Invest in Education Equity
Every single student deserves the tools and resources to become successful, and this includes more than just academics. We need to look at students from a holistic mindframe, because each student is unique in their journey in school. Growing up in an education system that didn’t have me in mind made school extremely difficult for me. I didn’t see myself in the textbooks, we didn’t talk about the areas of history that affected the generations before me, and I didn’t see anyone in my school that looked like me. I have worked in education for 10 years and have had many conversations with families who have the same story as me.
Investing in the next generation is a priority. We can do this by:
Setting guidelines on curriculum to ensure inclusion. All students need to see elements of their lives in what they learn at school. Minnesota should create statewide teams to review and update curricula, including teaching resources.
Development of Culturally Inclusive Professional Development training.
Creating a tiered licensing system that allows staff and employees the opportunity to grow and rise within their own district.
Providing life skills support in higher education in order to help our young adults moving into the professional level.
Creating pathways for Communities in Schools so we are collectively coming together to support students of all ages. Often communities have valuable resources for our students but they are hard access because of location, appointment times overlap with school hours, families can’t afford or have resources to participate in community programs. We can provide collaboration funding statewide to encourage partnerships and provide services to all students who need the resources.
Provide Quality Health Care for All
We all deserve a world where having access to quality healthcare is a human right, not something that comes as a privilege based on employment. Too often the cost of health care premiums is so incredibly high that in order to make other ends meet, families go without. Nobody should be afraid to make a doctor's appointment due to fear of the cost. I believe that health care is a right, and as we move in this direction I will continue to fight for quality health care for all. I grew up seeing how the Indian Health Service worked as a "health care for all" system, and it continues to be grossly underfunded and provides limited services. Because I have lived the with impact of an underfunded health care system on my family and my community, I am uniquely prepared to fight for a system that makes the health of our communities a priority rather than a privilege.
Expand Affordable Housing
With no raise in minimum wage for over a decade, families are working long hours at multiple jobs just to pay their rent. I have met with many families that have to decide between food and rent on a monthly basis, yet they are working as hard and as much as they can. I believe that a safe, stable home should be an opportunity that every community member of Minnesota deserves. We can do more to help landlords provide income based housing. If we invest in our community, we will all reap the benefits of that investment.
Protect Mother Earth
I have spent my entire life learning about and trying to protect the beauty in Mother Earth. I firmly believe that it’s our responsibility to pass our environment down to the next generations better than we found it. I believe that our water should never be compromised and our air needs to remain clean and pure. I’m an advocate for honoring and respecting our tribal treaties and sovereign nations, particularly regarding natural resources. We should not be creating worse environmental impacts on our minority and underserved populations. We cannot continue with the mind frame that allows us to support the fossil fuel industry as long as it's not in our own backyard. Climate injustice has a direct connection to social injustice, and I will continue to be a strong voice in this effort.
Minnesota efforts I firmly stand in support with are:
Working to make the state of Minnesota the next 100% clean energy state
Shifting to zero-emission bus fleets for city and school transportation
Opposing the Line 3 pipeline project due to the rapid decline in the oil demand and increased risk to our natural resources and public health, and due to violations of sovereign nation treaty rights.
Close the Pay Gap
Every single Minnesotan should have the equal opportunity to be paid based on their skill set and valued for the work they bring to the table. Our women and underrepresented populations should be invested in at the same rate as the dominant population. This is not just a gender gap, this includes minority, LGBTQ+, first generation college graduates, people with mobility challenges, and Minnesotans with mental health issues. We have non-discrimination statements that allow everyone to work, but everyones deserves to be valued equally. Minnesota can close our pay gap by supporting the movement to remove the “previous pay” question from applications, and by setting salary reporting standards that are reviewed regularly. Programming support for organizations to restructure pay scales and current employee pay rates.
Increase Broadband Access
With the world relying so heavily on access to the internet, all areas of Greater Minnesota should have high-speed access. This affects education, economics and much more. I earned a Master’s Degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead completely online, so I understand how important that access is. With more and more business transactions taking place online and organizations using tools that require access to the internet, we need to make sure that we aren’t leaving some Minnesotans behind.
First, we need to make a plan for how we are going to safely return our kids to school. Many parents are going to find it impossible to work if we continue to keep our schools closed all day, every day. If we are going to ask kids to continue to do school at home, even part time, we need to make a more equitable distance learning plan for New Americans, families with limited access to the internet, and families whose kids have IEPs. We also need to make sure that kids who rely on school breakfast and lunch continue to be fed.
Next, we need to make sure that people have enough money to live on and stable housing. We need to expand unemployment benefits and put a moratorium on evictions for people whose income has been significantly reduced by this pandemic.
Finally, we need to do our best to expand access to mental health services. This is a hard time for all of us, and some of us will need more mental health care to get through it.
State Budget Priorities
We need to do a better job of equitably funding our education systems from pre-K through graduate school. We need to raise graduation rates for our minority youth, and one way to do that is to recruit more teachers from minority backgrounds. We also need to do more to support older than average college students. The economic effects of this pandemic will likely mean that people need to build new skills, and we need to give them the support they need to do that.
Another effect of the economic repercussions of the pandemic is that people are going to lose their health care when they lose their jobs. We need to separate employment from health care access. Losing a job shouldn’t mean that you can’t go to the doctor when you’re sick.
We need to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and we need to close the pay gap. Everyone, no matter their race, gender identity, physical ability, or socioeconomic background, deserves equal pay for equal work.
We need more accountability from the people who we ask to protect and serve us. We need to require mandatory reporting by officers who witness racial profiling, excessive force, and misconduct by other officers. We need an outside agency to review complaints. And we need to hold supervisors responsible for the actions of their officers.
In Moorhead, I have been working hard to open the lines of communication between the police department and members of our community, and specifically our minority populations, so that we can ensure that what happened to George Floyd never happens here.
At a state level, we need to increase funding for licensed social workers and mental health specialists on the police force. We ask our police officers to respond to mental health crises that they aren’t trained for, and that is not their fault. We also need to require implicit bias assessments in our police departments and review the behavior of officers toward those populations.