As a lifelong resident, I have been dedicated to serving our communities, businesses and families, including serving on the Claremont/Triton School Board, board member of the Minnesota School Board Association, a member of Steele Waseca Cooperative Electric advisory board, council member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and as treasurer of the Southeast Minnesota Synod of the ELCA. Currently I am the minority lead on the Transportation Committee and finishing my fifth term as a State Representative serving this district. These diverse experiences give me the skills and knowledge to effectively represent you and serve you in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Growing up on a farm and farming for 15 years north of Claremont, living in Waseca, and working in Owatonna has given me the understanding of what is important to our area communities and residents. My 6 years of experience on the tax committee and support for the Ag-to-School Property tax relief and business property tax relief bills indicates my understanding of how to best represent our district. The success of agriculture and our local businesses is essential to keeping our communities healthy. Ensuring small business and agricultural growth, along with protecting our businesses and citizens from unnecessary tax increases is a goal we must achieve.
Our transportation infrastructure is an essential part of the economic vitality of our region. Highway 14 is part of that important infrastructure and the completion of a four lane road between Owatonna and Dodge Center completes that important infrastructure. I worked tirelessly to make sure that got done. The negotiated funding was part of the larger Bonding Bill that Senator Jasinski and I had to get passed through our respective bodies a few years ago. It was truly a team effort. It is a relief to have a safe and economical route to Rochester and beyond. However, one thing my 10 years of experience on the transportation committee has taught me is this in only one of many projects around the state that need to be completed, including getting more funding for local roads and bridges.
Over the years I have been able to secure funding for local projects that included $350,000 for the Tink Larson Field Grandstand, $750,000 for putting underground electrical utilities on the Steele County Fairgrounds and $50,000 for the Waseca Veteran’s Memorial. Based upon a conversation with a constituent, I also authored and got passed a new law that will better protect childrens’ credit history by giving parents a choice to place a credit freeze on their kids. I supported and was on the conference committee that made hands free driving the law of the land. I also had the privilege to sponsor and get passed a bill that originated with 6th graders in Owatonna's school.
Fair and equitable school funding is also crucial to the future of our communities. We often hear that our children are our future, but I believe that our children are also our present. We must invest the necessary resources (equitable funding and effective policies) in our children’s education to ensure their present and future success. In addition to funding, we need accountability from both students and staff. Each biennium we pass larger K-12 funding packages. A few years ago, I personally got passed an appropriation that corrected an error from the last Owatonna School override referendum. In addition, we must stay vigilant in maintaining our history and parental involvement.
As Vice-chair and minority lead of the Transportation Committee, I worked tirelessly to pass major investments in our roads and bridges infrastructure. I also recognized and worked on the problems our deputy registrars and auto dealers were facing thanks to the MNLARS fiasco, a problem caused by poor management by the Minnesota Vehicle Services Department in the initial roll out of the program. I also worked to make sure Minnesota residents would be able to use their current driver’s licenses to board planes and made sure the Real ID license program will be fully functional according to Homeland Security requirements by October 1st. I will continue to promote and work on improving and maintaining our transportation infrastructure and making it easier to transfer their automobiles and get their drivers licenses.