Respect for Jobs
As a student of economics, I believe in the power of markets to create societies that are prosperous and just. I also recognize their capacity—when left unregulated—to create inequity, reinforce privilege, and exploit the environment. Our political leaders often repeat the tired lie that the best way to help the working class is to help the wealthiest among us, America's 1%. The truth is far simpler: the best way to help the working class is to help the working class. Help the 99%. Tax cuts are not the best way to drive investment. Demand drives investment. Continuing to fund our teachers, nurses, construction workers, and professors—the backbone of our economy—is the best way to rebuild our financial future. Full employment and robust demand for goods and services will allow small business to reinvest in our state. To balance the state budget, we need to stop borrowing from our public schools, stop mortgaging our children's futures, and instead ask the privileged and wealthy among us to contribute more. This isn't about “class warfare”—it's about us all being in this together. I support raising taxes on Minnesota's highest income earners while treating them with respect.
Respect for the Health of All
Universal access to comprehensive health care is a basic human right. Respect for all people means universal and equal access to preventive, routine, and emergency care, regardless of ability to pay. Universal health care, financed through the single payer method, is also the best way to control rising medical costs. In today's wasteful health care system, administrative expenses account for 31 cents of every dollar spent. Revenue enhancement, whether by profit-making or “non-profit” health care industries, are often in direct conflict with social well-being. As a student of economics, I know that we can keep most doctors, hospitals and drug companies private but reduce our overall health system costs, while providing universal access, by introducing the administrative efficiencies of single-payer financing. I strongly support the Minnesota Health Plan, which would provide high-quality health care for all Minnesotans, regardless of ability to pay. For more information, please visit the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition.
Respect for All Marriages
As a Christian, I believe that marriage is a sacred and holy union of love and an important foundation for a healthy society. Strong families help our community, our schools, and our children thrive. Unfortunately, the proposed amendment to the state constitution that would narrowly redefine marriage as the union of one man and one woman does not help strengthen families—instead, it disrespects our GLBT community and distracts from important issues like health care, education, and the economy.
It is also important that we respect the many Christians, Muslims, and Jews who believe that God has defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The Bible can be interpreted to condemn homosexuality; however, I do not believe that homosexuality is a sin. God's clear command is to love our neighbors as ourselves. I choose to share God's love with all people.
I am very strongly in favor of allowing people of all genders to marry one another and create healthy, vibrant families. I am very strongly opposed to a state constitutional amendment that would redefine marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Respect for Education
The racial achievement gap in our public schools is alarming and unacceptable. While 70% of white students meet the basic standards in math, just 20% of African-American students and 25% of Latino students do. The health of our community—of our democracy—depends on schools that are vibrant and safe; class sizes that are small and manageable; and, most importantly, well-paid teachers who feel prepared and supported.
I'm a product of the Minnesota public school system. I owe the many opportunities I've had in life to the talented and tireless teachers who taught me to read critically, write powerfully, and think deeply. But I'm not today's typical 61B student—I'm white, learned English as a first language, and have two parents who went to college. We need to fully fund our public school system as it reaches above and beyond to meet the needs of all students, especially children of color, English-language learners, and first-generation college applicants. We must stop borrowing from our children and our schools to fix the budget deficit. To end the 2011 government shutdown, legislators opted to delay an additional $700 million in payments to our public schools on top of the $1.4 billion delayed from previous years. Thousands of committed teachers, administrators, youth workers, and parents are ready to address this problem the way it needs to be addressed—one student at a time—but are frustrated at every turn by a fundamental lack of resources. I support increased funding for our schools to reduce class sizes and give teachers the tools they need to address the racial achievement gap.
Respect for the Environment
My grandfather Louis Troutman always told me, “If we do not have clean air and clean water, we have nothing.” Our Earth is a beautiful place, full of resources that can provide for all its living inhabitants, but our industries need reasonable regulation so that they don't have to cut corners to compete. We must be responsible stewards of the natural world. We need to reduce our dependency on the toxic chemicals used to grow our food and produce our goods. We need to strengthen environmental regulations and act now to preserve soil and water for future generations. I support the Next Generation Energy Act signed by former governor Tim Pawlenty in 2007 and the great work of organizations such as 350.org that help us to take the threat of climate change seriously. I support environmental regulations that will protect our local environment, and I support a strong carbon-emissions reduction program that will address global climate change. I strongly oppose all proposed sulfide and copper mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
Respect for Farmers
As climate change and other factors increase the economic and environmental risks of farming, it is important we respect farmers for the hard work required to both produce our food and be good stewards of the land. As a city resident with farming experience, I am especially interested in building a stronger connection between farmers and consumers. We need to address the worrisome fact that the biggest farms receive disproportionate subsidies—the largest 20% receive 80% of payments—and refocus our support on moderate-size family farms. We need to continue to provide incentives to farmers adopting no-till, ridge-till, and strip-till methods, which prevent soil erosion and reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. We need to replace harmful chemicals like Acetachlor and Atrazine with more benign alternatives. I will support legislation that protects family farms and supports local food programs.
