I am proud to be a public servant, not a politician. This campaign is by the people and for the people. My votes on the floor of the Minnesota Senate will belong to the people of the Iron Range and the Northland.
I got into this race because the Iron Range and the Northland need a strong, clear voice who will fight fiercely for us in St. Paul.
This past legislative session, I had the privilege of working on and testifying on behalf of bills that would benefit Iron Range schools and youth development opportunities. To see $9 billion left on the table in St. Paul with unmet needs in our area's communities, for no reason other than political polarization and gridlock, is unconscionable.
The people of Senate District 7 deserve someone who can get the job done. I have a 30+ year track record in public service of doing exactly that.
I am pursuing this role as your next State Senator, not for any self interest or special interest but because all my life my heart has been with the people of the Iron Range and the Northland, and I believe that together, we can.
I have spent my career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) working to promote fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency in state and local government. I have experience across the public and private sectors in public education, public accounting, multi-state retail, and manufacturing.
You have to eat, you have to drive to work, and you have to live somewhere. The problem is that it’s becoming unaffordable for many middle class and working Minnesotans to do just that. It is especially difficult in greater Minnesota, where driving distances are longer, energy costs are higher, and wages tend to be lower.
As your next State Senator, I will fight to make sure that our state government manages its finances the same way a working class family in the Northland manages its finances.
We will also promote recovery by equipping people who are able with the skills, training, and support necessary to secure good jobs.
At the heart of safe and healthy communities are relationships. Strong relationships among public safety and public health agencies, community members, and all public-serving organizations is essential to ensure that everyone in our communities are protected and cared for.
In the Northland, our firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, first responders, and law enforcement officers are among our greatest examples of public servants. Without exception, they show up when we need them most.
It was among my greatest honors to serve on the Hibbing Fire Civil Service Commission for 4 years. During my time on the Commission, it was my priority to be a strong, stable supporter of the critical work of our extraordinary fire and EMS personnel.
Through this work, along with my time on RAMS and in accompanying my daughter in her training to become an EMT, I have learned firsthand about the challenges facing rural EMS providers as well as local law enforcement agencies.
As your State Senator, I will advocate to increase funding for EMS, fire, police, and mental health services in our greater MN communities.
Also, with recognition of the challenges associated with recruiting and retaining first responders, EMTs, paramedics, and law enforcement officers in our communities in the Northland, I look forward to championing legislation that invests in the funding and programs that will encourage people to pursue work in public safety.
I am committed to supporting the needs of our local public safety agencies, leaders, and teams in St. Paul.
I have also spent time learning about how important it is that we invest in the training that equips EMS and law enforcement to admirably protect and serve our communities while continually working to do so in a fair manner.
As a school board director, I also spend significant time thinking about how to increase the health and safety of the young people and families in our communities.
School safety is a priority. I am proud to have been part of the Hibbing School Board that prioritized and invested in ensuring safe and secure entrances at all Hibbing Public Schools.
I am also very proud of our district's strong partnership with our local police department and that we are fortunate to have a School Resource Officer who not only keeps our students safe but who is a tremendous role model for our young people.
Finally, as a young girl, my dad taught me how to shoot, and I grew up hunting with my dad, my uncles, and my grandpa on the Iron Range. I feel lucky to be from a family that enjoyed hunting together and that practiced responsible gun ownership. As your State Senator, I will be a champion for the rights of responsible gun owners.
The fact that gun violence is the leading cause of death among children in our country is evidence that we need to do a better job of preventing gun violence. Toward that end, as a State Senator, I will protect responsible gun-owners' 2nd Amendment rights, while also supporting the full extent of common sense measures that have been shown to be effective in preventing gun violence. These measures include safe storage laws, universal background checks, red-flag laws, bans on weapons of war for civilian use, and bans on high-capacity magazines.
I have served the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system throughout northeastern Minnesota for nearly 25 years, first as an internal auditor and now as a business manager.
I am in my 6th year as a Board Director of the Hibbing Public Schools and as a board member of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS).
I have a track record of doing my homework, bringing people together, introducing integrity and transparency to every process, and producing great, community-driven results.
We have to look at the funding formula to ensure schools in greater Minnesota are able to provide educational opportunities and offerings like students in larger districts have access to. This is a critical investment in our communities on the Iron Range.
We have to invest in student support services and increase the special education cross subsidy.
We have to provide funding for multi-tier intervention, which schools are currently funding through the use of stimulus funding.
Career and technical education opportunities, starting from an early age, are critical. We need to support students who wish to pursue to the trades, as well as providing training in valuable life skills to all students.
As a mother and a caretaker for my mother who had a chronic illness for over 15 years, I know how important healthcare is not only for ourselves but for our children and families and for our aging communities in the Northland.
For too many families, medical bills are out of control and prescription costs are astronomical.
We have work to do to make sure high quality healthcare, including mental healthcare, is accessible and affordable to all.
We have to prioritize investment in mental health services. This includes both community-based and school-based services.
We must fix the EMS funding gap for our communities in greater Minnesota. We must work hard to train, recruit, and retain paramedics, EMTs, and first responders to meet the needs specific to each of our communities. In working on this, I will draw on my 4 years of experience as a fire civil service commissioner.
