Bloomington is – and always will be – home.
I’ve lived in Bloomington my entire life, and I’m proud to be a product of our Bloomington Public Schools. My Mom was a math teacher, and faculty union leader, at Normandale Community College for decades, and my Dad practiced law here, too. My family and I love that we live within walking distance of Moir Park and Nine Mile Creek. I earned my BA in Music and Political Science from St Olaf College, and my MPA in Health, Housing, and Education Policy Leadership from the Humphrey School at the U of M.
I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve our state and community.
Before I was elected to the House, I served five years on the Bloomington City Council. In that role, I represented our city on the 169 Corridor Coalition, the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee, and the Bloomington Housing and Redevelopment Authority. I also served on the Board for the Perpich Center for Arts Education (appointed by Gov. Dayton), and was a Sunday School Teacher for 13 years at Mt Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.
Budgets and Taxes – I’ve often said that “budget decisions are policy decisions”, but they’re also how most clearly show our values and our priorities. The budget that we passed in 2023 including historic, life-changing investments that will dividends for generations of Minnesotans. Minnesotans remember the reckless tax cuts of the Pawlenty era and the work that was required to bring us back from them. We need to be crystal clear that our budget and tax priorities should be focused where they will do the most good, supporting and growing the middle class, not rewarding the people and businesses who are already more than well-off.
Civil Rights – The murder of George Floyd put a national spotlight on Minnesota, and showed how far we really have to go to address significant racial disparities in public safety, health, housing, education, income, and so many other areas. Ignoring these problems doesn’t alleviate them – taking action does. I’m also proud of how our DFL majorities showed that we are allies to our LGBTQ+ neighbors – by banning conversion “therapy”, protecting the rights of folks seeking and providing gender-affirming care, and updating and strengthening our civil rights laws.
Economic Opportunity and Stability – The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the reality of how our economy works – and how it doesn’t – for middle-class Minnesotans. I got to St Paul ready to address this reality and make things better, and we’ve made immense progress. Paid Family and Medical Leave and Earned Sick and Safe Time are now on the books, ensuring that Minnesotans will have those needed safety nets. We also made significant investments in child care accessibility and affordability, but we know that families are still struggling. I’m proud to have authored more than $300 million for our Early Learning Scholarship program, and dedicated to making affordable child care a reality for every Minnesota family.
Education – As the son and husband of a teacher, and a proud product of our Bloomington Public Schools, I’ve seen firsthand how critical a quality education is to our community. As someone who has studied education and worked directly with districts, parents, educators, and support staff, I know how important it is that we get it right. You can count on me to work hard to ensure schools have the resources needed to succeed, that policies support students rather than target them, and that our state constitution’s requirement of a “thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state” is strengthened. Our 2023 budget was a big step in correcting the decades of underfunding our public schools have endured, and we have to continue that work.
Energy and Environment – Climate change is an existential threat. We need bold action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and puts us on a path to mitigating it – frankly, we needed it years ago. One of the first bills we passed commits Minnesota to 100% clean energy by 2040. Supplemented by our Climate and Energy budget, and federal funding, Minnesota will continue to be a leader. There is absolutely no reason that we have to choose between good-paying jobs and protecting our environment, and we shouldn’t be stuck with this false dichotomy.
Health Care – Minnesota has one of the best health care systems in the country – if you’re lucky. But too many are not. Prescription drugs are too expensive, insurance is too expensive and too complicated, care is often inaccessible, and the result is a system that focuses on procedures and profits over people. Instead, we should be working toward a public system that empowers health care professionals to keep people healthy – not one that just lets insurance companies devise new and creative ways to make money at the expense of peoples’ lives. That also includes supporting the frontline workers that we’ve all hailed as heroes for the last two years by ensuring they are paid enough to actually support themselves and their families, and that staffing ratios and supports are strong enough.
Housing – Minnesota faced a housing crisis long before the pandemic, and it’s only become more acute. Our historic $1 billion in housing, along with needed policy changes to make housing more accessible, will go a long way to easing this crisis. We also need to continue the work of preventing homelessness and housing instability by supporting the entire spectrum of housing needs.
Protecting our Democracy – Free and fair elections are the foundation of our government. Ensuring that every Minnesotan is able to exercise their right to vote freely and easily is critically important now more than ever. The work that we’ve done to strengthen our democracy, and to ensure it continues to be inclusive and accessible, will ensure that Minnesota continues to lead the nation in voter turnout. By centering the voices of voters in campaigns and elections, we ensure that our elections truly reflect who we are as a state.
Reproductive Rights – Minnesotans have made in clear with their voices and their votes: we value reproductive freedoms. In the wake of Roe v Wade being overturned, I’m proud of how our DFL majorities stepped up to ensure that Minnesotans make their own decisions about if and when to have children, and no one else. I will continue to fight to ensure that those freedoms are protected here in Minnesota.