Workforce Development & Labor

Saint Paul's Eastside—and Minnesota as a whole—has always succeeded when we have built things from the bottom up. Today, as Minnesota emerges from the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, we need elected officials who will work to grow an economy that works for all Minnesotans. Simply put, families should not be working full time and still living in poverty.

For over a hundred years the Eastside has served as a welcoming first stop for many of Minnesota's newest citizens and recent immigrants. Unfortunately, far too many families in Minnesota have become trapped in low wage employment with little hope for growth. Their low wage employers reap the benefits of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax payer money in the form of food assistance, Medicaid, and housing assistance while paying their employees less than they are worth. This must stop. We need to improve the quality of the jobs in our communities and while raising the minimum wage this past session was a good first step, there is much left to be done to support all working families. Minnesota should pursue a paid family leave program, new paid sick leave requirements, and increased enforcement of anti-wage theft laws.

Additionally, we need to make sure our workforce is prepared for the jobs of the technology and manufacturing jobs of the 21st workforce training dollars on public/private partnerships but too often graduates of those programs are still unable to find work that supports a family. We need to make sure that workers coming out of these programs have the skills for a job that pays a living wage. Minnesota should also restore funding for the skills training classes offered in our public schools and bring down century. Minnesota spends millions of our the cost of post-secondary education as well as better encourage internship and on-the-job training programs that have a proven track record of creating long term employment opportunities. By better aligning our workforce development investments with trends in the modern economy we can cultivate a sought-after workforce on the Eastside.

Economic Development & Job Creation

As chair of the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee I have focused on creating high quality jobs on the Eastside and throughout Minnesota. I have worked on the development projects along the Phalen Corridor and on the 3M site. The Eastside needs to continue developing a new economic identity that will allow us to thrive in the coming decades. I believe we will be most successful as a community if we can develop a strong mix of professional, service, and manufacturing jobs that all pay a living wage or better.

With nearly two decades experience working on economic policy at the Minnesota Capitol I believe a balance between supporting the large employers and Fortune 500 companies that call Minnesota home and cultivating the thousands of small business that are the backbone of communities like the Eastside. We need to support and spread organizations like the Neighborhood Development Centers that encourage the entrepreneurs already operating in our neighborhoods and help them establish their businesses so they are better equipped to support their families and become sustainable employers. Then we must take on the kind of economic gardening that grows our small business into medium-sized neighborhood employers.

During the next legislative session I intend to focus my work on supporting the rebirth of local economies in Twin Cities' communities like the Eastside. I will continue working with neighborhood development centers, small business owners, and science and technology investors to build a vibrant and diverse economy that will support all Minnesota workers. I believe by supporting small business loans, reducing commercial property taxes, and investing in our public infrastructure we rebuild the local economy on the Eastside and communities like it throughout Minnesota.

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