Who am I?
Ive spent my life working to make communities and families stronger by bringing people together for positive solutions.
I grew up in a military family my dad and brothers all served in the Navy. My parents were real estate brokers. As anyone who has run a small business can appreciate, it was sometimes feast or famine in our house. One of those challenging times for my family was when I was about to go to college, which I couldnt have done without hard work, scholarships and financial aid.
My husband, Doug, and I were married over 25 years ago. We raised our sons, Colin and Nate, in St. Cloud. Weve followed the example set by our families, spending years as youth ministers in our church, volunteering in the schools and our community, and committed to our careers in public service. We raised Colin and Nate to share those values; Colin served as an AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteer and Nate worked to help restore a coral reef in Puerto Rico. Our whole family is involved in our campaign as well.
I devoted my career to working in the community to find ways to remove barriers to success for families, communities and small businesses. From founding and directing the Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity to growing jobs as a Housing and Redevelopment Authority Commissioner to running the statewide Community Action Partnership, we brought communities together to build strong families and them succeed.
While my work had its rewards, I woke up every day to many of the same challenges facing every small business: How to provide health insurance for my employees, making payroll and meeting a budget. It taught me to stretch every dollar.
I ran for office to continue breaking barriers and improve peoples lives. In late 2005, I won a special election in a Republican district, proving that the right candidate can win a so-called red district with hard work, a strong grassroots organization, and a solid message.
Ive put into practice the lessons Ive learned since I was elected to the State Senate:
Stand up to the special interests and on the side of Minnesota families
Lead by example (including cutting my own compensation and office expenses when the economy tanked)
Look for ways to make government more efficient and effective
As a State Senator, I focus on fiscal responsibility and sensible solutions for our state, creating jobs, and infrastructure. I took on the corporate interests, making sure consumers got the insurance coverage they paid for. I led efforts to protect senior citizens, produce nation-leading renewable energy standards, and help combat veterans transition to civilian life. I put education on the top of the agenda. I ensured nursing homes were paid fairly and established a special law enforcement unit to fight gangs in Central Minnesota. I'm proud that I was chosen by my colleagues to be Assistant Majority Leader in the Minnesota Senate, the number two position in the Senate.
Why am I running?
I am running for Congress because Washington still isnt working for us and in the MN 8th, we have a Congressman who stands up for special interests for Wall Street, for insurance companies, for millionaires and billionaires- instead of the people he was elected to represent. I believe that politics is about improving peoples lives. I want to go to Congress to stand up every day for families, seniors, children, and veterans - to strengthen our communities and small businesses. I have a track record of bringing people together for positive solutions from working to improve our childrens education to creating good jobs and building important infrastructure to helping seniors stay in their own homes. I work to break barriers and to take away hassles that get in the way for success for communities, families and small businesses and will continue to do so in Congress.
America is at a crossroads. We can choose between going back to the failed economic plan of borrow and spend or forward on a new path of American innovation to restore prosperity and economic growth. People want to work, to be able ,send their children to college and to be able to retire someday knowing the Social Security they paid for is safe.
Like many places in America right now, the top issue facing the people of Minnesota's 8th District is jobs. With some of the state's highest rates of unemployment - and with countless others underemployed or working several jobs just to make ends meet - we need someone in Congress who will make creating good jobs in the District their first priority. One way to do that is through needed investment in critical transportation and infrastructure projects which Congressman Cravaack has refused to support. Unlike Congressman Cravaack I will make it my priority to protect and make social security and medicare sustainable. The Congressman has been campaigning on the Ryan Budget and this just does not fit the values of the 8th district. People who spend their lives working deserve to know at the end of their career Medicare and Social Security will be there and that their member of Congress is not working to dismantle it.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
A powerful foundation of our nation is that citizens can come together to create change; it is amazing what the results can be. This has been an important part of my life - teaching seniors, pre-school parents or teenagers how to use their voices to change laws; bringing community members together to improve our community; and getting people directly involved in campaigns.
In 2005, I was elected to the Minnesota State Senate representing Republican-leaning District 15 in a special election scheduled for the day after Christmas. Despite our Republican governor's best efforts to keep the seat in his party's hands, we built an incredible coalition, did the hard work of campaigning door-to-door in frigid temperatures, and won. People powered campaigns arent just words or concepts to me thats how we win!
We're organizing an unprecedented grassroots campaign to take back Minnesota's 8th District. Weve already had almost 7500 donors this campaign. This grassroots fundraising is working alongside a dedicated army of volunteers throughout the district who are knocking on doors, making phone calls and talking to their neighbors about what's at stake in this election and why it's so important that we win in November. Finally, we're also proud of the endorsements we've received from grassroots organizations, from women's groups to labor and progressive organizations, that will give us the 'boots on the ground' we'll need to continue to reach out to voters and grow our historic campaign.