Standing up for veterans
As a veteran myself, I know how important it is to support the men and women serving our country, as well as their families. I’m vice chair of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, where I’m proud to play a leading role in making sure our veterans and their families are receiving the benefits – and the recognition – they deserve. After the community of Montevideo waited more than a decade to be awarded state funding for its future veterans home, I am proud to have led the way in securing the funds during my first term in office. The facility will serve 72 area veterans when it is built.
Investing in our communities
I played a key role in securing funding for several worthwhile area projects that are financed through bonding, including:
- Funds to mitigate the closure of the Benson Power facility
- A new Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services facility in Willmar
- State funding for the future veterans home in Montevideo
- An expansion of the Glacial Lakes Trail
- Much needed infrastructure improvements near 100th Street SW in Appleton
- Upgrades to Pioneer Public TV in Granite Falls
On the issues
All students deserve a shot at a quality education – and we live in an area with great schools! I’m proud to have supported the largest investment in education in state history, which resulted in millions in new funding for area schools and separate funding for improving school safety.
It’s no secret that health care costs are among the most pressing issues for many Minnesota families. I’m proud to say that in the last four years, we brought relief to Minnesotans who buy their health insurance on the individual market with our successful reinsurance program. I also supported the effort to allow agricultural cooperatives to offer group insurance plans. I also strongly supported the successful legislation that increased transparency in prescription drug prices, ultimately saving Minnesotans money.
In the last four years, I’m pleased to say we invested a record amount in roads and bridges across Minnesota – without raising taxes or fees. After securing funding for a four-lane expansion of Highway 23 through the district, I also made sure area highways are eligible for more funding in the future – ensuring Greater Minnesota highways are given attention.
Minnesota’s natural beauty is unparalleled. In addition to serving on the Senate’s environment committees, I also serve on the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, the mission for which is to “protect, enhance and restore the state’s prairies, wetlands, forests and fish, game and wildlife habitat.” As a member of the council, I am responsible for overseeing more than $100 million each year to support Minnesota’s vast outdoors and natural resources. I have been the author of the past two bills for Outdoor Heritage Fund appropriations. We are fortunate to live in an area with many lakes and beautiful, rolling prairies. We need to make an investment to protect this beauty for future generations.
Agriculture is part of our way of life in western Minnesota. As a member of the Senate’s ag committee, I’m glad to play a leading role. During my first year in office, I pushed back against the administration’s buffer strip requirement, fought against the ‘verification if need’ mandate before pesticide use, and was successful in getting changes to MnDOT’s ditch mowing requirements. In 2017 and 2019, I was the author of bipartisan legislation for $35 million to the Rural Finance Authority, which offers low interest loans to aid farmers with startup costs, disaster recovery, and operational expansion.
Did you know the average Minnesotan pays almost half of their annual income in taxes and fees? That’s way too high – and the best way to support families is by letting them keep more of their hard-earned money. We must also get a handle on the amount we’re spending within the state’s budget, which has ballooned over the last decade.
During my four years in the Senate, I supported successful legislation that brought the first middle income tax cut in more than a decade, along with tax breaks for small businesses, farmers, and students. In an effort to make Minnesota a more inviting place for retirees, I supported legislation to phase-out the double income tax on Social Security benefits. Finally, I supported the critical Ag2School tax credit for agricultural land, which brought more equity to the way school district levies are paid.
I believe in protecting human life from conception until natural death. I oppose abortion and have a 100% pro-life voting record, including a top rating from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). I also oppose physician-assisted suicide.
I support our Second Amendment rights and the importance of safely using a firearm for sport and in self-defense. In fact, I am the author of the ‘constitutional carry’ proposal and a co-author of the ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill. I voted against the extreme, anti-gun ‘red flag law’ and background check proposals because I believe they set up the framework for a government registry of guns. I believe we can better work on the issue of gun violence by cracking down on felons illegally in possession of firearms — especially when they’re charged with a more serious crime.