Sun Thisweek Burnsville edition 2022 Senate District 55 candidate questionnaire answers
Family: My husband, Chuck, and I have been married 41 years and we raised our three children in Burnsville.
Occupation: Certified public accountant with an active license
Education: I am a Burnsville Senior High School graduate; earned an associate of arts from Grace Christian University, Grand Rapids, Michigan; and earned a bachelor of arts in business administration from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.
Previous elected, appointed or volunteer positions:
Elected positions: two terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives to represent portions of Burnsville and Savage from 2011-14.
Appointed positions: minority party House legislative liaison to the Minnesota Early Learning Council and the Minnesota Youth Council from 2013-14.
Volunteer positions: Minnesota Federation of Republican Women (MNFRW), state president 2016-18; MNFRW state first vice president and membership chair 2015-16. Bethesda Church, Savage, AWANA commander 2009-10; AWANA Girl’s Club director 1993-2003, 2005-09; Bethesda Church Women’s ministry chair 1997-2001; Bethesda Church Parenting Class facilitator/teacher 1996-2009. Scott County Home Educators (SCHE) Service Over Self coordinator and co-coordinator 2001-09; SCHE Yearbook co-coordinator 2006-08.
1) What strategies should the state government implement to help improve student achievement in K-12 schools?
Only half our students can read at grade level. Though state education funding has only increased in the last 10 years, including historic increases last year, test scores continue to drop. I do not think funding is the root of the problem. I have heard from parents they want education to be focused on core academics: reading, math, and science. Parents have also said they want to be treated as partners in their children’s education, not adversaries. State government can incentivize the focus on academics and empower the parent’s role in their child’s education.
2) The U.S. Supreme Court has put abortion law back in the hands of state legislatures. Do you support any changes to state law? Why or why not?
Abortion is a constitutional right in Minnesota because of the 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision. The state Legislature cannot alter that position; to change Minnesota abortion law requires a new Minnesota Supreme Court ruling or majority vote of Minnesotans to amend the Minnesota Constitution.
I value life at all stages, at all levels of development, in all locations, and of all ethnic groups. I believe a woman has a right to self-defense if her pregnancy threatens her life. I also believe state government should encourage alternatives to abortion, provide safeguards for vulnerable females, and support women experiencing an unwanted pregnancy.
3) What legislation related to gun sales and/or gun possession would you support?
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported a 23.9% increase in violent crime in the seven-county metro area last year. This increase is on top of the previous year’s 16.0% increase. Residents of our community are disturbed by this, and the deplorable Defund the Police efforts witnessed over the last two years. I support tougher sentences for repeat violent offenders and tightening our judicial system to ensure judges can’t release repeat violent offenders without jail time. Law-abiding gun owners in Minnesota who want to protect themselves from this crime wave are not the problem, criminals are.
4) Are you satisfied with the state’s election security process? Why or why not? What changes, if any, would you propose?
There are numerous everyday activities that require a government-issued ID. For example, a government ID is required to buy beer at a football game, to receive medical care, to buy a fishing license. I have heard deep concerns from numerous people in our district. I understand their worry about election integrity would be neutralized by the reasonable measure of requiring a government-issued ID to vote. To dispel their concern their vote is not being canceled out by an invalid vote, I will advocate for the requirement of a government-issued ID to vote.
5) The Florida Legislature considered a bill that would prohibit educational lessons or training that cause people to feel “discomfort, guilt or anguish on account of their race.” Would you support such a bill? Why or why not? Do you support cultural competency for teacher licensing/relicensing? Why or why not?
After the experience of serving four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives, I have a personal policy of not giving my support to bills I have not had the chance to review in their entirety; one small word can alter the meaning of an entire bill. Nevertheless, I have been listening to the concerns of parents and their overwhelming top priority for their children’s education is academic achievement. Teacher’s licensing/relicensing should most importantly focus on how to impart excellence in academic skills in reading, math, and science.
6) Legislative gridlock has become the norm, as exemplified by last session’s lack of action on the surplus. How would you fix legislative gridlock? How should the surplus have been used with respect to spending and/or tax relief?
I will use the same leadership style in the Minnesota Senate as I effectively used in the Minnesota House. I listen and work to address points of division that block agreement. While a state representative I chief-authored four bills unanimously passed in the House and signed into law. Colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognized I would give them respect and a fair hearing of their concerns.
Much of last session’s estimated $9 billion budget surplus should be used for permanent tax cuts to help relieve some of the financial stress Minnesotans are experiencing from 40-year-high inflation. I would also support law enforcement by increasing their numbers and ensuring they have the tools they need to keep us safe. Finally, I would give teachers the literacy training they need to get students back on track and give students the mental health support they need after the pandemic.
7) If your party were to control all three branches of government, what should be the Legislature’s priorities?
No matter which party is in control of the governorship, the Minnesota House, and the Minnesota Senate, my legislative priorities will stay the same: permanent tax relief for all Minnesotans to help deal with 40-year-high inflation; safe streets and communities to deal with the dramatic increase in violent crimes; and improvements in educational outcomes by focusing on core academics of reading, math, and science, and empowering parent’s role in their child’s education. I will listen to and work for the people of our district to best serve their needs.