-law, both of my parents, and three of my grandparents are/were teachers. My wife Jan works at Bethel University, and my daughter works for Americorps at a middle school in Minneapolis. I have a deep appreciation for educators, and fully recognize the importance of education for the future success of our children.
Mounds View Concurrent Enrollment Innovation
I sought $250,000 scholarship funding for Mounds View school district teachers to achieve their concurrent enrollment teaching certifications as part of the Pathways to Possibilities program. While this funding was vetoed in 2018, this program remains a top priority for myself and the Mounds View School District. It's important that we provide innovative ways to help our students learn, and attain higher education training as well as valuable experience while in high school.
Protecting our Students
As your representative, I have introduced bipartisan legislation to increase awareness about the dangers of sexual exploitation. This measure was brought to me by a group of high school students working with The Link, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping young people out of prostitution and exploitation.
I also introduced bipartisan legislation to provide funding to make sure that our public schools could have professional assessments done of their building security as well as their crisis management policies to help make sure our students are safe from any potential threats.
Dyslexia Student Screening
It's important that we establish dyslexia screening for kindergartners and teacher training to help identify students with learning challenges as early as possible. Early detection is key to ensuring a productive learning environment for all students. When detected at a young age, adjustments to accommodate students' unique learning challenges can help them be more productive and maximize classroom learning opportunities.
No Taxes on Seniors' Social Security Benefits
Minnesota is one of only six states that fully tax social security benefits. Our state’s message to retirees is “we want you to move away to a more livable state.” Minnesota seniors deserve better.
Women and men who have contributed their working lives in Minnesota should be able to comfortably retire here, where they have family, friends, and community ties. I support our seniors and I was pleased to help acheive some elimination of Minnesota's taxes on Social Security benefits. We need to extend these efforts to ensure more seniors can keep their income, and continue to call Minnesota their home state.