"I will work hard to provide the opportunity for all Minnesotans to succeed!"
Transportation - I support a comprehensive transportation system because good roads are important for vehicle safety & the economy - Funding for transportation should be distributed equally to meet Metro & Greater Minnesota needs - Funding for four lanes of Highway 14 from Nicollet to New Ulm - I also support "Safe Routes to Schools" funding and the Statewide plans for traveling and recreating across Minnesota.
- K-12 Education - All students deserve an excellent K-12 education. I will lobby my fellow Legislators for smaller class sizes, more Social Workers in schools, and the resources for teachers to prepare students for the workforce and higher education.
- Higher Education - I believe that Minnesota should continue to shoulder the majority of tuition costs for a public college education in a MNSCU college or technical & junior college as they did when I went to college in 2000. Right now Higher Education makes up 7% of the entire state general fund budget. I would support looking for ways to pay for 2 years of higher education or apprenticeship costs for each student born in Minnesota. It is also necessary to develop a Job Training Incentive Program to meet the needs of Minnesota employers, especially in Greater Minnesota where there is currently a skilled labor shortage.
- Agriculture - Farm families in District 19A are facing several hardships with commodity prices that aren't stabilized and compounded by emerging tariffs that will lead to further market uncertainty. I grew up on a family dairy farm and witnessed low milk price in the mid-1990s. So I understand that some neighbors will lose their farms, while others will further consolidate for the sake of survival, unless more is done to grow our economy. I'll also support the production of homegrown bio-fuels and industrial hemp for use in a wide variety of everyday items. I support diversified options for farmers such as the Forever Green Initiative & greater pollinator protections to ensure that farming has a future in Minnesota.
- Childcare Shortage - Minnesota is facing a childcare space shortage. In the past decade we've lost 2,500 providers, or more than 15,000 childcare slots. The Legislature should cover upfront costs of providers to increase the supply of both center-based & home-based options. In communities where facilities are lacking, funds should be allocated through DEED for the construction private or community-operated childcare centers.
- Healthcare - In rural areas, shrinking networks result in less choice for insurance coverage. The criteria for Minnesota Care enrollment should be expanded so that more Minnesotans have an option besides employer-offered or private market insurance plans. I would support a bill in the Legislature to study Universal Health Insurance for all Minnesotans. This issue has been discussed in the United States since the 1970s with no sustainable plan being enacted.
- Environment - Minnesota's idyllic "Great Outdoors" features clean air, clean water, and several recreational opportunities for all of us to enjoy. I believe in water quality standards & regulations that are based upon good science and allow for public comment periods to guide the rule-making process. I do not believe in mandates from the Legislature without allocating state funds to help cover the burden of local taxpayers. I will continue to push for financial trusts or set-aside money to shield taxpayers from companies that cause environmental catastrophes due to risky projects.
- Renewable Energy - I support the bi-partisan effort to double the renewable energy standard in Minnesota to 50% by 2030. Renewable energy is a bipartisan issue in our state, since passage of the 2007 Next Generation Energy Act. I also support state support of grants to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions within state buildings & cities through efficiency programs. - Taxes - Tax breaks for middle-income families are a much better investment of tax dollars. I will fight to ensure that tax bills favor middle-class families and not for the wealthy. I will also adopt the recommendations of the State Council on Economic Advisors to allocate 5% of the state biennial general fund revenue towards the Minnesota "Rainy Day Fund." Local Government Aid creates property tax fairness and stability for Greater Minnesota. Since it addresses the large variation in tax base across Minnesota, I will strongly support the objective formula that determines funding and ensure that the funding keeps pace with inflation and the general fund budget growth over time.
- Veterans - I support the Lifetime Homestead Market Value Exclusion for surviving spouses. This would allow the surviving spouse to receive the exclusion until they remarry, sell or transfer the property. I also support the Military Beneficiary Pay or Benefits protections to prevent predatory lenders from taking pensions from veterans. State Veteran homes across the state have differed maintenance projects that are necessary for proper care. I will lobby the Legislature to fund these repairs through the Bonding Bill.
Brand for House PO Box 473 Saint Peter, MN 56082
Prepared and paid for by Brand for House Committee, PO Box 473, Saint Peter, Minnesota 56082