Family:Four children: Christian, 28, Andrew "Cody," 25, Katherine, 22, Kelsey, 20.
Education: Bachelor of science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in human development/special education, specializing in early-childhood special education; graduate coursework in deaf education and general education.
Occupation:Executive director of the Rochester Area Math/Science Partnership; legislator.
Community involvement:Current: Statewide Health Improvement Program Executive Leadership Committee, Rochester Chamber of Commerce member, Rotary Club member, League of Women Voters, GRAUC board member. Past: Rochester School Board 1998-2006, National PTA board of directors.
What would be your top three priorities?
1. Balancing the budget.
2. Education (preschool-college) policy and appropriate funding.
3. Economy/work force issues.
What should be done to solve the state's $6 billion budget deficit?
Both conservative and liberal economists alike recommend a balanced approach to managing the state budget. I support this approach of reductions, additional reforms/efficiencies, and targeted and fair revenue enhancements. A rigid, unbalanced approach leads to property tax increases that are crippling to seniors and others on fixed incomes.
What is one regional issue you would work on?
Southeastern Minnesota is emerging as a bioscience leader. Growing and strengthening Rochester’s higher education institutions will be vital in providing a well-educated work force to meet area business needs. Developing public-private partnerships between our schools, Mayo, Hormel, IBM, Elk Run, etc. will provide job growth and increased economic development here.
Would you support legislation to grant the city of Rochester the authority to put before voters a ballot measure to renew the city's sales tax?
Yes. Rochester citizens have the right to decide whether they wish to renew the city sales tax. The work of the citizen’s committee and city leaders will help the Legislature understand area needs and priorities. This necessary process has begun, and I look forward to the results of that work.
Would you support efforts to connect Rochester to the Twin Cities via a high-speed rail line?
Yes. High-speed rail has multiple advantages for our area. It would address future fuel shortages, relieve congestion on our roads and be environmentally smart. More importantly, it would provide us fast, easy access to the Twin Cities and support/benefit our own economy through the influx of visitors, patients and employees.