I believe the people of District 42B deserve a strong advocate for the issues that are important to our community. If elected, I will serve with the strength, conviction and dedication that is required to represent our district as tough decisions are made about the future of our great state. Please contact me at Jamie@Becker-Finn.org if you would like to discuss an issue that is important to you.
- Increase access to culturally-sensitive resources for all Minnesotans who are victims of domestic violence.
- Improve collaboration and data sharing between state court, tribal courts, and law enforcement agencies in order to work more effectively.
- Strengthen enforcement of current domestic violence laws, including limiting perpetrators’ abilities to obtain and possess firearms.
Conservation and Environment
Earlier this year, Governor Dayton held a Water Summit to address the challenges facing Minnesota’s water. The topics covered were comprehensive, including keeping lakes and rivers clean, maintaining wastewater infrastructure and dealing with invasive species and extreme weather.
As Minnesotans, water is integral to our way of life, affecting our health and also our economy. Protecting water should be the primary focus of our environmental policy. I believe that access to clean, safe water is a right, and we need to do all we can to protect our lakes and rivers for future generations.
I had the privilege of growing up in northern Minnesota, and my most cherished memories are of playing outside with my cousins and being on the lake with my family. The beautiful natural spaces in northern Minnesota, and the Boundary Waters in particular, are worth protecting.
My ancestors harvested manoomin (wild rice) in northern Minnesota and “ricing” remains an important part of my family and our culture today. There are few places I’d rather be than standing in a canoe on a hot August day with my dad.
We must also invest in access to safe, clean water for all Minnesotans. As we’ve seen with the ongoing issues related to the water level of White Bear Lake, there will be no quick fixes. In the land of 10,000 lakes, we have taken our water for granted for too long. There is nothing quite like the joy and pride of a child catching their first fish. I will work hard to make sure that joy remains a possibility for future generations.
In addition to water issues, other areas of conservation and environmental policy are important to me. I have been a deer hunter and angler my entire life and I am proud to have earned endorsement from Conservation Minnesota Voter Center. Please visit Conservation Minnesota’s website to learn more about their work: http://www.cmvotercenter.org.
My husband Gabe has worked in the mental health field for the last ten years. He began his career providing direct care in a residential program and is now the Clinical Director of a mental health treatment facility in Saint Paul. Over the years, we have talked a lot about our mental health system, the gaps in care, and the success stories that rarely make front page news.
An estimated 338,000 Minnesotans receive mental health treatment or counseling services in a given year, which is under half of those believed to be affected by a mental illness. (SAMHSA) While our current mental health system helps many people, this statistic shows that there are many more people who are not being treated. Some of the dangers of untreated mental illness can include loss of relationships, loss of employment, loss of housing, and death. Additionally, individuals who have been diagnosed with a serious mental health condition live 10 to 25 years less than the average person, even among those who have received support from the mental health system. (WHO)
I have always looked up to our legislative leaders who have made mental health a priority, including Senator Wellstone, Senator Franken, State Senator John Marty and State Representative Mindy Greiling. Improvements have been made along the way but there is much that still needs to be done on a legislative level to improve our mental health system for everyone. If I am elected to serve District 42B, I will work hard to pursue legislative initiatives such as:
- Increase ability of all people to access the full range of mental health services available.
- Provide incentives to increase the numbers of mental health care professionals and psychiatrists in Minnesota.
- Increase availability of mental health services in our schools.
- Expand safe, affordable housing options for those with a mental illness.
- Work to address the increasing suicide rate in our state.
Our Kids Deserve a Strong Start
Nothing is more important to our future than our children and their education. I believe that every child deserves a quality education offered in a safe, nurturing environment where the educators have the freedom and tools to inspire a lifetime desire to learn. This begins with making sure families have access to affordable, quality childcare, preschool and pre-K programs. The lifelong benefits of early health screenings and educational programs should be available to every family.
The quality of the educational opportunities that are available to our children in public schools should not be dependent on the location of the school, the economic status of the families served, or the racial makeup of the community. The promise of the 1971 Minnesota Miracle has been eroded as our state has fought budget crisis after budget crisis. Too much of the cost of public education is placed on the value of the properties within a school district. We have come full circle: those districts where there is more wealth are able to provide better educational opportunities for students enrolled there than our property poor districts. This is not in line with Minnesota’s Constitutional mandate to “establish a general and uniform system of public schools throughout the state.”
Education is closely intertwined with economic success and health. If a child comes to school tired and hungry, or has lingering medical or dental issues, or comes to school physically or emotionally scarred by neglect or violence, our schools and educators cannot be expected to work miracles alone. Every child should receive essential mental health care and providing these services in our schools will benefit everyone in our community.
I will work for:
- Increased funding for all day pre-k programming.
- Additional funding for training, infrastructure and resources to ensure a safe learning environment for both educators and children.
- Making post-secondary education at public institutions affordable for all without burdening students with a lifetime of student-loan debt.
- Adequate funding to address the mental health needs of all students, including providing support services at schools.
- Fair pay for educators, as well as daycare workers, who provide tremendous value to our state.