We must support universal health insurance coverage, and we must hold insurance companies accountable for skyrocketing exorbitant prices.
We must work to lower the cost of prescription medications. It is not acceptable when prescriptions are not affordable. We will work to hold drug companies accountable for skyrocketing prices.
I am strongly pro-union and pro-labor. I was a proud union member for 18+ years and am the spouse of a union member.
After over a year of unsuccessful labor negotiations in the Hibbing Public Schools, in my role as School Board Director, I am proud to have helped to lead negotiations that resulted in a labor agreement between the district and our phenomenal educators and support staff.
We will strengthen our labor laws and standards and improve working conditions.
We will support Project Labor Agreements for publicly-funded projects. I will support large statewide bonding that maximizes the creation of high-quality jobs.
We will fight for universal Paid Family and Medical Leave.
We will close the earnings gap and achieve equal pay for women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.
We will raise revenue for investment in workers and their families through reducing tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy.
We will protect collective bargaining.
We will support staffing ratios in healthcare, childcare, and nursing homes that promote safe working conditions.
I am proud to live in a natural resource-driven economy, where industries like mining, logging, and more have supported not only our region but our country and world for over a century.
As a State Senator, I will support our existing industries in the Northland, including mining, logging, tourism, healthcare, and more. At the same time, I will also encourage diversification of our economy and welcome new industry that recognizes all that we have going for us in northeastern Minnesota, most importantly our hard-working people.
I could not be prouder of our small businesses in the Northland, and I will support them as well as support new entrepreneurs in opening small businesses in our communities here at home.
Finally, I recognize that our local economy is strongest when our working families can save more of their hard-earned money. With this in mind, as your State Senator, I will always prioritize supporting our laborers and working families.
There are certain places that the government does not belong, and a medical exam room is one of them. It is not the government’s place to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body or her healthcare. Those decisions are to be made between a woman and her medical providers.
As a woman and a practicing Catholic, I have my own personal beliefs and have had my own personal reproductive health experiences. However, I also believe fully in the separation of church and state and, as your next State Senator, the only personal belief I will carry with me in representing you at the State Capitol is my personal calling to fight for your freedom to live by your own religious, moral, and personal beliefs and to make the healthcare decisions that may not be easy but that are best for you.
Further, the data tells us that making medical procedures illegal or harder to access does not actually stop them from happening; instead, it just puts the lives of women at risk. As your next State Senator, I will fight to uplift women, not to make already impossible decisions harder.
Make no mistake, as your next State Senator, I will fight for the life and well-being of all. I will do this by championing legislation that has actually been shown to support women and that has actually been shown to reduce rates of abortion. This includes investing in paid family leave, making childcare affordable, supporting good-paying jobs, and making sexual healthcare and sex education accessible to all.
We all know that Roe is fundamentally about the constitutional right to privacy, and the overturning of Roe through Dobbs in June 2022 was not about life but instead about exerting power and control over women. As your next State Senator, we will work together to rise up against any attempts by politicians to control or silence women and all people who has been historically been marginalized in our society.
Miners and their families have been woven into the fabric of our local communities since the first ore shipped from the Vermilion Range in 1884, and some 130 plus years later mining has been and continues to be a cornerstone of our regional economy.
I am proud to have been born and raised on the Iron Range in a family whose work supported the mining industry and was critical in ensuring the ores of northeastern Minnesota made their way to becoming the machinery and products that defended our country’s freedom and produced the cars we drive every day.
Northeastern Minnesota has always been a global leader in responsible mining, and we must continue to be. Mining of the minerals found here is not only critical for our local economy and jobs, it is essential for the products that our country and world depends on. As a nation, we must work towards becoming independent when it comes to mineral resources, and northeastern Minnesota will play a critical role in this process.
We will fight first and foremost for the miners in our region. I understand the importance of providing great mining jobs and will not let any opportunity to create jobs pass us by. When it comes to any industry and job creation in our district, it is not acceptable to prioritize the interests of one community over another. I am the candidate who possesses the ability to critically and forward think to collaboratively make decisions that will support the creation of new mining jobs. I will never get in the way of this.
We will support more timely state permitting for mining and other projects.
We will support the development of non-ferrous mining projects in our region. The PolyMet project and the Talon Metals Tamarack project will be essential in providing the nickel required to make electric cars, which will support reduced carbon emissions. The copper from the PolyMet project is also essential to providing the copper that is used in household products and also in the wind turbines that will support reduced carbon emissions.
As a State Senator, I will fight for a fair process for PolyMet, Twin Metals, Tamarack, and all mining projects. Entering the primary as a non-endorsed DFL candidate, I am best situated to remain independent on the pull of the metro DFL but also to build bridges with DFL colleagues in the legislature and help educate that mining is not only safest when it is done under the regulatory processes in place in the U.S. but that it is essential to working toward a greener future.
We will support the development of modern technologies and electric arc furnaces to produce green steel here on the Range, resulting in job creation.
Everyone has the right to a place to call home.
Many of our neighbors in the Northland are unable to access affordable housing. This is unacceptable.
As your next State Senator, I will support legislation that makes affordable home ownership accessible to more people, and I will also support legislation that protects the rights of renters to live in safe housing.