My Story

Because everyone's story means something, I have put together my background so you can learn a little about who I am, the issues I fight for, and the reasons I am running for Congress. I look forward to traveling around the district, meeting with you, hearing your story and discussing the changes you want to see. 

 

Growing Up    

When I was three years old, my family moved from South Dakota to a small town in western Minnesota after a fire destroyed our home. My father found a job working for a local farm family and my mom stayed home with me and my three siblings. As sometimes happens to families, my parents divorced and my mom went to work. Although that time was hard on everyone, my mom did her best to ensure we had what we needed.

Our lives changed when my mother met my step-father. They had a wonderful life together and I had the opportunity to get to know and love a man with a deep commitment to his family and local community. He taught me the importance of dedication to work and community service. He managed cooperative elevators for over fifty years, served as fire chief of the local volunteer fire department and donated his time and talents to his community through organizations like the Lion's Club.

 

Adulthood

After graduating from Appleton High School, I attended Moorhead State University until I could no longer afford to continue. Looking for alternatives to obtain higher education, I went to work at Citibank in Sioux Falls SD, where I qualified for their tuition reimbursement program and began taking classes at Augustana College.   

Promotions led to a position as an efficiency analyst within the Operational Control department. Our task was to evaluate each department within Citibank, make efficiency recommendations, ensure security and safety protocols were in place, and verify costs were correctly reflected on the balance sheet.

Our family, my husband and our two children, Miranda and Ryan, had access to several benefits offered by Citibank, including affordable health care and an onsite daycare center. All that changed when my marriage ended after twelve years and the kids and I moved back to Minnesota to be close to family. 

As a single parent, I needed to earn enough to live but prioritized spending time with the kids. With that in mind, I went to work in a manufacturing plant working three twelve-hour overnight shifts on the weekends. It provided for our needs until the plant closed and I was offered training through the dislocated worker program and attended South Central College.   

 

Farm Life

I met my husband, Trevor, and we lived in Windom, MN where we were active on his family's farm. Without enough land for three families, Trevor started an insurance agency and I worked for an online training and development company as a technical writer. As the agency grew and the ability to purchase land continued to decline, we made the painful decision to leave the farm. An insurance agency was offered to us and we moved our family to Owatonna, where our family grew by one with the birth of our youngest son, Benjamin.   

We have been in Owatonna for fifteen years. Two of our children have earned their degrees, were married on the front lawn of our home, and Benjamin has just completed the seventh grade. Miranda graduated from Winona State University, married Stephen and we now have our first grandchild Ezra. Ryan graduated from Rochester Technical College and is married to Hailee; they just purchased their first home in Northfield. 

 

Public Service 

My story is about lifelong learning and having the courage and determination to make a better life for our family. It’s also about how my passion for people and understanding what they are going through led to my commitment to public service.

I have been advocating for rural issues long before my work in the state legislature. As a business owner I joined the policy committee at the local Chamber and served as chair and as a member of the board of directors. I served on the Owatonna School Board and understand the challenges of a rural school district. I continue to serve as Secretary Treasurer for Steele County Farmers Union after 15 years, because I believe keeping families on farms is essential to how we produce food, fuel and fiber, how we protect our land and water, and how we continue to bring jobs and resources, including people to the communities we work so hard to support. 

In order for people to hold me accountable and to communicate with those that wanted to attend. I held 2nd Saturdays with your Senator events in three different locations on the 2nd Saturday of every month during my time in the state legislature. 

As State Senator, I served during a time of complete party control and divided government. I was able to pass bills in both situations.  I carried over 200 bills in my four years in the legislature and was ranked one of the most productive legislators.

 

Senate Work

Our Families

  • Passed Military Retirement State Income Tax Elimination
  • Worked to increase funding for mental health treatment and reduce Homelessness for our Veterans
  • Created Child Care Affordability Task Force
  • Carried tax credits for working families, property owners and students

Our Communities

  • Secured resources for Hwy 14, Corridors of Commerce, local bonding projects
  • Provided Resources for Rural Economic Development
  • Created Rural Teacher and Physician Shortage Solutions
  • Equalized Rural School Funding

Our Main Street Businesses

  • A well educated skilled workforce
  • Affordable Housing
  • Business Tax Reforms

Our Family Farms

  • Voted for Agriculture property tax cuts
  • Co-Authored Broadband funding bill
  • Advocate for transportation for cities under 5,000
  • Working for the protection of landowner rights

And Our Safety

  • Carried domestic and sexual violence along with child protection bills
  • Passed Railroad Safety Bill to provide training for first responders
  • Enacted family death benefits for volunteer firefighters