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My life and family has been my greatest concern in my 59 years. I have spent many winters writing  letters, sending emails to our elected officials including President Obama, hoping to make an impact on pieces of legislation. I have learned and understand more of all  the important and pressing issues we face and I'm ready to forge new trails of fair and reasonable resolve, for you, for us. I have been a part of Local 49 team work over 25 years so navigating unpredicable, complicated matters is a daily occurence. I never say "I CAN'T". No excuses!   As your representative I will put my feelings and emotions aside. It might be a lesson the Capitol needs to live by as well. Long term solutions are a bigger responsibility than any of us, will ever be. I expect elected officials, take off  their fancy pants and replace them with working ,big boy/girl pants . Things may need to get real dirty - if priorities and timelines are not met! My most important priority and agenda in every regard, our taxpayers will no longer be trampled over and we assist those in genuine need for a short period of time, not a lifetime!



Apr 25, 2016  After much discussion and thought, I believe it would be in the best interests of all 6A to ask for immediate exemption from all standardized testing and it's costs. Instead a basics curriculum, including Math, Reading and Science while implementing critical thinking and team building outcomes for all questions and problems possible in daily living. Problem solvers challenged to solve curriculum questions and applying steps and resources, finding those answers from different perspectives within the team. Add input on comments page and thanks for your time and concerns, Steven


I'm a little disappointed when the MDE (Minnesota Department of Education) questions are forced down the throats of our school districts, why students aren't performing, at levels they might expect. The results of standardized tests, only gives you snapshot statistics, how different schools compare to each other.  Why isn't this FACT  clear to you, our state educators? It’s a well known fact - Students of every color don't feel a sense of urgency to learn. Some home environments don't enforce-- much less encourage-- the need to learn. We have far too many parents and citizens,  living off government programs, so why would anyone, especially those students, feel any urgency to  learn and be productive, contributing citizen? If we could spend less money on people “in the system” and more money on developing critical thinkers, people could think for themselves and become better, responsibile, contributing citizens.   


Wouldn’t it be great if classrooms encouraged more thinking and less listening.  Wouldn’t it be great to look around a classroom and see the wheels of every student spinning, thirsting to critically think and find the best possible answer for any question? Now - you have problem solvers that think outside the box in this technological world. Every facet in our society needs problem solvers--students with no fear, that will step out from the mundane expectations of school curriculum today. Simply searching Google for the Capitol of Alabama, doesn’t inspire students to think. It simply provides an answer or an opinion, without much thinking at all!


Critical thinking in education is centered in my cross hairs for reducing wasteful spending. Throw out mandated standardized tests that cannot possibly measure all the abilities, all students have or want to have. If this state can’t throw out all the testing, at the very least - find a way to make any test and be of significant personal value to our students.  Make it mean something!


Who asks the most questions in our society, in our lives? “2,3,4,5 year olds, right?” They’re curious little sponges and so excited to know, learn everything around them, right? Why do we send them to school and obliterate such a crucial, survival curiousity? I remember the spirit of curiosity being drained, even as far back as my school days with topics someone thought we should know. There were times, I was so bored by the endless, subject matter preaching, I would have done about anything and be somewhere more challenging!    I’ve talked with students out in public from different areas. The most important questions they ask in classrooms these days, by an overwhelming majority is: What’s on the test? So, teachers, administrators, school boards, having the only expectation of remembering - what will be on a TEST because the State requires it!!!   What the hell, is that? I don’t know what side of the moon you live on, but hands down, it’s the meaningless side! We need to change that thinking today! Not a week or a month or a year from now - TODAY! Technological demands are already here, pressing on doors, for critical answers…..


Teachers! I too am a union employee. In my union, every Local 49 member contributes a percentage of our wages, for free training to apprentices and all members, to ensure we are well trained (more employable) for our employers. Our training center, our membership invests into it’s own members and takes great pride in this commitment.


