Issues: A to Z

Business:     Corporations are doing much better because of deregulation.

Civility:          The purpose of debate or a political forum is to get facts before the public and let them decide. You don’t need to be disagreeable, but you must get the facts out even if the other side doesn’t like the facts.

Education:    We have excellent schools in our district and we all care about academic excellence in our schools.

House Republicans paired historic investments in education, including the largest per pupil formula increase in 12 years, with innovative reforms to ensure every Minnesota student gets the education they deserve.

Education spending accounts for nearly 40% of general fund appropriations, leading all categories of spending in the state budget. In 2018/19, the state will spend nearly $18.8 billion on schools, programs, and state education related agencies.

There is little evidence to show that more money, whether from state or national taxpayers, improves student achievement in schools.

Eldercare:    I am committed to protect seniors and vulnerable adults from abuse and financial exploitation.

Elections:     We deserve honest and fair elections but voter fraud neutralizes our legal votes.  It is reported that there is no voter fraud in Minnesota but that is because it is only considered fraud if the person is convicted.  Fraudulent voters are not being prosecuted.

Ramsey County Elections recently reported that there was a “glitch” with their system that showed wrong tabulations in Ramsey County races.  Can we trust they get it right on November 6th?

Energy:      The free market should be the principal determinant of which energy technologies reach the marketplace.

Energy security requires a diverse set of fuels to meet the demands of different geographic areas and different energy supplies.

Technological innovation and free market incentives have allowed us to promote economic prosperity while improving environmental health, protect wild lands and conserve resources.

An “all-renewable” energy plan is not possible because of land-use calculations.

Environment:              Minnesota is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that provide us with endless recreational opportunities, and jobs. We must strike the right balance between protecting and utilizing our natural resources.

Fraud:      We keep hearing in the news about children dying in foster care, eldercare abuse and more and more about child care fraud. It has been reported that 24 Child Services employees are being investigated for fraud. The estimated fraud claims in Health and Human Services has now risen to over $1 billion dollars. This is totally unacceptable. This information is from Matt Dean, Chair of the Senate HHS Committee.

$1 billion dollars can provide services to people who really need them.  Government is supposed to be a good fiduciary of our tax dollars.  There should be performance assessments that must be met by each entity receiving funding before they receive more.  The private sector expects effective outcomes and you should expect no less from government using your tax dollars.

Government:     Government has mandated, dictated and regulated businesses and individuals right out of Minnesota.  Our Constitution provides clear rules for our elected representatives to follow.  We cannot increase the power of government at the expense of the people of our District. Government programs are unsustainable. We already can’t rely on government to run programs like MNSure, MNLars, MNIT Ramsey County Elections or the Met Council.

Immigration:    I oppose open borders.  Immigrants who want to come to the United States can do so legally.

Health care:     Please don’t confuse health care with health insurance. In recent years, many families have struggled with skyrocketing health care costs caused by Obamacare and MNsure.  I support repeal and moving to a system not tied to your employer.  We should work to encourage high quality, low cost healthcare allowing choice and control over an individual’s own healthcare needs and expenses.

At a forum in 2016, Senator Carolyn Laine warned us that everything would come to a head with health care in 2018.  It’s here!

Health Insurance:    There is a huge push for single payer or Medicare-for-all health care in Minnesota. Single payer would require over $16.8 billion in new taxes per year on Minnesotans. The total cost would be over $35.8 billion per year and it would eliminate over 42,800 jobs in Minnesota. Lower reimbursement rates through Medicare would cripple rural hospitals and leave millions of Minnesotans with fewer and fewer options to find needed care.

A single payer system would also put Minnesota’s entire health insurance industry under the Minnesota Department of Human Services who has a proven inability to manage current health care programs let alone take on an enormous expansion. Single payer is not the answer for Minnesota.

Politicians who tout single payer never bring up the negatives and there are many.   First of all, a government bureaucrat intervenes between you and the doctor. You may wait months for a needed operation due to government priorities. I have a cousin in Sweden who waited eight months for a gall bladder operation. The pain and discomfort while you wait means nothing to the bureaucrat. If you die while waiting, you are just another statistic.

If you are older, worry more. The bureaucrat’s statistical chart can overrule the doctor!

I support Jeff Johnson’s plan to lower health care costs. That means allowing more competition to bring costs down, enticing more insurers to offer plans in Minnesota, and cutting mandates to make more affordable plans available.

What about pre-existing conditions?  Minnesota had the first high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions, but it was wiped out with the ACA (Obamacare). We should re-instate that high risk pool on a bipartisan basis, which will mean competitively priced coverage for everyone – including those with pre-existing conditions, and won’t artificially increase premiums for those who do not have such conditions.  Let us bring reality and truthfulness to legislation about health care!

