A Proven Return on Investment
State funding for schools is down and keeps going down, forcing local communities to raise property taxes in an effort to fund local schools. Poorer communities without that tax base are left even further behind, causing more difficult challenges and often resulting in an achievement gap. We must work together to find a way to consistently and equitably fund our schools across the state. A recently introduced Republican-led initiative for a state constitutional amendment is not the answer and may further endanger funding for already struggling school districts.
Studies have long shown the benefits of early childhood education, yet we continue to regard preschool as a sort of free daycare. Preschool teachers are licensed and certified just as any other teacher, but are paid far less. When we expand preschool programs and start to better value our preschool teachers we will be rewarded with higher-achieving children.
We must offer our teachers continuing-education classes in new technologies so they will be better able to teach our children the skills to succeed in the jobs of the future.
The Stakes are High
We have to face the fact that climate change is real, and it is caused by humans burning fossil fuels. Renewable energy isn’t just the future, it’s the present. In Minnesota alone, more people work in the fields of clean and renewable energy than work in the coal industry nationwide. Promising to re-open the Kodak factory is not going to revive the 35mm film industry. We need to support the clean and renewable energy industries with job training initiatives and business incentives.
In Minnesota, our lakes and waterways are perhaps our most valuable and beautiful natural resources. It is incumbent upon us to protect them from invasive species and chemical contamination.
Transportation and Infrastructure
We're Going to be Here a While
It's shortsighted to behave as though Minnesota won’t be here in another hundred years. We need to take a longer view of what we want our state to look like in the future. To simply continue to add lanes to highways is not a long-term solution. We must look to alternative forms of transportation.
This Just Has to Happen
I always like to say that when you call the police or the fire department for help, they don’t ask for your policy number. Basic healthcare is a right. Finding a way to ensure (and insure) health care for all is a daunting task, but one we must address.
Obviously, a federal single-payer health care system is not going to be created at the state level, but a good first start would be to allow all Minnesotans the option of enrolling in MinnesotaCare.