On The Issues

Jobs and the Economy

Our nation was built upon the principle of opportunity for all. But today, too many Minnesotan families are struggling under the weight of rising home mortgage payments, skyrocketing health care costs and increasing college tuition. The very fabric of our nation is threatened by unemployment and underemployment.

As your representative, I will work tirelessly to restore an atmosphere for economic growth and opportunity in Minnesota. As someone who started his own company from the ground up, I know what it takes to establish successful businesses, to create private-sector jobs and to reignite economic opportunities. I am committed to:

• Strengthening the middle class—the true engine of our economy. In order to jumpstart economic growth, we need to increase aggregate demand for American goods and products. We can do this by making sure more money is in the hands of middle class consumers. In this fragile economy, we cannot afford to burden the middle class with tax hikes.

• Establishing trade laws that are truly fair—and that means making sure that Americans are competing on a level playing field. Our state has some of the hardest and most effective workers in the world, and we can compete with anyone so long as we are not placed at an unfair disadvantage.

• Attracting business to our communities: Minnesotans are some of the hardest working and innovative people on earth. We need a representative who understand how to attract businesses to invest in our district, in its people and in its resources.

• Cutting meaningless, job-killing red tape. As someone who has started dozens of small businesses, I know that sometimes the best thing the government can do is get out of the way and allow the free market to thrive.

• Fixing our broken tax code.

• Ensuring that capital is available to small businesses that are ready and willing expand, hire and prosper.

I was raised to believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can achieve the American Dream. Now is the time for us to come together as a country in order to restore economic opportunity and prosperity through commonsense solutions.

Education 

As an employer, I understand that access to quality education is essential for a thriving workforce. Our competitiveness in an increasingly global economy is directly linked to the success of our education system. And as a former elementary school teacher, I understand the challenges educators face with the varying degree of readiness that children present. I am committed to reforming education in a way that demands accountability from parents, teachers, and administrators, but also rewards educators for successful outcomes.

In our K-12 education systems, we need to reduce class sizes to ensure that every child is given the attention he or she deserves. We need to recruit, train and support the most effective teachers. We need to make sure that smart investments are made in programs that have proven track records of promoting academic excellence.

I believe every Minnesotan ought to have access to affordable higher education as well. Unlike my opponent, I will fight to keep college loan rates low, so that dedicated students can get the training and education they need without bankrupting themselves or their families. For the first time in history, student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the United States. That is why I supported recent legislation capping the federal student loan rate at 3.4%. I have proposed freezing that rate for five years in order to help stabilize the cost of college, making it easier for students to plan ahead. In today’s increasingly high-tech economy, individuals who are willing to work hard ought to have the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.

Trade

I support fair trade that enforces safe labor practices, protects the environment, levels the playing field, and creates livable-wage jobs in America and the 6th Congressional District. Every worker, both here and abroad, is entitled to basic human rights in their workplace. International trade has the ability to create great prosperity but it cannot be at the cost of the average worker and their ability to make a respectable living.

Most importantly, I want to grow jobs in Minnesota. We all do better with a vibrant, prospering middle-class in this country. The playing field needs to be leveled to encourage all individuals go out into the workforce and find success in their craft. The middle-class is the economic engine of the United States and building a strong middle-class, with livable wage jobs, is what I will focus on as a member of Congress.

Veterans 

Thanks to our men and women in uniform, we are blessed with the freedom to live in the greatest country in the world. In return for their service, it is our responsibility to take care of our soldiers during their active duty and upon their return home. After fighting for our country, no serviceperson should have to fight for a job when they return, which is why I support the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act. Our veterans should be able to use the skills they learned in the military to help find a job back home.

While visiting veterans and veteran organizations across Minnesota’s 6th, I’ve seen how veterans of our wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Korea have been neglected by the federal government and their elected officials. When officials like Rep. Bachmann propose slashing veteran benefits, they endanger our national security by allowing harm to befall our servicemen and servicewomen and undermining the honor of service.

We must ensure that even after hanging up their uniform, all veterans have access to the best health care in the country. Caring for those veterans that suffer from traumatic injuries must be one of America’s top priorities. Lastly, we should all be proud in knowing that our veterans are finally receiving benefits from the 21st Century GI Bill, which ensures that every military member returning from Iraq or Afghanistan has the opportunity for a four-year college degree.

Seniors

As a civic leader, an employer of thousands, and a dedicated philanthropist, I have long been attuned to the needs of seniors. As a successful business owner with an astute understanding of finance, I have the skills to navigate policy ensuring those needs are met.

For nearly 75 years, Social Security has provided a guaranteed safety net for seniors in America who earned these benefits. Today that security is in jeopardy. Privatization and severe reductions in benefits are not the answer. Protecting Social Security and Medicare are non-negotiable priorities, and, in order to accomplish this, we must keep them solvent. In Washington, I will work across the aisle to ensure that Social Security benefits are available when today’s children reach retirement. I advocate for thoughtful discussions, careful negotiations and creative solutions. Additionally, I will vote to protect Medicare, reducing health care costs for our senior citizens. Specifically, I will do everything I can to prevent senior citizens from financial ruin due to the Part D “doughnut hole” coverage gap, so our seniors receive the health care they deserve.

I know the way we treat our seniors defines us as a society. This election, Americans will send a clear message that our seniors’ dignity, well being, and retirements will not be sacrificed to pay for Congress’s spending binges. Americans deserve to plan for a secure and dignified retirement, and I know what it will take to get every single American there.