Over the past week, I got the chance to sit down with other House and Senate candidates from districts 20 and 58 at a few different forums hosted by the League of Women Voters, Northfield Chamber of Commerce, and KCHK Radio. We discussed a wide variety of issues including transportation, education, small businesses, the MN farmers. These conversations highlight what we have accomplished in St. Paul and the challenges that our community will face in the upcoming years.
At the candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters last week, I was proud to discuss the strides that we have made in MN education during the last legislative session. Most specifically, the investment in early childhood education and all day kindergarten will help MN schools address the achievement gap–in turn helping students across the state graduate high school prepared to enter college or the workforce.
The conversation at the Northfield Chamber of Commerce candidate forum on Tuesday, October 11th focused on MN’s economy and small businesses. Last session, I supported several pieces of legislation that addressed the workforce shortages in MN. The “Teacher Shortage Act” works to ensure that we keep the best and brightest teachers in our classrooms across the state through more flexible licensing processes, grants that help bring student teachers to shortage areas, and a statewide teacher job board to connect teachers with open positions and districts. In addition to this, I focused on making sure our students have exposure to career options before making decisions after graduation. Through career fairs, bringing in business representatives to schools, and connecting students with technical colleges as well as four-year colleges, I believe that we can address workforce development and ensure that our state workforce has the necessary skills to continue building our economy.
Last Wednesday, I talked with representatives from the Belle Plaine FFA and we discussed the issues facing farmers in Greater MN. During my time in office, I am proud to have supported bipartisan initiatives including Forever Green–which provided $1 million worth of grants to the Board of Regents at the University of Minnesota to help researchers develop and implement ways for farmers to use their land more sustainably and effectively while increasing yields–and “Buy the Farm” legislation that protected local farmers from the Capx2020 project.
I always look forward to these discussions about the issues facing our community. Strong solutions are built off of these open-minded conversations. When we work together, we can continue moving MN in the right direction.