I’m excited to announce that I am seeking the DFL endorsement for state representative in House District 63B. I used to think “excited” was just hyperbole candidates used in their announcements, but since deciding to run, I’ve learned it’s actually the right word. A chance to get things done is actually exciting, at least to me.
I’m running because we face some large problems which need some big ideas to solve, and I have some big ideas.
Solve the housing shortage by covering the freeways: Minneapolis and Richfield face chronic housing shortages, yet Minneapolis had a peak population of 500,000, while today it’s having trouble housing 400,000. What we forget is that the peak was before the freeways were built, when digging the freeway trenches ripped gashes through our neighborhoods that destroyed neighborhoods and housing. Travelers could pass through the Twin Cities quickly, and commuters moved faster between the downtowns and outer suburbs, while cities were left with disconnected streets and a lot fewer people. Let’s put a roof on the freeways, turning them into tunnels we can build on and replace lost housing. Look at the width and length of the freeway trenches, and think about just how much housing that is.
Make college free and keep young adults in Minnesota: Not so much in our district, but other parts of the state see young adults leaving. At the same time, student loan debt either forces most young adults to forego post-secondary education for fear they can’t repay the debt, or student debt constrains every choice they have to make. Take a less lucrative but otherwise better job, start a business, buy a home, have children: every choice is restricted by student debt. I propose “Commit to Minnesota”, where post-secondary education is free, provided students commit to live in Minnesota at least five years after leaving school. After five years, they will likely have found jobs, maybe bought a home, gotten married, and become embedded in their community. They’ll have higher incomes thanks to their higher educations, therefore pay higher state taxes, and pay those taxes to Minnesota, which will fund the program for the next students.
Fight global warming by investing in pumped hydro: The substantial objection to renewables is the lack of baseload power — producing more electricity as we need it. We can shovel more coal in the furnace, but wind and sun can’t be turned on or off, so we need a means of storing power. We could hope battery technology improves, or we could use technology that is already available. With pumped hydro, wind turbines or solar panels send unneeded power to pumps that move water up to a reservoir. When the power is needed, water is released from the reservoir to flow through hydro turbines that produce electricity. This allows renewables to provide power when needed, which means they can replace fossil fuel plants.
I’m best known for being a three-term chair of the Senate District 63 DFL, and that is a record I’m proud of. While winning general elections in this blue district was no particular trick, there was no guarantee we would produce the high voter turnout needed for DFLers to win statewide, nor was there a guarantee would have the active party that could keep going between elections, saving us from having to start from scratch each time. While I was chair, our district worked on the groundwork for future campaigns. We were consistently one of the most active local parties, and a top producer of both voter turnout and DFL votes.
These big ideas will all take time to build, let alone get through the legislative sausage grinder to become law, but that’s why I ask the DFLers of 63B to endorse me and send me to the legislature: so I can get started turning these big ideas into real projects and programs.
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