People come first.
My philosophy is simple: put the partisanship aside, listen to the people, and get things done. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together—results that come with the experience and relationships I’ve built at the State Capitol.
I’m honored to have secured funding for the creation of the Rare Disease Advisory Council, which coordinates the study and treatment of rare diseases. I helped pass reforms that stabilized the individual health insurance market in Minnesota, bringing our premiums to among the lowest in the nation. I supported record funding for our schools, including investments in special education and career and technical education—and I supported tax relief for senior citizens, veterans, families, farmers, students, and small businesses. And I’ve been an advocate for important local projects like the Lanesboro Dam, Education Village, Southeast Minnesota Veterans Cemetery and Veterans Home, and the Wagon Wheel Trail.
We are blessed with a quality of life in Southeastern Minnesota that few states can rival. I ran for office to help make sure future generations have the same opportunities for success as I enjoyed—and we do that by listening and working together.
Our region is incredibly fortunate to be home to the nation’s best medical facilities and minds. I’m proud to be a champion for investments in innovation and research across the health care sector. I’m also proud to have helped lead the way on a successful ‘reinsurance’ program that lowered Minnesota’s health care premiums to among the lowest in the nation.
I was honored to be the author of the ‘Super Gav Act’—a bill that provides newborn screening for rare diseases—in memory of Winona resident Gavin Quimby, who passed away at the age of five after a battle with metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD). I was also the author of the ‘Bridges to Health Care’ program, which provides resources to help disadvantaged students pursue careers in health care. I helped secure needed funding for nursing homes and disability services, and worked with local disability providers on Region 10 Quality Assurance to help provide better care and long-term settings.
We passed a series of bills that made reforms to pharmacy benefit managers by increasing transparency, so you’ll see more savings at the point-of-sale, and passed a bill to make hospital billing more transparent and easier to understand. I also worked to protect funding for our nursing homes and supported the landmark Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act, which affords major new consumer rights to residents of long-term care facilities and licenses assisted living facilities in Minnesota for the first time.
In addition, I authored a bill to protect Good Samaritans who provide care to somebody suffering a life-threatening allergic reaction—making sure you don’t get in trouble for administering an Epi-Pen. Recognizing the critical need for mental health services across the board, I strongly supported record investments in mental health services for students, farmers, seniors, and Minnesotans in crisis. Finally, I worked with constituents to pass legislation to create a Rare Diseases Advisory Council to bring together health care experts to quarterback the study and treatment of rare diseases.
I’m proud to be a product of the Winona Area Public Schools, and I know how important it is that our kids have access to a quality education. During my time in the Senate, I’m proud to have supported the largest investments in public education in state history, including early childhood learning opportunities, and major reforms that streamline costs and ensure the best possible education for our most valuable treasures—our kids. I also led the way on initiatives like career and technical education, which provides quality on-the-job training for students in high school and prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow—recognizing a four-year degree isn’t for everyone. And I helped deliver additional funding to help school districts cover growing special education costs and invest in safety enhancements, as well as an expansion of mental health resources for our students.
Our teachers also must get the recognition they deserve. Education is absolutely essential to competitiveness and preparing our kids to be responsible citizens. I will continue to for ways to cut the costly mandates placed on our schools and advocate for more local control—parents, teachers, and our local school boards know what’s best. Today’s students are tomorrow’s future!
As a graduate of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, I have firsthand knowledge of the needs at our higher education institutions. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with college students, faculty, staff, and administrators on a number of initiatives that will help make higher education in Minnesota even better and more affordable, including increased funding, additional investments in the State Grant Program, and championing the first-in-the-nation student loan tax credit.
I worked on legislation to increase opportunities for internships and apprenticeships, and boosted the Workforce Development Scholarship program. I also worked with students, faculty, and staff to change the presidential search process at Minnesota State to allow more local involvement. Finally, I’m a proud supporter of Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funding and led the effort in the Minnesota Senate for the new, state-of-the-art Education Village project. I will continue working to make sure our higher education systems remain among the best in the nation.
Having a safe and reliable network of roads and bridges, rail, airways, and ports is critical for commerce, travel, and safety. As a member of the Minnesota Senate, I have supported the largest investments in roads and bridges in nearly two decades, with billions pumped into transportation related projects across Minnesota, particularly in our Greater Minnesota communities.
