To the Editor:
It has been brought to my attention by several constituents that my opponent, Jack Krage, is distributing negative literature and making disrespectful comments about me and my family. I want to reiterate my commitment to run a positive campaign, and I encourage my opponent to do the same.
Since June my campaign team and I have knocked on over 13,000 doors and the issue people talk about most is their frustration with negative campaigning and the extreme partisanship in politics today. There is far too much negativity, and it’s disappointing that my opponent has decided to go down this path. I refuse to stoop down to his level.
When I was first elected two years ago the State of Minnesota was facing a projected budget deficit of $6.2 billion, our cash flow and budget reserve accounts were empty and the state owed our schools $1.4 billion as a result of the school shift in 2010.
Today our state is over $1 billion ahead of budget for the current biennium, and, as a result, our cash flow and budget reserves are full and the state has started to pay back our schools. These budget numbers are directly from Minnesota Management and Budget, the state’s non-partisan fiscal agent.
In addition to a base funding increase to our schools, one of the bi-partisan reforms we passed was literacy incentive aid, which will encourage school districts to focus on reading skills at an early age.
Beginning this school year, districts are eligible for additional aid based on how well students in the third grade are reading and how much progress they make in their in reading skills between grades three and four. The $48 million per year of additional aid will be distributed based on the results of statewide reading tests.
Rep. Gene Pelowski and I worked closely with Home and Community Options and other local service providers to adopt Region 10 Quality Assurance. Organizations that provide services to people with developmental disabilities will be able to offer improved care to their clients and achieve long-term savings as a result of this legislation.
I also worked with local county assessors and farmers to fix the problematic Green Acres program, local officials to designate southeast Minnesota as a site for a new veterans cemetery and local law enforcement officials to criminalize the dangerous synthetic drugs known as “plant food” and “bath salts.”
It’s a true honor to serve the people of Fillmore, Houston and Winona Counties in the Minnesota Senate. I look forward to continuing to be a positive voice in the legislature, working together with you, the people, and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take action, get results and make a difference.