The Hopkins Public Schools Legislative Action Coalition Legislative Forum was held on September 20th. While my opponent and I agreed on a number of issues, there were also clear differences in our views on private school vouchers (QUESTION 7), allowing guns in our schools (QUESTION 8), teaching intelligent design – creationism as science (QUESTION 10), allowing schools to save taxpayer money on referendum renewals (QUESTION 11), high-stakes tests (QUESTION 12), and giving schools the ability to create their own calendars (QUESTION 13).

The video was edited for time to include only those answers from myself and my opponent during the Senate District 44 breakout session.

Opening Statements

Question 1:

Adequately funding education is a concept virtually every candidate supports. In an era of underfunded mandates such as World’s Best Workforce, special education service requirements and digital literacy directives, funding has not even kept up with inflation, let alone funded the expanded requirements.

What would you do differently to fully fund public education requirements in Minnesota?

Question 2:

In the last decade, our general education per-pupil increases have lagged inflation, according to CPI. This lag has created a difference of approximately $350 or a 6% gap.

How would you ensure the legislature would correct this gap for schools to sustain their programs?

Question 3:

From your experience, what do students receiving special education services add o our community and what have you done to advocate for them up to this point?

Question 4:

Minnesota is known for its incredibly large achievement gap.

How do you plan on closing the gap?

Question 5:

What is your professional background and how will this help you as a legislator?

Question 6:

Would you send your children to or do your children attend public schools?

Question 7:

Would you send support private school vouchers?

Please Explain.

Question 8:

Should personnel employed by schools have the option to carry a firearm?


Question 9:

Candidates often talk about compromise while campaigning.

Can you tell us one issue you would break with your party on?


Question 10:

Do you believe there’s a place for intelligent design in the classroom?


Question 11:

Every other taxing authority and district in Minnesota, and there’s about 60 different types, has the ability to increase levy rates without voter approval – that includes towns, counties, watershed districts, park districts, mosquito control commissions, sports facilities commissions, and so forth.

Do you support allowing locally elected school boards to renew an existing operating levy at the same rate and duration without a public vote?


Question 12:

Minnesota used to have something called the “GRAD Test” which was a final test that seniors took in order to graduate with a diploma and it didn’t matter what their GPA was up to that point or anything and it was a required test.

Would you support a high-stakes final test like the “GRAD Test” as a condition for graduation?


Question 13:

Right now the State Legislature dictates that school districts cannot start the school year before Labor Day, except in extenuating circumstances.

Do you believe that local school boards should have the authority to determine their own school calendar?


Full Forum