Positions and Issues #1
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
To the residents of Senate District 41: you need to understand my positions so you can assess my fitness to represent you in the MN State Senate. Although I would like to take the time to provide deep relevant details about every important issue we face, let’s just get the dialogue started!
Here are my perspectives on some key issues.
POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: I am a life-long Democrat, socially liberal and financially disciplined. I run my household and my business using fiscal best practices, and I would do the same with the state budget. I invest for stable growth and a better future for the greatest good; I don’t spend just to satisfy transient desires or serve a special interest. I believe more equitable and progressive tax policy on the wealthy and corporations would enable us to better fund essential long-term priorities.
As a former school board president, I believe an educated electorate is a pre-requisite for a healthy democracy. Minnesota is above the US national average in K-12 education, but the US overall has fallen seriously behind many other western countries. We are losing our competitive edge. We lack sufficient funding to do the job properly, and are not allocating our existing funds to get the results we need. Teaching is hard – we require sufficient staffing of well-trained teachers who are paid competitively. STEM education is absolutely vital, yet I also support arts education that enriches our lives and our communities. Finally, in this competitive and technologically complex world, students need post-secondary education options that work for them. This includes making college more affordable and ensuring full access to a spectrum of choices (community colleges, universities, trade schools). When done right, the payoff of public education is immense and enduring, resulting in a more capable workforce, a higher national GDP, and a healthier society.
I’m an executive in the healthcare industry. We spend more on healthcare per-capita than any other country, yet many of our health outcomes are worse! Our health system is insanely complex, resisting any meaningful change due to a vast number of entrenched stakeholders who are protecting their economic interests: insurance companies, hospitals and clinics, physicians and specialists and service providers, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and the US government. Any attempt to save a dollar means taking a dollar out of someone’s pocket – which means no-one in the system is going to go willingly. Yet change must begin now or healthcare costs will break the bank! There is no easy answer and no silver bullet. Instead, we must take many small steps that enhance competition, ensure better access, and eliminate unnecessary costs. A national public option is necessary, because it provides an affordable new choice for consumers and will force all other insurance companies to compete more aggressively. Medicare (CMS) should be allowed to negotiate drug prices. And every adult should have a healthcare directive in place, so doctors can understand our wishes if we’re seriously hurt.
Climate change is not a trend, it’s a crisis. The decline in many sensitive natural systems – coral reefs, honeybees, water quality, songbirds – is the canary in our coal mine. If we don’t stabilize our environment, our society may actually begin to collapse as we fight for scarce resources. Bringing jobs to MN is important, but not if they undermine the health of our environment: instead of adding open-pit mines, let’s attract new technology-oriented high-paying jobs that can leverage our educated workforce and Minnesota’s high quality of life. I strongly support environmental regulation and policies to achieve carbon neutral status by 2050.
ECONOMY AND JOBS:
As a business owner, I know the importance of good local jobs, living wages, and reliable infrastructure that supports both industry and our quality of life. I have brought high paying jobs to MN for years. Capitalism has been a truly successful system, but it is susceptible to abuse that is leaving wide swaths of the population behind. Capitalism has worked best when strong regulations ensured a level playing field, both domestically and globally. Special interests and an outsized focus on profit above all else are distorting the American dream where hard work and initiative can provide a good life. We have to counter-balance these subversive influences and make our economy work for everyone.
INCLUSION AND REPRESENTATION:
As a community member, business leader, and parent, I deeply value inclusion, equality, and respect for every person. This includes rational immigration policy that supports our economic growth and honors our history of helping those in crisis who are fighting for their lives. This includes equitable pay for equitable work and the unalienable right for a woman to make her own choices. I’m adamant that we have open, accessible and secure elections, and believe adults should automatically be registered to vote. I would support making election day a national holiday. And something very important: we must unwind the outrageous gerrymandering that increases the incentive for extreme partisan politics.
More: See my second issues post here for my positions on rational gun regulations, election security and voter access, climate change and clean energy, affordable housing, cannabis legalization, and more.
Thanks for reading, and please let me know your thoughts.
· Email RossMeisnerForMnSenate@gmail.com
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