I also supported the independent review that led to the ultimate fix for the state’s driver’s license and vehicle registration system known as ‘MNLARS’, secured funding for local flood mitigation systems, and made sure more Greater Minnesota road construction projects are eligible for state and federal funding.
When we’re at our best, Minnesota’s economy is strong and resilient—and I have the experience necessary to make sure it stays that way. As chair of the Jobs & Economic Growth Committee, we focused on initiatives to promote job growth, workforce development, and economic growth. As we build our state and local economies, I’m pleased to have led the way in making sure career and workforce development opportunities are available to all Minnesotans—including those who might not fit a traditional career mold. All Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to succeed at a job they love!
I was proud to work on the Helmets to Hardhats program to provide job opportunities to women and men returning from active duty, and championed additional funding for the Extended Employment Program, which provides job opportunities for people with disabilities.
I authored legislation to fund the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program, which provides grants of up to half the development costs for Greater Minnesota industrial parks—public-partnerships that help maintain and create jobs, increase local tax bases, and provide economic development opportunities.
Another priority of mine is reducing excessive regulations placed on small businesses by the government so they can invest in their businesses, create jobs, and power local economies. We are working to do this by streamlining permitting processes, removing duplicative services, and reforming government so it moves at the speed of 21st Century commerce.
We have made tremendous progress, but there is work left to do, and I will continue working on policies that help create jobs and promote economic development in this great state. As the number of jobs in Minnesota increase, so does our quality of life.
I supported targeted tax relief for lower and middle income Minnesotans, senior citizens, small businesses, veterans, and farmers, as well as a first-in-the-nation student loan tax credit. I championed the Income Tax Reciprocity Tax Credit for Minnesotans working in Wisconsin, and supported the Ag2School program to level the playing field on agriculture land when it comes to school bond referendums. I also worked to reduce property taxes for farmers and small businesses, expand the Working Family Tax Credit, and ensure state conformity with federal tax law.
I know what it takes to enact a balanced budget; during my first term, I helped turn a $6.2 billion budget deficit into a sustainable budget surplus, and we did it by investing in programs that work and cutting down on waste, fraud, and abuse. That’s the sort of mentality we need in our government, especially as we navigate these uncertain times.
We are so fortunate to have some of the best agricultural land and the hardest working farmers in Minnesota right here in our area. My wife, Janel, grew up on a farm in Lewiston, where her family still farms the land. I know firsthand that farming and agriculture drive our local economies and it is critical that lawmakers in Saint Paul understand its importance. I will continue to work together with our farmers toward new uses, new markets, and value-added opportunities to make use of agriculture products. Our farmers are some of the most productive in the country—and we need to continue to help promote and celebrate that fact.
During my time in the legislature, I’m proud to have championed funding for the disaster assistance contingency account to assist communities in recovery from natural disasters. I supported funding for the Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Relief Initiative, replenishing the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) and to help prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. We also made historic investments in broadband expansions to rural communities across the state. Additionally, I supported measures to provide more affordable housing in our Greater Minnesota communities.
I am incredibly proud to support our veterans and their families. I helped pass legislation for the beautiful Southeast Minnesota Veterans Cemetery in Preston, and secured state funding for a new veterans home in Fillmore County, which is still awaiting federal funds. Additionally, I helped pass legislation to make military pensions tax exempt in Minnesota.
I am incredibly proud to support our senior citizens. I worked very hard to increase funding for our nursing homes, and supported the landmark Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act, which affords major new consumer rights to residents of long-term care facilities and licenses assisted living facilities in Minnesota for the first time. I also championed legislation to lower the tax burden on senior citizens.
I am pro-life.
I support our Second Amendment Right that allows law-abiding citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
For the time being, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do things in Minnesota and around the nation. At the onset of the pandemic, I led the way in state efforts to help protect first responders, health care workers, and those on the front lines of the battle. I supported the bipartisan measure to fund the necessary tools for health care professionals and facilities and make sure we were equipped to handle any potential surge. I also worked with the administration to make sure we were thinking to the future in terms of reopening Minnesota’s economy in a safe and effective manner—which we continue to work on doing in a way that minimizes the potential for future outbreaks.