My entire adult life has been spent building businesses, creating jobs and taking good care of employees. I currently co-own a small business called Penny's Coffee, where we voluntarily pay our employees $15/hour. I believe that we need tax policy that disproportionately benefits the middle class in this country, because the best way to support businesses is to put more money in the pockets of their customers. That's why I opposed the tax bill, written by my opponent, which specifically punished Minnesota taxpayers - and will send more of our tax dollars to other states. Finally, economic opportunity doesn't always require a four-year college degree, which is why I want to expand access to apprenticeships and training in the skilled trades.
I am the only candidate in the country who refuses to take any money from current members of Congress, federal lobbyists, Political Action Committees, or any special interest group, and I have challenged my opponent to do the same. Too many politicians are beholden to the organizations and interests that fund their campaigns, and to their party leaders. Our current Congressman has taken more PAC money than virtually any other member of Congress and voted with his party leadership nearly 100% of the time. I want to be beholden only to my own principles and values and those of the people I am elected to represent. That's how Minnesotans can have confidence that I am acting only in the common interest, and not on behalf of any other interest.
I believe it is all of our responsibility, which is why I helped create the ManyOne initiative, which brings Democratic and Republican members of the Minnesota legislature together to build trust and inspire collaboration. As a candidate for office, my core mission is to get people talking again. Our campaign's motto is "Everyone's invited!" That's why I drive my 1960 International Harvester campaign truck all over the district, serving coffee or lemonade, and having conversations with people - no matter whether they're a Democrat, independent, Republican or anything in between. Unlike our current Congressman - who has held three town hall meetings in seven years - I believe representation begins with listening, and I want to hear form you.
I believe the root of the dysfunction in Washington is the influence of big money in our politics. That's why campaign finance reform will be among my top priorities if I'm elected - and I will not rest until progress is made. I also believe that we need new energy and new ideas in Washington. I've worked in the private sector my entire life, while my opponent has been in government for that entire time. I know we can do better - but only with new representation, and new leadership in both parties. With enough like-minded leaders in Congress, we can get special interest money out of politics, change the way political boundaries are drawn, and even reform the way Congress itself works, to inspire collaboration. That would be a good start.