There are approximately 400,000 Medicare Cost Plan enrollees in Minnesota (the highest number of enrollees in the Country) who have received letters informing them that Medicare Cost Plans are ending effective January 1, 2019. This is now causing great concern to our seniors and their caregivers. The replacement Medicare plans will cost more, they may not be able to keep their doctors or hospitals, and may not be provided care they deserve.

Medicaid:      Obamacare included brand-new provisions that paved the way for people with substantial assets to qualify for Medicaid. Before Obamacare, Minnesota offered three public health care programs to adults with asset limits ranging from $1,000 to $20,000. Obamacare eliminated these asset limits and based eligibility solely on a household’s modified adjusted gross income.  Without an asset limit, millionaires are now qualifying for Medicaid.

In a MNsure market that blurs the distinction between Medicaid and private coverage options, people understandably expect Medicaid to function like private coverage and not impose additional financial obligations. Yet once enrolled in Medicaid, the state slaps a claim on your estate if you’re older than 55.

Minimum Wage:   Raising the minimum wage favors those who already have jobs at the expense of the unemployed.

Government interference in the labor market, be it minimum wage increases or a high regulatory burden and taxes or an uneducated workforce make MN a very business unfriendly environment.  This must change.  That change starts with a new voice in the legislature.

Opioid Crisis:     It started in the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates.

Increased prescription of opioids led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.

To get a handle on this crisis, we must improve access to treatment and recovery, support research on pain and addiction and find safe, effective and non-addictive strategies to manage chronic pain.

Prescription Drugs   Price-fixing prescription drugs will cost us in cures.  The average cost to develop a new prescription drug is $2.6 billion dollars.

The most effective way to combat high cost of care is to create an environment that preserves competition and choice in the market.

Roads & Bridges:    Both parties may agree that there is a need for road, bridges and rail infrastructure.  This can be done with existing resources like realigning the state budget surplus and restructuring MNDOT resources.  The gas tax is currently 28.5 cents per gallon and it is higher than 60% of other states ranking at 20 out of 50.  Gas tax was originally intended to be dedicated to roads and bridges.

Both parties do not agree with the need for expansion of transit systems that currently fail to pay for themselves without being subsidized by the taxpayers. Taxpayer dollars should be spent more efficiently and effectively along with Met Council reforms.

This is another program where the solution is not to pour more money into it but to bring about efficiencies.  Looking at the road and transit system budget and into other successful transit programs may be a solution.  Texas is an example of collecting the lowest taxes but having the best roads in America.

In 2015 the Republicans introduced a $7 billion plan to fund road and bridge repairs over the next ten years.  One of the solutions in the plan would have been to take taxes on auto parts, rental cars and auto out of the general fund and dedicate them to road and bridge spending.  I would be in support of these type of self-sustaining solutions, if reintroduced.

Sanctuary State:          I support our country’s immigration laws and support local law enforcement to enforce those laws.  I do not support a sanctuary state or sanctuary cities in Minnesota.  California is a prime example of what not to do.

Second Amendment:  The second amendment provides a fundamental individual right of self-defense.  Any new restrictions on law-abiding citizens will only leave guns in the hands of criminals and only hurt lawful gun owners.  I am pro-2nd Amendment rights.  The “gun show loophole” you hear about means that federal law requires licensed dealers to run background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), it does not require non-licensed dealers to use that particular system for running background checks but they are still required to run background checks. What it is all about is requiring non-licensed dealers to use the NICS system.

Taxes:     Taxes go back to the purpose of government. Government and taxes should only be big enough to get the job done.  Tax money should be applied to social problems only when it is proven effective.  Taxes should be optimized, not blindly maximized.

Corporations pass on tax increases to the consumer which increases the prices of consumer goods.  Between 2010 and 2017 corporate taxes collected nearly doubled from $663,505,000 million to $1,205,379,000 billion.

The tax conformity bill would have conformed Minnesota’s tax laws to the new federal tax cuts and reduce taxes for Minnesotans.  It was vetoed by Governor Dayton so all Minnesotans will be paying more tax and paying more for complex tax preparation.

Minnesota is the 5th highest taxed state in the US.  I’d like to change that to being the 5th lowest.

Transportation:           The increased gas tax was supposed to be used on our crumbling roads and bridges but it was used to subsidize the failed light rail system. The gas tax should only be used for it’s intended purpose. I oppose a gas tax increase.

Billions of dollars were squandered on light rail that could have been used elsewhere more effectively.  It will cost another $2 billion for the line from Eden Prairie to downtown sporting events—that is outrageous. I propose to give it back to the taxpayers.

President Trump:    Yes, I voted for Donald Trump.  I feel the same as Tiger Woods when he responded to the same question:

“I respect the office of the President of the United States. Some will dislike the politics or the personality of whoever is in the office but we should always respect the office.”

The country has made it through 44 presidents and we can make it through 45.