After knocking on thousands of doors and hosting four town hall meetings in Houston and Fillmore County, it has become more evident than ever that we need new representation in St. Paul. Do I have all the answers to all of our challenges? No, but collectively, we do. As I listen to small business owners, farmers, seniors, teachers, and the people of Houston and Fillmore Counties it has become clear that each and every one of us has a piece of the puzzle. All we need is a representative who will put those pieces together and take them to the State Capitol to help make our communities stronger. That is the type of legislator I will be.
As a 5th generation resident of Houston County, I understand that we are all in this together. That is why I take the time to listen to everyone, not just those who I know will vote for me this November. I talk to small business owners struggling to make payroll. I talk to farmers who are paying high property taxes and seeing low corn prices. I talk to teachers who have to hold their own fundraisers to pay for classroom activities. I talk to seniors who are paying top dollar for prescription drugs and trying to stay in their homes, all while relying solely on a Social Security check. I talk to parents who pay almost half of their monthly income towards health insurance, and another large portion on daycare, leaving just enough to put food on the table. I talk to families in the townships who still don’t have reliable or high-speed internet coverage, making it impossible to work from home or allow their kids to do homework. I talk to commuters who pay hundreds of dollars per year on auto repairs, in large part due to the condition of our roads.
There is no silver bullet for each of these challenges, but we must do something. I’m not one to believe that government and politicians can solve every problem, but government can be a catalyst for better outcomes. Our state legislature must work together, Republicans and Democrats, to pass meaningful legislation and reform. We need to compromise on a long-term transportation bill and bonding bill. We need to provide property tax relief to farmers and homeowners, both direct and indirect, including more local government and county program aid. We need to increase the dollar amounts our schools receive per student and redirect focus on small rural districts. We need to provide more resources to help our telecoms expand broadband internet coverage in our townships. We need to encourage insurance providers to do business in Southeastern Minnesota and work with the Mayo clinic to bring down the cost of health care in our state and country.
It’s no accident that after five generations I am able to live and work in the same place my Norwegian ancestors lived and worked. They strived to make their communities stronger so that their kids and grand kids could be successful. That is what we should all have in mind and that is the mentality I will take to St. Paul.