I say this because I am a working, Taxpayer also. We need teachers who are committed to being the very best in their chosen field and not hiding behind a union title. Regardless of how long you’ve been a teacher, there’s always changes in our society. Creating student, problem solvers with critical thinking skills, being the most useful and productive. I’ve heard some teachers come right out and say, “oh yes, I implement critical thinking in my classroom all the time”!  But when I’ve asked several students, in those classes, with a shrug and a blank look at each other, they say  - what’s that exactly? Sell it somewhere else, my friends. This should not become the taxpayers financial responsibility to train teachers . Your union should develop it's own teacher development training, available to every teacher, so there is NO doubt that all students of 6A, particularly, are getting the most out of education, for the changing times ahead. We should all thrive to be the examples of skilled, trained  labor force. Right to work legislation might take a turn. We’re all in this together! Don’t act after it’s too late. Be proactive! Negotitate fair contracts for us and all our hard-working taxpayers - as well.  All citizens need to accept responsibility and help cut wasteful spending. Sacrifices may be needed! Solidarity, my friends, Steven



I need to do more research on this issue. I've heard of a few families who are fraudulently manipulating housing in our State. They are coming from Illinois and other states because Minnesota is near the top of the list for providing easy paths to housing and government benefits.  Decisions are long overdue in stopping these acts and the well know misconceptions of such abuses.



The U.S. pays more for healthcare than any other country. Why do you think that is? We could place blame on those drug companies unregulated, inflated prices and we'd be partially correct. We could say medical device companies inflate prices, while charging much less for the same products in other countries and we'd be correct. Our government does not allow Medicaid to negotiate prices to lower our healthcare costs, also correct! Our physicians and specialists are paid more than other worldwide physicians. We could also prove beyond any doubt, our hospitals, clinics, training hospitals and healthcare facilities do not conveniently disclose procedural costs so we could be better healthcare shoppers, when we need care. The second biggest  cost of healthcare is administrative and collection costs. Now before you rest easy and point fingers at everyone else for rising healthcare costs - look at our single most, largest healthcare cost, "We the People". 

Who among us, eats balanced meals, exercises, rests and manages stress levels? What about bad habits like, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse or addictions? Is anyone overweight? What about mental illnesses or pre-existing conditions? How about insured citizens who blatantly abuse care and demand a specialist for a band aid application? How about citizens who demand an MRI when an X ray would show the needed results to their conditions? We are our own worst enemy but citizens are often times too selfish,  to care about anything else or who pays for their care and costs. How about physicians who order test after test, so malpractice might be avoided? Start treating patients and stop enabling their whims. As concerned taxpayers, if any of us wants more extensive care and testing than the normal expected procedure or that paid by insurance, the additional costs will be paid by the patient, not the taxpayers. 

Whether you have insurance or not, let's minimize our costs and risks. In one way or another, we will all pay for the outrageous healthcare costs that we allow. Question every item on your medical bill and it's costs. I have a pre-existing diabetic condition and I had open heart surgery  in 2008, which cost insurance almost $80,000 in the end. The first bill received was $151,000. I was so upset, I demanded an itemized bill and went over every single procedure, consult, pill and insulin shot administered. The bill was finally reduced with an insurance adjustment of $71,000. They tried to charge $60 for a shot of insulin. They tried to charge $500 for a physical therapist to walk me 150 feet down the hall - my first walk after surgery. I have never felt more violated by their license to try stealing from all of us.  As your representative and with your supporting vote, wasteful spending is in my cross hairs for immediate change, benefitting all citizens! Two party candidates will be negotiating your healthcare costs, with drug company and healthcare lobbyists - for their personal benefit. Those wasted tax dollars come from us, the working and retired taxpayers and I'm tired of the abuse. Steven    


I'm a strong advocate for clean environment issues. I believe change needs to happen for timelines on all projects intended for MN job development. As a union equipment operator, I see first hand how clueless environmental agencies are, on many road/bridge construction projects. One agency wants one thing, but in order for the contractor to proceed another agency might have erosion controls that conflict with silt fencing and NO ONE can decide, how to make changes to fit time schedules and it ends up costing thousands more than it should, to the taxpayers.  


I think racial issues are personal and many times unfounded or proposterous. Would you think Black Lives Matter is racial statement? If your honest - it is! EVERY LIFE MATTERS, my friends. What do you think MLK and JFK would say about how we've grown in our society? If you're like me, I am so ashamed. We've got to change! Each of us must accept personal responsibility for our actions, how we talk about others, how we treat each other. Being Kind and Courteous should not have to be enforced by laws! Be the bigger man or woman! The only thing that divides us is XX and XY chromosomes connected by genetics. I'm sorry to disappoint anyone, That's by a greater design than any of us.Take your place among us! 


I'm pushing for a Electric Arc Furnace Steelmaking facility, a willing automaking facility, and small businesses. Tax incentives and tax reduction for all our vital business partners.  I'd want a business unemployment tax rate reduction statewide. Employers if they lay off seasonal workers but hire them back early, after the employee anniversary date has passed the next year, they would receive the remaining balance for that particular employee. We need to keep good employers and help them.

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