Explanatory letter

 An area newspaper asked for a 300 word explanation of my motives for running for office and qualifications. I include it here:

The top reason I entered this year’s race for Minnesota House of Representatives (1-B) is concern that, due to a long series legislative cuts, nursing homes in our corner of the state are going to close. Two have closed already, others are on the brink. 


The problem? Nursing homes are not reimbursed enough by the state to pay competitive wages. The good people who care for our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles cannot afford to take 30-50% less pay than they can earn other nearby jobs. 


My 103-year-old Great Aunt Olive resides at Fair Meadow nursing home in Fertile. Her biggest fear is that she will “get shipped off somewhere.” 


The sad fact is, two area nursing homes have already “shipped off” their residents and more will follow unless something is done. 


Our elders should be able to age and be cared for in their community. 


I have lived in Fertile, MN all of my life. Since, childhood, I have worked in the nursery and greenhouse my grandfather started in 1937, owning and managing the business for the past 17 years. 


For five years, I served as chair of the board of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. During that time, I became familiar with what works and what could use some improvement in our region. 


One thing I have learned: The rest of the state barely knows we exist. 


We need strong and effective representation in St. Paul or our interests, including funding for our roads, schools and nursing homes, will be ignored by people who think of Brainerd as “north.” 


I hope to provide such strong representation, and would appreciate your support.