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Public Education: I believe our public schools need to be adequately funded so that students from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds have an opportunity to be successful in their lives. I believe our K-12 curriculum also needs to change with the times, aligning with educational standards but also engaging and meeting the needs of students who are interested in a specific career or trade and, therefore, might especially benefit from hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. I also believe that technology is an invaluable tool in and out of the classroom for both students and teachers, but it also needs to be monitored closely as teachers teach, and learners learn.

Agriculture: We need to support the backbone of this region's economy, our family farmers and agribusinesses. We need smart regulations that help more than they harm, and that find a balance between letting our growers do what they do best, while also protecting our region and state's incredible outdoors and valuable natural resources.

Childcare: This is a critical need across Minnesota, but the need is greatest and the shortage of licensed childcare is at its most critical, in rural Minnesota. And yet, increased rules and regulations put forth by the Minnesota Legislature are making it more difficult for new, licensed childcare providers to get started, and for established, licensed providers to stay in business. Although we need common-sense rules and regulations to keep kids healthy and safe, this formula does not equal success. In addition, although it's wonderful if a parent wants to and is able to stay home with the kids and not work outside the home, this becomes a workforce issue as well if one parent is, for lack of a better word, forced to stay home because licensed childcare is unavailable, or it is available but is unaffordable.

Women's Reproductive Health: Women have a right to choose. They deserve and have a right to access to high-quality reproductive care. Period.

Healthcare: We need to ensure that District 1B residents continue to have convenient access to top-notch healthcare, whether they're going in for an annual check-up with their physician, or they're facing serious health challenges. This goes for both our physical health and well-being, as well as our mental and emotional health and well-being.

Infrastructure: We need to make smart, timely and proactive investments in our region and state's roads, bridges and other transportation and public transit infrastructure. We can't afford to get so far behind that the amount of financial investment needed makes bipartisan support a bigger challenge. If we lag in these investments and let our infrastructure age, this becomes a public safety issue.

Workforce: Whether it's our manufacturing sector or our small-town businesses or larger industries and corporations, the need for an educated, well-trained and reliable workforce has maybe never been greater. We need skilled, dedicated people willing and able and excited to do the work that needs to be done, and be adequately compensated for their work. We need to work with our business leaders on investing in today's reliable, talented workforce, as well as tomorrow's.

Elderly: Our population is getting older. As that happens, we cannot afford to fall behind when it comes to taking care of our elderly friends and neighbors and making sure they have the resources, housing options and long-term care they need, and deserve.

Helping Those Who Need It: We have some of the most fertile soil on the planet right here in our backyard, growing the food that feeds us, and yet too many of our friends and neighbors struggle with food insecurity. Simply put, they go to bed hungry and/or wake up hungry, and their options in the kitchen cupboard or refrigerator are severely limited. Too many families in District 1B and beyond struggle to put food on the table, struggle to pay their bills, struggle to buy clothes, and too often they feel alone as they try to figure out a path to a better future. We are Minnesota; we have the resources to help them and we should utilize those resources.

High-Speed Internet/Broadband: While many who call Minnesota home likely take high-speed internet and reliable broadband for granted, in many pockets of rural Minnesota, including right here in District 1B, access to consistent, reliable high-speed internet service, whether on the go or working and learning from home, remains a challenge. We can and need to do better.

Rural Minnesota: Rural Minnesota small towns and cities, including many right here in District 1B, cannot be satisfied with just surviving, they need to thrive. That means not just maintaining their populations, but growing them. The State of Minnesota needs to recognize the creative minds and innovative spirits that dot our rural landscape, and make strategic investments that make more people, including our young people, want to call rural Minnesota home as they work, learn, play and raise families.

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