Age: Early 40s
Education: MBA, Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, and Computer Networking Degree
1. Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.
It continues to be my humble honor serving our great community as State Representative for the last six years. My wife and I have been married for nearly 23 years and have lived in Dayton for over 20 years. My professional background includes a cyber security professional for over 15 years, a licensed real estate agent and licensed general contractor, a small business owner, former college instructor, former truck driver, and an ordained minister formally teaching the Bible for over 15 years. My academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Forensics with Minors in Mathematics and Psychology, and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
2. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?
Successfully passed into law as chief-author or co-author legislation that expanded pro-life protections, advanced our 2nd Amendment rights, increased funding for roads and bridges transportation, cut taxes for hardworking families and businesses, and worked toward correcting the current K-12 education funding inequity.
3. Top priority: If elected, what is your top priority for the 2021 Legislature? Why are you running for office?
Ending Gov. Walz’s abuse of emergency powers by returning to the Constitution, fully and safely re-opening Minnesota for business, and resolving the expected multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall without raising taxes on the backs of hardworking Minnesotans.
4. COVID-19: How do you grade the state government’s response to the pandemic? Are additional measures necessary? If so, what?
I have received overwhelming feedback from across our community of frustration with Gov. Walz’s unilateral decision making including his arbitrary and inconsistent executive orders. Minnesotans expect logic and science to guide decisions, but Gov. Walz has yet to show any science behind his decision to hold open the doors of Planned Parenthood and liquor stores deeming them essential while forcing the doors of churches closed. Moreover, Gov. Walz permitted big-box stores to remain open while forcing closed our local businesses selling many of the same products. Gov. Walz even authorized 200 people to be indoors at a Minnesota candy store – approximately the size of a football field – while at the same time preventing high school graduates from safely using ACTUAL outdoor football fields to safely participate in their once-in-a-lifetime graduation ceremonies. The response to COVID can and should be targeted regional decision making vs. Gov. Walz’s one-size-fits-all approach. Minnesota can and should fully open safely just as our bordering states have successfully done.
5. Gridlock: What specific measures do you support to reduce the increasing partisanship of the lawmaking process and resulting gridlock? Do you support reforms that would prohibit consolidating multiple subjects into a single omnibus bill?
During my six years in office, I have witnessed the continued consolidation of decisions and legislation toward a handful of decision makers at the top which is terrible for our state. Both parties are guilty of using omnibus bills to reduce transparency and accountability which is one of the reasons I am among those who consistently vote against omnibus bills. The great citizens of Minnesota expect and deserve better and I am proud to be among the bipartisan co-authors of legislation which would bring an end to the abusive practice of omnibus bills.
6. Budget: The Legislature will be tasked with adopting a two-year budget in 2021 with a looming shortfall due to the financial impact of COVID-19. What will be your approach to balancing the budget in terms of reducing spending and/or raising taxes and fees? Be as specific as possible.
The Minnesota Management and Budget Office projects a multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall required to be resolved next year per the Minnesota Constitution. Thousands-upon-thousands of businesses have been forced closed (many permanently) with many more thousands of hardworking Minnesotans having lost their jobs. Consequently, raising taxes is NOT an option during this time of economic hardship and uncertainty. Families and businesses across our great community and state are hurting that we cannot expect to resolve the budget deficit by raising taxes on their backs. Instead, the solution is government spending must be cut. Among the first places to begin cutting is the hundreds-of-millions of dollars that continue to be lost to confirmed waste, fraud, and abuse within the Department of Human Services (DHS) recently uncovered by the non-partisan Legislative Auditor.
7. Education, K-12: COVID-19 resulted in dramatic changes to the delivery of education. What weaknesses in the system were highlighted by distance learning? Did we identify any best practices that should be incorporated in the post-pandemic era?
We elect people from our community to our local School Boards because we trust them the most to make the best decisions for our children. The single most glaring weakness is the top-down approach mandated by Gov. Walz and the MN Department of Education. We need to roll back unilaterally-enacted government mandates and empower our local School Board Members by returning actual meaning to the word “independent” in each of our “independent school districts” across the state.
