Education is one of the most important issues to me and has always been an integral part of my life. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family of educators including my parents. My dad started his career in academia at the University of Oregon. After working as a social worker to put my dad through graduate school, my mom was a special education teacher and became a clinical psychologist while I was in college.

Thirteen years ago, my husband Valdo and I moved to Minnetonka in large part because of the safe neighborhood and the terrific public school system. Both of my adult children, Rachel and Ben, attended Hopkins public schools. When they started school, I eagerly volunteered in the Hopkins School District Legislative Action Coalition advocating for public school funding and meaningful policy at the state legislature with our retiring state senator, Terri Bonoff. Now, as I walk through our beautiful neighborhoods with scores of joyful children and knock on the doors of young families, I know that we must do better for every Minnesota child.

The foundation for success starts early. Children who start behind often stay behind. When I am elected, I will work to expand early childhood scholarships because it is the most cost-effective way to eliminate the achievement gap. I want to make sure that all of Minnesota’s children have access to the best teachers and attend top rated schools like the ones we are fortunate enough to have here in Minnetonka, Plymouth, and Woodland. I want to stabilize public school funding and ensure our tax dollars are used wisely.

As the mom of adult children, I understand the overpowering crush of student debt. Skyrocketing college tuition costs and loan interest rates are holding back a generation. I will work to ensure that college is affordable and accessible and students graduate with the skills they need to get good jobs, pay their debt, and start the next chapter in their lives.

Education is one of two constitutionally mandated functions of state government in Minnesota, and for good reason. It is our educated workforce that attracts major employers and fosters entrepreneurship. The success of our children is in our hands. It takes teachers, students, parents, administrators and politicians from both sides of the aisle, working in partnership, for the benefit of each child. Let’s work together for our children… our future.