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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Community Members Seek to Serve

This month, we continue our introduction to community members who are running for political office. As we face unprecedented times, it is imperative that we educate ourselves about the people we are asking to serve as our representatives.

Meet now two local candidates running in the general election. Each candidate was interviewed by our publisher, Candi Broeffle. The profiles in this article are extrapolated from the interviews and have been edited for print.

Courtesy of Kristin Bahner for State Representative

Kristin Bahner, Candidate, Minnesota State House of Representatives

Bahner is running for re-election as the DFL-endorsed candidate for state representative in District 34B, which includes the cities of Maple Grove and Osseo. In addition to serving as the current representative, she is also an IT consultant.

Affordable Health Care

It’s unfortunate that our healthcare system is not designed to always give the best possible care. For example, when we discuss preventative care, we talk about what we will and will not pay for, in terms of saving pennies. But it’s penny wise and a pound foolish. Preventative care can not only save money, but complications down the road.

We need to take a hard look at how we reform the system to do a better job. I think the government can play a role in making sure that our policies work for real people. One of the bills I presented, and that was passed, was to remove the gag rule that prevented pharmacists from telling a patient they could get their prescription cheaper by buying it off-the-shelf than it would be with their co-pay.

This savings can really add up. For seniors or working families who are on a tight budget, who might pay $12 for an over-the-counter medication versus a $20 co-pay, that’s a savings of $8. If this is a monthly medication, the savings is $96 a year. If the person has multiple prescriptions, that can be a huge savings.

There are also great alternative methods that can be useful and have shown themselves to be quite effective. As an example, using acupuncture in lieu of prescription drugs for people managing pain. I think there are practical ways to look at this, and I see opportunities for us to not only save money but give better outcomes for patients. I would like to see us take a more critical look at where we can adjust to give better holistic health care.

Education

Funding education is a real issue. For 15 years we have not done a good job of making sure we were adequately funding what is necessary for our teachers and school; everything from buildings and books, to retaining good teachers, to taking care of our students who are in special education and early childhood education.

Something I feel passionately about is my work on the Early Childhood Committee. As part of my work, I sponsored programs like home visiting that helps kids get off to a good start. We know that brain development in those early years is off the charts. There are millions and millions of little synapses developing in their brains, particularly from 0 to 5 years of age. Wouldn't it be incredible if we could close the opportunity gap before there was a gap?

I think funding public education is critical. Making sure we have informed and educated citizens is important. A good public education system is fundamental to our democracy.

To listen to the full, unedited interview, visit NATwinCities.com or “Green Tea Conversations” radio show on AM950Radio.com. For more information, visit BahnerForHouse.com.

 

Courtesy of Dori Tossen for State Representative

Dori Trossen, Candidate, Minnesota State House of Representatives

Trossen is the GOP-endorsed candidate for state representative in District 34B, which includes the cities of Maple Grove and Osseo. She is a small business owner and a former licensed in-home childcare provider.

Decision to Run for Office

I care about children and am passionate about making sure everyone has access to affordable childcare. When I was working outside the home and had my son in childcare, we were paying nearly $300 a week, which is basically nothing compared to today’s prices.

It just was not feasible for our family to afford childcare at that price. So, I decided to stay home with my son and become a daycare provider myself. I saw firsthand the regulations that came along with it and how difficult it was to run a business and stay within the parameters which we were given.

I feel it is important to look at the regulations and decide which ones make sense and which ones don’t. It is important that we ensure regulations are achievable and reasonable and, of course, that our children are safe. I believe if we can find a more commonsense approach to regulations in licensing, we could attract more childcare providers to the field. More providers mean more competition and, ultimately, lower prices for families.

In addition, if elected as the representative of District 34B, I am the representative for all the people of 34B. It is my goal to poll my community about what is important to them. Having grown up in this district and now raising my own family here, I know this community, and I know that I can represent it well in the Legislature. I also plan to always keep open lines of communication with constituents so that I can keep learning and growing as a Representative.

Health Care

Health care is a big concern for the people of Minnesota and across the United States. The cost of health care has dramatically increased. We need to find the most fiscally responsible option, while still allowing people to have the freedom to the provides they would like to work with.  

Education

I had the opportunity to work with many children over the years, and it is fun to watch them learn. They all learn very differently, but they are each a genius, depending on how they learn.

When children are given the tools they need, they thrive. It is important to me that we take the time to care for children that are struggling, find the reasons why, and help them receive the tools they need to have the greatest chance of success.  

For more information, visit VoteForDori.com.

Read the full September 2020 Magazine