This is why I’m running for the Minnesota State Senate
I have a vision of government where what is valued and matters most are the people and our needs. A government that sees each of us as worth investing in. And a community where everyone belongs, because the truly bright future needs each of us to bring our best selves. I believe we can create this together.
I grew up on the North Dakota Plains where farmers brought in their sick neighbor’s harvest, and each child was everyone’s responsibility. I attended public high school in Anoka, Minnesota, and then went on to college in Massachusetts. College was where I first encountered the kind of inherited wealth that defines those born with opportunities that others only dream of.
My Midwest values bristled at seeing how power came attached to wealth and this started a lifelong commitment to fighting for economic justice. I have worked all kinds of jobs—cleaning, waitressing, retail, automotive, bookkeeping. This made me appreciate that all work has value and should bring with it a life of dignity. My father, a family doctor, likewise had deep respect for all his patients. This influenced me to spend 12 years putting myself through my pre-medical studies, medical and public health school. I returned to Minnesota to train at Mayo to be a physician specializing in the care of older people.
I left practice after 17 years as a hospitalist geriatrician and have since worked to make healthcare accessible for everyone, particularly for our rural communities. I find it profoundly painful to see rural hospitals and clinics close. I struggle to understand how our government accepts the argument that big healthcare entities must close facilities because they can’t recruit providers and that providing care for our rural people is not profitable enough. Resources follow priorities. Profit shouldn’t determine access to healthcare. Profit is creating the inequalities we see.
And I have children, like many of you, who wonder what their future holds. They see rising inequality, loss of autonomy and dignity in the workplace, increasing addiction and despair, and a climate emergency that is destroying our planetary home. The next decade in Minnesota will be challenging. Some politicians will use uncertainty about the future and breed fears of scarcity to try and get us to turn against each other. We will be encouraged to blame newcomers, or our neighbors of different races and faiths, for our hard times in order to distract us from the fact that they have no solutions.
I won’t and can’t promise a fix for everything, but I do commit to fighting for the best interest of all of us. We can do powerful things on the state level that will have a meaningful impact on everyone’s lives. That is why I am running.