- Affordable Health Care
Though Affordable Care Act helped expand access to health insurance, it opened the door to skyrocketing health insurance premiums for the self-employed. Some Southwest Minnesotan couples are paying more than $30,000 in annual health insurance premiums. The sensible solution to this is to allow the expansion of MinnesotaCare to all Minnesotans. This would give much needed and immediate financial relief to farmers and other self-employed Minnesotans.
- Access to Mental Health Services
When Southwest Minnesotans are in need of mental health care, they are often placed on a waiting list. But a waiting list is not good enough. Rural Minnesota is disproportionately affected by a lack of access to mental health services and it is taking an immense toll on our families, friends, and communities. We need increase access to mental health services by ensuring their reintegration back into our area health systems and through expanding the mental health services already provided in the region.
- Fully Fund Our Public Education System
Our public education system is not meant to be about competition — it is about ensuring each and every child has access to a world-class education. We need to ensure that each school is equipped with the resources it needs to provide that. I am committed to fully funding the needs of our public schools.
- Support Farmers as the Foundation of Our Rural Economy
Farmers have always been the backbone of our rural economy and continue to be so. Ensuring that they are supported, as well as their products including ethanol and biofuels, is a top priority of mine. Furthermore, we should continue supporting research into innovative ways to use agricultural products.
- Address the Daycare Shortage
Excessive regulation on daycare providers has led many providers to close their businesses, leading parents to search as far as 35+ miles just for childcare. Of course, sensible regulations for safety are needed. If we want to solve this crisis and ensure working parents have a safe and reliable place to bring their children, we need to cut the red tape that keeps people from opening and running daycares. Other solutions we can seek out include allowing in-home providers to take more children when they add a second staff person, lowering the age at which children no longer count against the providers’ maximum, and working with local entities to create forgivable loans to startup daycare centers.
- Expand Broadband Infrastructure
When I returned to Southwest Minnesota after having lived in Minneapolis and Detroit for studies and work, I was shocked to see the limited internet connectivity here. In a way, it was like stepping back in time. In the 21st Century, we all need access to high speed internet in order to stay competitive in our increasingly connected economy. I support border-to-border broadband efforts.
- Revitalize our Communities to Grow Economic Opportunity and Population
One of the most frustrating trends in the past years has been seeing the decline of our small town Main Streets and continued depopulation. Instead of imagining a bright future, we have been stuck reminiscing for days that are long gone. We need to reimagine the purpose of our Main Streets and reinvest in our local economies. In doing so, we can attract residents to our tight-knit and welcoming communities to continue to thrive and grow.