Address: 10642 184th Ct. NW, Elk River
Family: Fiancée Diane Nguyen, Jadison
Education: BA, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, 1996
1. Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications:
I own a marketing agency in Elk River working with local businesses and serve as the President of Business Networking International (BNI), a local business networking group. I’m a past youth hockey and football coach, and I attend and volunteer at Free Grace United church in Elk River. I worked for the Minnesota State Senate for a year after college. I’ve diligently listened and learned from parents, teachers, and staff in ISD 728, and local business owners throughout my campaign, earning the endorsement from Education Minnesota that represents local teachers.
2. What are your top three priorities if you are elected?
Work diligently to secure funding for mental health counselors for ISD 728 in the state budget and for local roads in the bonding bill. I want to keep a lid on property taxes and favor using the K-12 state budget to fund this need. I feel the same for funding local (state and county) road improvements. The bonding bill is the best way to protect property taxpayers from tax increases. I also believe it is time to eliminate the Social Security income tax on retirees.
3. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?
I recently helped a woman struggling with drug and alcohol addiction from committing suicide and helped her get into a treatment facility. When I ran for the Minnesota House of Representatives in the last election, I published a blog calling for the state to provide the option for faith-based recovery programs for court ordered treatment. Somehow, this woman found my blog online and reached out to me.
4. How have you worked to resolve issues with those who have an opposing viewpoint in the past?
The first thing I do is to listen carefully to learn where people are coming from. The next thing is respecting the person you are listening to, even if you disagree. Too often people bring their own bias to a discussion or debate. I’m guilty of this too, and I work hard to take my own inventory to find common ground with those that have a different point of view. In this campaign, I have met or have come to know most of the school board, city council, county board, and legislative candidates and elected officials.
5. What, if anything, would you change with the state’s election security process? Why?
The perception that elections in Minnesota are not secure are dangerous to our democracy. As a result, I feel allegations of voter fraud should be investigated and violators should be held accountable. Equally dangerous is when candidates lose a legit election and claim fraud in public and social media when it is not true. I have 2 friends that serve as election judges in Sherburne County, one is an Independent-Democratic type, and one is a conservative. I have also talked in depth with our county auditor. We have not experienced election security issues in Sherburne County according to these experts.
6. Do you support photo I.D. for all voters? Why?
I do not support limiting eligible voters from voting with only one form of id. Some eligible voters, like residents at Elk River Senior Living, Guardian Angels, and Pullman Place don’t have an ID or drive. Currently, they can use a passport, or bring a bill, account or start-of-service statement due or dated within 30 days of the election for: phone, TV or internet, solid waste, sewer, electric, gas or water, banking, or credit card, rent or mortgage, residential lease or rent agreement valid through Election Day. I support the current law.
7. What steps do you propose to help address Minnesota’s worker shortage?
I don’t feel there is much the state government can do about this. As a business owner, I have faced issues in finding candidates to work for me. I’ve consulted an HR professional, and he recommended: provide the perks candidates want, raise the salary/wage, embrace hybrid work, change how you measure success (KPI’s), elevate your organization culture, infuse diversity in your recruitment.
8. How will you help reduce inflation?
One thing we can’t do is provide anymore stimulus checks, like we did during Covid. The state government doesn’t have the levers of power like say the Federal Reserve does to impact inflation, but we can try to keep spending in check. We can also help retirees by eliminating the Social Security income tax in Minnesota. I oppose this tax also because it doesn’t make sense. It is like lending your car to a friend to use for a while, and when he brings back your keys, he hands you a bill for using it correctly.
9. Police reform has become center stage since the George Floyd death and has prompted calls for legislative action at all levels of government. What actions do you support at the state level?
I didn’t support and don’t support defund the police efforts. I do support holding law enforcement officials to the same professional standards of other professions when they break the law. My brother-in-law, niece and nephew are African American, and I have seen and experienced racism through them. Wherever it exists, we need to root it out. I haven’t seen or studied any current legislation that attempts to address this.
10. The state has a projected surplus for the biennium that ends June 30, 2023. What will be your approach to this, and what factors will you be watching closely?
If we keep running surpluses, it means we are overtaxed and should look for opportunities for tax cuts. Regarding the current surplus, the legislature could consider tax rebates or using the current surplus to begin to eliminate the Social Security income tax in Minnesota. Another priority for me would be to secure funding for mental health counselors for ISD 728.
11. The U.S. Supreme Court has put abortion law back in the hands of state legislatures. Do you support any specific changes to state law?
I believe we should keep abortion safe, legal, and rare in Minnesota. Fundamentally, the Pro- Choice position is in not pro-abortion. It means a woman is best able to determine if or when it makes sense. It is a private decision between her, her doctor, and her God. It is not a decision to be made by a politician or the government. Republican plans to ban it are too extreme, like Rep. Novotny’s HF2180 Bill. This bill seeks to restrict access to reproductive health care, specifically, miscarriage, contraception, and abortion care with extreme licensure requirements.
Many women need the procedure after a miscarriage. This all or nothing approach is too extreme.
12. Is the K-12 system adequately funded? If not, how would you pay for more funding?
I believe somethings are, but some are not. Like most dads, I watched in horror and sadness last summer as mass school shootings made headlines. With a 13-year-old at Salk Middle School, I decided to try to do something about it. I talked to teachers, staff, and parents in ISD 728. In ISD 728 for example, we have a student body of about 14,000 students, with 10% or about 1,400 students, experiencing some type of mental crisis. We can pray after a tragedy, or work to prevent one. I support funding to hire mental health professionals.