There are a range of inequalities facing women in Minnesota that must be forcefully addressed by the legislature. Equal pay for equal work in both public and private jobs must be guaranteed. Efforts to establish a livable minimum wage are particularly important to women. Access to quality and affordable reproductive health care must be a part of health insurance irrespective of source of that insurance. Similarly, high quality affordable child care must be secured to enable participation in the economy for women (and men). We must also address sexual harassment in the legislature and do more to ensure that domestic violence and sexual assault are taken seriously and that we have adequate services and shelter space available for victims.
As someone who has spent many years working and volunteering in schools, I have seen firsthand the struggles facing students, teachers, families, and support staff. The first thing that we must do is fully fund our public schools, so that every child, not matter their zip code, has access to a world-class education. We need to continue to fund early education program and increase funding/staffing in order to address the mental health needs of students.
Securing the economic wellbeing of Minnesota and its residents is one of those “all of the above” kinds of tasks. Tax equity and income inequality are, of course, closely related. I will work hard to advocate for a fair and progressive tax policy that will generate the resources needed to properly fund important state programs.I will also insist on rigorous accountability in those programs and change or elimination of programs that don’t pass muster. Education (from pre-K to college or trade school levels) is one of those programs that we must depend on to produce jobs and bolster our economy. Similarly, health care and child care programs can contribute to our economic, as well as social, goals.
Mandating proper background checks for gun buyers, outlawing devices such as bump stocks, and enacting “red flag” laws are measures that can and should be taken immediately. None of these measures poses any semblance of a threat to anyone’s Second Amendment rights or any other civil rights. Some additional measures, such as encouraging proper research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control will, of course, await the day that the United States Congress steps up to its responsibilities. Such research would likely suggest additional measures and assess their viability.
Immigrants constitute about 8% of Minnesota’s population, make up about 10% of the State’s workforce, contribute billions in state and federal taxes, and enrich our culture. While most of the authority to regulate immigration rests with the federal government, Minnesota has been welcoming to refugees and has addressed non-citizen eligibility for driver licenses and some health care programs. Resolution of DACA is important to 5,000 – 6,000 MN residents and should be advocated at the state level. We must also be diligent in preserving a welcoming posture with respect to refugees.