Too often upon being elected, legislators feel as though they have taken possession of something—and leave the priorities and the people of the district they represent behind. When elected, I will represent all the people of our District and prioritize their needs to the absolute best of my ability. I want to put the public servant back into public service.
Jobs, Taxes, and Spending
Jobs: Tax increases, reckless spending, government mandates, and burdensome regulations are killing job creation. Cities in out-state Minnesota, the agricultural communities, and small towns are getting hit the hardest. Many who are employed are underemployed and not able to reach their full earning potential. We need to quit raising taxes on job providers, cut the bureaucratic red tape, and stop the burdensome mandates.
Taxes: Minnesotans are overtaxed. After the record $2 billion tax increase under total DFL control of State Government, every budget forecast has come back lower than expected: less growth in revenue, slower growth in the economy and wages. Large pay raises for the Governor and his commissioners, $90 million dollar Office Building that aren't necessary, and bail outs for failed programs like MNsure (with no plans to improve it) are maddening. As Senator, I won't take your tax dollars for granted.
Property Taxes: Despite claims of property tax “relief,” as a result of increasing Local Government Aid or raising taxes elsewhere, property taxes are increasing all across the State--up an average of 18% in Red Wing, my hometown. We need property tax reform to truly get property taxes under control.
Spending: The budget for State Government has enjoyed massive spending increases every year on the backs of hard working tax payers. There aren't many families in our neighborhoods or businesses on Main Street experiencing similar growth. In fact, while Government grows, family budgets have stagnated or shrunk. Government needs to rein in spending and provide much needed relief to our families and small businesses.
Transportation funding should be a priority in the State Budget. Roads and bridges should be considered first--they are critical infrastructure that all Minnesota families, workers, and businesses depend on. We can make improvements without raising taxes and fees.
Healthcare and MNsure
Minnesotans deserve better healthcare options. A 2014 report indicated that Minnesota’s healthcare premiums are increasing at a higher rate than 48 other states, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the state’s largest insurer, recently announced it will no longer sell health plans for individuals and families, affecting 103,000 Minnesotans. MNsure has been a disaster from the start: higher costs, fewer choices, and folks left to navigate a dysfunctional state bureaucracy to try to get health insurance. MNsure either needs to be reformed or repealed and replaced. Governor Dayton and DFL legislators have refused to fix MNsure, despite the non-partisan Legislative Auditor’s report stating the obvious: that the MNsure failures outweigh benefits. There needs to be more freedom in choosing a doctor, the plan, the coverage, and cost that work best for each individual and we need more competition in the market place to bring costs down and the quality of care up.
Our children need access to excellent teachers and schools. We need to ensure teacher quality in the classroom and establish graduation standards so that students are prepared for the future. I oppose one-size-fits-all mandates handed down by bureaucrats in State Government. The funding gap between rural and metro students is unacceptable. There is no excuse for Minneapolis to be getting twice as much in funding per pupil than Zumbrota, Lake City, or anywhere else in the state.
The policies of Governor Dayton and the DFL leadership in the State Legislature have left the Agriculture community behind. The Senate DFL has placed their most liberal environmentalist members on committees in overseeing the budgets of the Agriculture/Environment issue areas. I will work to make sure the interests of our Agriculture community have a voice at the Capitol. State Government continues to impose burdens and restrictions on our farmers. Property taxes for Agricultural lands are increasing more than anywhere else and other tax increases are taking their toll, too. Agriculture is a staple economic industry in our State and District and it's time we have somebody who can bring these District priorities to the Capitol.
Energy and Environment
Energy: All energy options should be on the table to lower utility costs and encourage responsible energy production. I will do what I can to encourage technological advances to maximize production and I will work to remove the mandates that get passed down to consumers to keep costs down. We need to provide incentives for affordable energy.
Environment: We all want clean air, clean water, and sustainable natural resources--but there needs to be a balance with economic and agricultural concerns. We need to streamline the regulatory agencies issuing the permits and reevaluate the permitting process in its entirety. There are currently more than three dozen state agencies, non-government agencies, and other groups dedicated to the environment—not including federal agencies. We need a common-sense approach to managing our natural resources.
Right to Life
I believe that all human life should be respected and protected--from conception until natural death.
2nd Amendment Rights
Veterans who have sacrificed for our freedom and fought for our Nation deserve the best. We must always be searching for ways to better provide them care. Minnesota should be a more veteran-friendly state. We are one of only six states that does not have a tax exemption on retired military pensions. Because many retired military members often seek second careers, their experience and background would be an extremely valuable addition to our communities and our workforce. Without a tax exemption on the retired military pensions, it may discourage retired military personnel from choosing to live and work in Minnesota when their military service ends.