What are the top three issues we are facing and what is your stance on them?
First, it is Public Safety. Central to every aspect of our society is that we have security in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools, and our business districts.
Second, it is Ineffectual Politicians. For example, peaceful protests are reasonable, a great part of our tradition in a free society, and important for positive societal change. But what are taking place right now are not peaceful protests. The result is public safety and commerce in our cities is threatened. State and City leaders need to quell this violence and destruction because it is imperative to the health of our democracy to do so. As another example, I understand that our political parties couldn’t be more different or polarized. But there are policy development objectives that would benefit everyone in our state across party lines and one of those important objectives is lowering the cost of health care. State leaders need set aside differences to prioritize lowering premiums and deductibles for the benefit of all Minnesotans.
Third, it is the Pandemic Response. There are families and companies that have weathered the storm just fine. On the other hand, many families and companies have not. Whole industries are in jeopardy, businesses have had to close often for good, and lots of people have had work hours scaled back or lost their jobs entirely. This is a time for both parties in government to put differences aside and work together on balancing worker safety with rebuilding the economy, a time to aid the workers and companies most affected. Additionally, instead of a surplus the State will have a deficit to overcome because of sales, corporate and income tax shortfalls, and spending to counteract the pandemic. But this is not the time to raise taxes and fees to make up for a shortfall. It is a time to thoroughly look at where we can reduce spending in the budget.
When you approach politics, do you feel we need to focus more on the now or more on the future?
It’s important to focus on both the now and the future. For instance, everyone I speak with now wants to talk about public safety, and for good reason. We have all seen the rioting in cities around the country, including close to home. Further, there has been a severe uptick in violent crime. Public safety is one of the primary roles of government and in this area right now the government is failing us. So, public safety is a top priority of mine. But we always need to have an eye on the future too. For example, long-term plans for education funding, private sector job creation, healthcare, road and bridge repair, energy security, lowering taxes and fees, balancing the budget, and taking care of the people that truly need assistance are all on a list of priorities that require thoughtful consideration and practical solutions.
What happened in your life experiences that led you to becoming a Republican with the passion to run for office?
I am the oldest of my parent’s nine children and with that came leadership responsibilities. I was raised to lead with the ideals that my parents instilled in me: Integrity, Humility, Practicality, Optimism, Hard Work, Learning is a Lifetime Endeavor, Love Unconditionally and Absolutely, Treat People With Dignity and Respect, and Help People That Have a Hard Time Protecting Themselves.
It is these ideals that have guided me through my experiences in police work, coaching, teaching, as a long time community volunteer, and studying law. It is these ideals that I believe would translate well to a political office and guide me as a State Representative for the Republican Party.
I have worked with wide-ranging groups of people in our society, establishing myself as a leader, creating solutions to improve outcomes based in a philosophy of always trying to put people in the best position to succeed.
My objective as a Representative is to be effective in an important job, but not self-important, trustworthy, a good listener, thoroughly prepared, an articulate voice of reason, and a problem solver. I want to be a Representative that can be counted on to develop courses of action that put Minnesotans in the best position to succeed.
What committees would you like to serve on and why?
I’d certainly like to be a part of the Public Safety Committee because of my police background. I have the knowledge, experience and desire to develop sensible reforms and rebuild trust between citizens and law enforcement.
Additionally, I have interests in the committees about Education Policy and Finance, Higher Education, Job Development, Energy, and Taxation.
Specific Candidate Question:
You were a Licensed Police Officer. With everything that has happened in Minneapolis, what is your perspective on it?
Earlier this summer the Minneapolis City Council, with support from some in our state legislature and from even our national representatives, declared this misguided idea to defund, dismantle or re-imagine the police. One bad result of that idea has been an increase in violent crime. And now many of these same people calling to defund the police are asking how the police can be more pro-active in solving this burgeoning problem of increased violence.
Ineffectual political leadership in Minneapolis directing the police department to disengage and stand down negatively affects not only Minneapolis but the entire state including us in Rice and Le Sueur Counties, in two major ways.
First, if you commute to the city for work, ride a train into the City, like to catch a football, baseball or basketball game in the City, or a play or a concert, eat at a favorite restaurant, or send a son or daughter to one of the many fine colleges there, you want a police presence there so you can feel secure. Without a trusted and effective police department, Minneapolis is no longer a destination for any of what I just mentioned.
Second, if you truly care about people that live in the City, especially in neighborhoods that have high violent crime rates, you want a police presence there to protect and serve our fellow citizens that have their homes and raise their children there. Without a trusted and effective police department, Minneapolis is not a safe place to live.
When I wore the badge as a police officer, I believed that it was an important symbol of public faith and trust. And when I was promoted to a command level, I used to tell the officers before a shift that “you are the most visible representatives of our city, represent yourselves, our department and our city with integrity.”
I do believe that police reform is required. I believed it when I was a field-training officer, training new recruits, working at, in what was in many ways, an excellent department. Even so, there are many more officers that believe in the ideals of the badge symbolizing public faith and trust, and a core principle of the job being integrity, than what has been negativity presented in the media fueled by politicians attacking the police.
We need the police to be better than they ever have been. Central to every aspect of our society is that we have security in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools, and our business districts. Properly managed police departments with highly trained, hard working, ethical police officers will build the trust and community partnerships required to provide that necessary security.