Issues

Agriculture and Food Policy

During the farm crisis of the 1980s, I worked with urban constituencies to promote policies to keep farmland in the possession of small family producers. I remain committed to protecting family farms and encouraging state policies to conserve our land, water, and soil while producing an abundant, and healthy food supply. I support urban agriculture initiatives, and farm to table direct marketing to encourage local, sustainable food production.

We must ensure that healthy food is available to all. I will continue to oppose cuts to the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), which provides food assistance to low income Minnesotans. I support policies to encourage young, beginning and immigrant farmers to work and stay on their land. I strongly oppose weakening local control and loosening regulation of the large-scale feedlot and frac sand mining operations that impact rural communities and threaten farmland with pollution and run-off.

Affordable and Accessible Heath Care

I view health care as a basic human right. As such I co-authored legislation known as the Minnesota Health Plan, www.healthplan.org which envisions a single statewide plan to cover all Minnesotans. I will continue to counter misleading attacks on the Affordable Care Act, and support efforts to expand Medicaid and provide for affordable prescription drug coverage. I am a staunch defender of reproductive choice, and oppose efforts to cut public support for Planned Parenthood.

I support a strong health care safety net and medical assistance reforms to ensure that people with disabilities are fully covered by state and federal programs. State policy must also address health care disparities, and health impacts of chemicals in our air, water, and soil.

I am an advocate of lower staff-patient ratios in hospitals and clinics, and increased funding for mental health services. I support additional resources to increase the number of students of color and rural practitioners in the University of Minnesota Medical School and in nursing programs around the state.

I strongly support increased funding for HIV AIDS prevention and treatment.

Environment, Energy, and Climate

Addressing the climate crisis by promoting safe, clean renewable energy, and lessening our reliance on fossil fuels are high priority in my legislative service. I am a strong proponent of the Clean Power Plan and will oppose efforts to delay its implementation. I have authored legislation to increase the state's renewable energy standard, and incentivize the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. I will continue to support Minnesota's moratorium on building additional nuclear power plants.

I support efforts to promote clean water by reducing agricultural runoff through buffer strips, and reducing the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides. I support efforts to protect pollinators and preserve thorough environmental review of large mining and pipeline projects.

E-12 and Higher Education

Prior to my election to the Minnesota House of Representatives, I served as the co-chair of the Barton Open School Leadership Council. In this position I learned first hand of the critical role that teachers, parents and school administrators play in successful academic outcomes for our children. All three of my kids graduated from Minneapolis Public Schools and I am a strong defender of our public education system.

I have authored legislation to increase the per pupil funding formula for public schools, as well as legislation to reduce class sizes and reign-in the overuse of standardized testing as an evaluation tool. I oppose school vouchers and other efforts to drain public money to support private education.

I support initiatives to promote universal pre-K early childhood education, and increased state support for childcare programs.

I am a strong supporter of the University of Minnesota and our state community colleges. I am an advocate of reducing tuition for our public college and university system. Funding for public higher education infrastructure needs is a priority for me in discussion of state capital investment legislation.

Public Safety

Recent mass shootings highlight once again the need to reduce gun violence and pass common sense legislation to make it more difficult for criminals and terrorists to have access to guns. I am a strong supporter of banning assault weapons; background checks; and closing loopholes that allow for the sale of guns at gun shows.

I support reforms in criminal justice and sentencing guidelines to reduce the prison population, including the legalization of marijuana. I strongly oppose the privatization of prisons.

I support efforts to reduce the incidence of officer-involved shootings, particularly in communities of color. I am an advocate of increased funding for our courts and particularly for public defenders and legal aid.

Economic Justice

I support policies to promote jobs and a fair economy. Among these are tax and investment policies that lower the tax burden on low and moderate-income people while demanding that corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share. I have chief authored bills to close corporate tax loopholes and strongly support efforts to increase paid sick time and family medical leave.

I am an advocate of an increasing the minimum wage and investments in affordable housing. I will continue to fight unfair lending practices, such as triple digit interest rates on payday loans. I oppose efforts to roll back collective bargaining and worker's rights.

Human Rights

I am a staunch supporter of human and civil rights for all. This includes addressing the impacts of racism in our communities particularly in terms of social, educational and economic disparities. I am the lead author of legislation to increase resources for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights including increasing human rights enforcement in regional centers.

I will defend marriage equality and continue to work for LGBT rights.

I support granting driver's licenses for aspiring citizens and am leading efforts to advocate for stronger hate crimes legislation.

Transportation

As former Chair of the Transportation Finance Committee, and current ranking minority member, transportation and infrastructure investments are among my highest legislative priorities.

I strongly support a comprehensive transportation finance package. This includes increasing revenue for roads, bridges, and public transportation systems. I am a leading advocate of oil and ethanol transportation safety measures and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

I authored the state's ban on texting while driving and last year led successful efforts to increase fines for texting while driving. I oppose increasing speed limits on state and interstate highways, and for increased enforcement of traffic safety laws.

Campaign Finance Reform and Elections

I strongly oppose efforts to suppress voter participation, particularly requiring a photo ID to vote. I support efforts to expand voting rights, including felon voting, and pre-registration of younger voters.

I support efforts to provide increased transparency for campaign spending, including public release of donors to Super PACs, and reinstatement of the states Political Campaign Refund program.