Respect for Immigrants
I am proud to be from a country that has long welcomed immigrants from all over the world. It is especially beautiful that in this community, 61B, we have residents from so many countries, contributing to our cultural, linguistic, and religious landscape. Too often, difficult economic times create disrespectful dialogue and narrow-minded policy on immigration. We will return to prosperity by working together, not standing apart. Immigrant values that celebrate family and hard work are my values. I will support legislation that helps keep families together and opens doors and jobs to all people. I oppose the E-Verify and Secure Community bills, which would split families apart and close doors, here and everywhere, to job seekers. I support the DREAM Act, which encourages children of immigrants to pursue higher education. I strongly support the rights of workers and their families, regardless of immigration status.
Respect for Peace
For more than a decade we have been waging war in Afghanistan and Iraq, in response to the attacks of 9/11. Many brave men and women have joined the United States military to preserve the freedoms that we all enjoy. I am grateful to those who have sacrificed so much to defend our nation, and continue to do so daily. Unfortunately, the unending “global war on terror” has been far more destructive to United States than the 2,977 terrible deaths suffered on that fateful day. 6,284 American soldiers have died, including 94 Minnesotans; 46,542 have been injured, among them 644 Minnesotans. In addition, we've spent $1.3 trillion dollars on these wars with a direct negative impact on our economy. Consider where we'd be as a nation in 2011 had we instead spent that money on health care, education, and clean energy. Then consider the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the additional 100,000 deaths suffered there. It is clear to me that these wars are counterproductive. In the Minnesota House of Representatives, I will sponsor the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project resolution that calls on our leaders in Washington to re-prioritize our spending away from arms to our domestic needs. I oppose war for moral, human, environmental, and economic reasons. I will do everything in my power to cut spending on our wars and promote peace with peace.
Respect for Veterans
Our neighbors and loved ones who serve our country in the military make enormous sacrifices, both at home and overseas. Its never been more important that we respect our veterans for their service by welcoming them home with the support they need and deserve. I support funding existing programs administered by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs to enable them to fulfill their mission of serving Minnesota's veterans, their dependents, and survivors, and secure all benefits and services afforded by state and federal law, including:
- LinkVet, toll-free information and referral service
- Higher Education Veterans Program, for college and university campuses in Minnesota
- Grants to the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, to help end veteran homelessness in the state
- The five veterans homes, including the new adult day program at the Minneapolis Veterans Home
- Case Management, Outreach, Referral and Education (CORE) Program administered by Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota
We must respect the difficulties our veterans face transitioning between military and civilian life; recognize the moral and bodily injuries they suffer while in the service; and ensure that they are cared for by the same government that deploys them on missions around the globe.
Respect for Our City
mass transit and bike lanes
As a growing city, Minneapolis has struggled to meet the transportation needs of all its citizens. Thanks to the strong leadership of visionaries like Peter McLaughlin, we have a growing light-rail transit system that will reduce traffic in highly congested areas like Hiawatha Avenue and allow more commuters to leave the car in the garage. Thanks to the leadership of organizations like the Midtown Greenway Coalition, we have recently added many wonderful miles of bike trails, boulevards, rider-friendly lanes—leading Bicycling magazine to name Minneapolis "America's Best Bike City." Unfortunately, big cuts to Metro Transit will leave many without adequate bus service and reduce the expansion of biking infrastructure and light-rail. These cuts are misguided. They harm those workers and families who depend on public transportation and deepen our unsustainable dependence on dirty fossil fuels. I support continued funding for mass transit and bike-friendly pathways throughout the city, which will improve our community's quality of life and reduce our carbon footprint.
housing and the foreclosure crisis
The foreclosure crisis in South Minneapolis has been devastating. In the last four years, more than 10,000 of the city's homes have been foreclosed on. When people own their homes, communities thrive. I support efforts to provide affordable housing in our area and to move people back into permanent homes where they can raise their children and build community.
the vikings stadium
I am a longtime—if sometimes depressed—Vikings fan. Having a professional football team in Minnesota is a wonderful luxury. Unfortunately, the current economic conditions do not offer us the opportunity to invest in luxuries. At a time when we are cutting back social services for those who need them most and borrowing money from our schools, there is no case to be made for devoting tax dollars to millionaire athletes and their billionaire owners. Our investments should reflect our priorities. My priorities are our children, our workers, and our retirees. There is no compelling economic evidence to suggest that building a Vikings stadium would simulate the economy any more than investments in our schools or providing health care to our retirees. Given the current budget crisis and across-the-board cuts to social services, I am very strongly opposed to using taxpayer dollars to fund a new Vikings stadium.