Candidate responds with details

In a recent letter Doug Teigen asked for details on various initiatives that I will promote as your next state representative. I am happy to provide them. First, we need to guarantee that kids will get a quality education in our schools. We can't...

In a recent letter Doug Teigen asked for details on various initiatives that I will promote as your next state representative. I am happy to provide them. First, we need to guarantee that kids will get a quality education in our schools. We can't do that if schools are continually faced with state cuts. Lower class sizes, especially in the lower grades, will help focus more attention on the student. We can promote more accountability in our schools, tighten up on school waste and bureaucracy, and focus more resources directly to the classroom.

Prescription drug costs can be reduced, and the state can help. If the state allowed for more bulk purchasing of high priced drugs, we will pay a more affordable price, period.

Over the past few years, tuition has increased by close to 70 percent at Minnesota's public colleges and universities. This is unacceptable. How can students and families afford those costs in Greater Minnesota without taking on excessive debt? We must make reducing tuition costs a priority.

Providing a strong agricultural economy and promoting living wage jobs is a goal that every representative from Greater Minnesota should try to achieve. Promotion and investments in ethanol production, less reliance on foreign oil by promoting renewable fuels including wind power, and luring business expansion in Greater Minnesota through tax incentives are all ways the state can help Greater Minnesota thrive.

I have been going door to door in my district. At each home I pose the question; "What do you want to see accomplished in St. Paul?" A frequent answer is, "improve the wages paid to direct care workers in long term care homes." Nursing home and group home wages are essentially set by the state. People who work in homes tell me they are not earning enough to get by. Administrators tell me they can not hire and retain employees. But I was most moved when a woman with MS, living in a nursing home, told me she is concerned that there is not enough qualified staff to care for her in what is likely to be the last year of her life. We have to do better.


Mr. Teigen said in his letter that I criticized Rod Hamilton for voting for the Racino bill. I would not have voted for the bill, but I have not, until now mentioned Hamilton's vote. Mr. Tiegen has confused me with Richard Johnson, whom I recall wrote a letter on this issue. I suppose the confusion is understandable, since Mr. Johnson and I share a first name and Swedish last names. I had not heard that the Continental Congress used a lottery to finance the American Revolution, so I did a bit of research and found out that Mr. Teigen has his facts right, at least in part. A lottery was attempted in 1776, but it lost money. I continue to believe that we should not expand gambling as a method of raising government funds.

I agree with Mr. Teigen -- cost is always a concern. Unfortunately, the state saw fit a few years ago to take resources targeted for Greater Minnesota and redirect them to the metro area. We need new representation in St. Paul to change the way the state does business. We need a leader who will stand up to party, special interests and the big money suburbs and bring resources back to our area. It's only fair. I promise that I will take the lead on issues that affect our region. You can count on it.

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