Thank you to the constituents in my district! It has been my honor to serve as your State Representative. I am excited to continue the fight for everyone in my district for another two years. I hope you take the time to learn more about me and what I want to accomplish for you in St. Paul over the next two years. JOBS In St. Paul I will continue to focus on creating sustainable, living wage jobs for the people of Duluth. I will work with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, the City of Duluth and the State of Minnesota to secure financing for the continued redevelopment of the old steel plant site. Creative re-use of this site will lead to much needed job creation for the Western half of our city. During my first term, I voted “yes” on the bonding bill that created many jobs for Duluthians. As your Representative, I was able to negotiate with MNDOT to secure the entire $6 million of state funds that will be used to build the new $27.5 million transit center in Downtown Duluth. Construction on this important project is scheduled to begin this fall. In my next term, I will continue to focus efforts on improving our core business districts which include downtown Duluth, Lincoln Park and Spirit Valley. Improved infrastructure along with aesthetic improvements to the areas will help businesses grow and flourish in these districts. In St. Paul I will continue to promote Duluth as a great place to start a business and will ensure that potential investors are aware of Duluth’s strong and able workforce.
I am proud of my strong stance on curbing crime in the City of Duluth. As your city councilor, I worked to put more police officers on the streets. As your Representative, I supported a bill that will make the sale of synthetic drugs a felony and it puts synthetic marijuana on the government's list of Schedule 1 drugs. At the legislature I will continue to advocate for more police officers and tougher penalties for criminals. I believe it is of the utmost importance that we work every day to protect our children and our community. As your legislator, I authored (or supported) bills that increased education of sexual violence in our schools’ curriculum, changed laws that made sure criminals who engaged in repeated vehicle prowls were charged with a felony and made sure it was easy and safe for victims to report acts of sexual violence.
Our military men and women put their life on the line everyday protecting the freedoms we enjoy and cherish. As a country and as a State, we need to make sure they are supported when they come home from serving. I hear too often of Veterans suffering from homelessness, mental illness and untreated disabilities. This is deplorable, and as your Legislator I will continue to make sure our Veterans are protected when they return to our State. In St. Paul, I secured $350,000 for housing for homeless Vets. While I am proud of this accomplishment, I want to do more.
Spirit Mountain and the Lake Superior Zoo are two of Duluth’s many treasures. In St. Paul, I will continue to advocate for investments and improvements to both of them. We need to work to make Spirit Mountain a thriving year round facility and we need the State of Minnesota to partner with us to make some much needed infrastructure improvements at the zoo. Improving these already great facilities will be cornerstone to future investment and economic development in the western part of the city. As your legislator, I voted in favor of the Legacy Bill that has already provided $200,000 for the zoo.
MISUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION
As your Legislator, I opposed all of the Constitutional Amendments that have been put to the ballot this year. My belief is that the Constitution is in place to PROTECT our rights as Minnesotans, it is not there to take away our rights. I do not support this intrusion of government, and as your Representative, I will continue to oppose amendments such as these.
The Tax Bill passed in 2012 provides millions of dollars in tax relief to wealthy corporations by making huge cuts to the Renter’s Credit program. I chose to vote against this bill because I feel that funding tax relief to big business on the backs of middle class renters, many of whom are senior citizens, is not right.
I also co-authored a bill that would restore the Homestead Credit. The 44 year old Homestead Tax Credit provided direct relief to 95% of homeowners in Minnesota. It was a targeted credit that showed up automatically on property tax statements and its removal has led to a substantial property tax hike for people living in Duluth. As your Representative, I will continue to work to restore the Homestead Tax Credit which will ultimately lead to lower property taxes for the Citizens of my district.
Duluthians love the outdoors and know we need to take care of our environment. I want to lead the effort to convert our aging steam plan into a state of the art, biomass facility. Duluth can again be a leader in environmental sustainability and environmental economic development. As your legislator, I voted to provide $1.5 million for cleaning up the beautiful St. Louis River. I hope that someday the St. Louis River corridor will be a place that harbors environmentally friendly business and industry. Finally, in 2011 the City of Duluth received financing in the amounts of $1,772,756 and $1,605,655 from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority to assist the City of Duluth in the reconstruction of the sewer system in the Riverside neighborhood. This money, in the form of grants and low interest loans will be used to ensure clean drinking water for the citizens of Duluth and that the St. Louis River area continues to recover from decades of pollution.
Because this money was secured for Duluth when it was, our taxpayers will save an estimated $215,000 in interest costs. Preserving our environment and creating clean drinking water, while saving our taxpayers money is something that is very important to me!
On June 20, 2012, the communities in Northeastern Minnesota suffered a devastating loss. The amount of rain that Minnesota received has never been seen in our history. As your Representative, I will do everything in my power to make sure the residents who had to deal with flooding issues will receive all the necessary Federal, State, and Local support.
SERVING PEOPLE FIRST
You have my commitment that I will listen and respond to the concerns of the citizens of District 7B. I am always available to hear your concerns and work hard WITH YOU to make our neighborhoods even greater than they already are. I need your vote on November 6, 2012. With it, I promise to work everyday for the citizens of my district and of Duluth. I am ready to lead in the footsteps and examples of Willard Munger and Mike Jaros. Please vote on Election Day and we'll keep working to build a better Duluth.
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