8. Education, higher education: Prior to the pandemic, many employers were challenged to find qualified workers. Now we’re faced with unemployment as many businesses are downsizing or closing. Is our higher ed system equipped to pivot and train workers for the changing business landscape?
Jobs that remain highest in demand are careers in the trades. As a graduate of a technical college myself, as one who taught several years at a technical college, and as one who presently sits on the Higher Education Committee, I can speak with absolutely confidence our great 2-year technical and trade colleges are well equipped to continue teaching the necessary skills that lead to high-demand, very rewarding, and satisfying technical trade careers of the future.
9. Health care: Affordable health care remains a concern for many Minnesotans. Do you support the expansion of government-run health insurance plans? If not, what options do you support to stabilize health insurance premiums?
Back in 2016, former Gov. Dayton declared, “the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable.” When Gov. Dayton made that admission, he was only partially correct because failed Obamacare was NEVER affordable. The truth is, as government expands quality decreases while healthcare costs skyrocket. This was the exact result with MNsure, the Minnesota implementation of Obamacare. Obamacare / MNsure left a trail of broken promises, including false claims Obamacare “would save the average family up to $2,500 a year in premiums,” “if you liked your health care plan you could keep your health care plan,” “if you liked your doctor you could keep your doctor,” etc. Government-run healthcare is the direct cause of hardship and financial ruin of hardworking families and businesses across our state and country. Instead, I support free-market healthcare solutions with price transparency which will immediately and significantly reduce healthcare costs and increase quality.
10. Workplace regulations: Mandated paid family and medical leave for all Minnesota employers were debated in 2020. It passed the House but failed in the Senate. Do you support such a mandate? Why or why not?
In 2020, Democrats forced paid family leave mandates through the House that would have raised taxes by $2 billion and increased payroll taxes on EVERY employee and employer in Minnesota, established a new government mega-agency consisting of over 300 new government employees, and required a new government software and hardware technology system be built. Moreover, the Democrat mandates would also have required the definition of family member to include unrelated friends that happen to be renting an apartment together and would have mandated employers give employees paid time off to get an abortion. Thankfully, Senate Republicans killed the terrible bill. The failed MNsure website, the failed MNLARS vehicle and driver license system, and others are only a handful of examples of Minnesota’s history of failed government IT projects that squandered hundreds-of-millions of hardworking taxpayer dollars. For these and many more reasons I DO NOT support this terrible idea.
11. Transportation: What is your preference for raising additional money for roads and bridges? Or is current funding sufficient?
We DO NOT need to raise taxes but instead need to redirect existing money that continues to be siphoned away from roads & bridges transportation back allowing for a priority focus on reducing traffic congestion, enhancing motorist safety, creating a smoother ride, and increasing economic development.
12. Energy: Should Minnesota increase its renewable energy mandates on utilities? Or are market forces sufficient to promote sustainability?
Energy costs continue to rise as more government mandates are added making ALL products and services more expensive for Minnesotans. Instead, free-market decisions result in the most cost effective and efficient innovation to occur while promoting a clean, sustainable future for everyone.
13. Police reform: Police reform has become center stage in the aftermath of the George Floyd death and prompted passage of legislation during the special session. Did the laws go far enough or too far? Should the Legislature take additional measures?
I am a strong supporter of the professional men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives each and every day to protect ours. As a member of both the House Public Safety Committee and House Judiciary Committee, I have been on the front lines fighting for our law enforcement professionals against the avalanche of lies and unjustified attacks. I’ve been standing up for truth in both committees and on the House Floor making the arguments and voting against those who seek to tear down and disparage law enforcement professionals. I have also been fighting hard against those who seek to disarm, defund, dismantle, and disband police officers.
14. What, if any, local initiatives or legislation do you have in mind if you are elected?
I will continue to fight for equity in education funding to help our local schools and tax cuts to help our local individuals, families, and businesses.