As many of you know, the 2024 legislative session will be my last. I’m choosing to retire to enjoy more time with friends and family. As I look back on nearly 12 years of service as your state representative, I wanted to share some insights, positive aspects, and what I am most proud of accomplishing.



When I first began to serve in the legislature, I felt part of the whole legislature. We all had different perspectives and ideas and spent time debating them. Over the years it has developed into each legislator being part of a caucus where winning at all cost is the objective, a winner take all mentality.  This has led to stepping on the rights of the minority to effectively debate and voice the differing views that their constituents may have.  


During my retirement speech on the house floor, I commented on the historic events of the last night of the session in which the Democratic party that has self-proclaimed itself as the champions of the oppressed actually became the oppressor.  Let me put that into perspective, the majority sets all the rules we govern with, they also set up the committees and chairs (who have total control of what bills get heard and passed) and the speaker has total control of what bills get brought forward to the House floor and when.  The minority has to live within those rules and abide by them.  


The majority also knows which bills will be controversial to the minority and expects the minority to exercise every option they have to stop or change the bill. Remember the majority already has the votes to pass it. But when the majority underestimates the time to get bills passed, we end up with the fiasco that ensued that final night. During the last three hours of session, nine bills that were in conference committee or had passed out of conference committee were combined into one conference committee bill. Even though this bill had not been engrossed (updated in the official system) and was not available for review in either paper or electronic form, it was introduced by the speaker with only 30 min left in the session.  The speaker refused to accept any motions, resolutions or debate on it. But because they had the majority, they passed it.  


Earlier that week I had shared with the body that rules are important for all to know and follow to keep everyone’s rights whole. I also shared that it is not difficult to follow the rules when it is easy, but that the true character of anyone or group is determined by how they follow the rules when it is hard or difficult to do so. I think it is especially true when that group is the one who sets those rules.  People have asked me how can we change this process, all I can say is that until the voting constituents are no longer willing to accept this type of behavior and demand that all voices by heard, including those they don’t agree with, the process won’t change.  That is true whether Republican or Democrat.  


Another change I have seen is the legislature taking more and more autonomy away from the individual and allowing the State to make decisions for the individual.  Originally our state and country were based upon the idea that the government was to be ruled by the people, now we are seeing the State ruling over the people.  Over the recent years, almost all of our rules, regulations, laws and mandates are being implemented top down, taking away the options for the individual to solve their own problems in a way that is best for themselves.  We are not all the same, so when we believe that one size fits all will work for all of us, it will eventually fail and it also steps on the rights and liberties we all are entitled to.



I worked on numerous local bills. Those of which I’m most proud include the completion of Highway 14 as a four-lane highway between Rochester and New Ulm; creating the Corridors of Commerce funding program for state roadway funding; Identity theft protections for minor children; hands free driving statute; a 6th grade Memorial Plaque memorializing the 6 construction workers that died during the building of the State Capitol after a petition was presented to me asking for the memorial by Owatonna 6th graders;  Learn to Earn program funding to incorporate education opportunities between the new Owatonna High School and Riverland College; Ag to School property tax refund program for school building referendums; and securing funding for many local projects, including FarmAmerica, the Waseca Veterans Memorial, Owatonna/Medford wastewater expansion and Steele County Free Fair electrical service improvements.


I was also proud to serve numerous committees, including transportation, where I was Vice Chair and Republican Lead.



There are many aspects of my political career that are positive.  First are the people, many I count as friends, including members of the other party.  The varied levels of knowledge and skills that each has shared with me was very educational and thought provoking.  I also enjoyed getting to know so many of my constituents, hearing their stories and concerns, to be of service to them and our community.  Being able to see some of my bills come into reality and seeing how they helped people.  I have always enjoyed challenges and figuring out how to solve them, so working on problems at the State level was very rewarding for me.


It has truly been my honor to serve as your state representative for the past 12 years. Thank you for giving me this privilege. 


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