After graduating from Prior Lake High School, I attended the University of Colorado and earned my degree in Economics. While there I had the opportunity to play football, where I experienced what it was like to be part of a high-performing team as we earned berths to two post-season bowl games. I saw examples of leadership that I carry with me today and learned lessons that I continue to use when facing professional and personal challenges.
I’ve worked in Banking and Finance for over 30 years, leading teams in risk management and fraud prevention. Working in a highly regulated industry has shown me that prescriptive rules usually come with unintended consequences. The role of government should be to assure fair competition has a chance to flourish, not to tell companies how to run their business.
In the Senate, I am seen as someone who can work across the aisle and get bills signed into law in a divided government. I led the effort to provide disaster relief to communities ravaged by floods in 2014, and an early response to restripe Hwy 169 during the 2019 floods. In 2017 I passed Real ID, which allows Minnesota driver's licenses to be used to board airplanes and enter federal buildings. My years in banking allowed me to assemble advocates across the political spectrum and pass nation-leading consumer protections for PACE home improvement financing. Accountable government is important, which is why I led a bipartisan effort to restructure the Met Council in an effort to hold them more responsive to the needs of cities, counties and citizens in the metro area. I also led the charge on paying off Minnesota’s unemployment insurance debt, making sure that our small businesses and their employees were not financially punished for being forced to close by the Governor’s orders.
I have been recognized for my bipartisan efforts to make public education more accountable and a willingness to take on tough issues, such as special education and licensing reform. Elected to four terms on the on the Prior Lake-Savage School Board, I served several terms as Chairman and as Treasurer. When I joined the School Board we faced a $1 million deficit and were borrowing $3 million to cover expenses. The other Board members and I paid-off the debt, lowered property taxes, and saw test scores rise. These accomplishments were recognized when Prior Lake was first named as one of the nation's top high schools by Newsweek. The I initiated meetings to bring the school district and mayors of Prior Lake and Savage together in order to improve communication and cooperation. These discussions led to several joint-use agreements that allowed the schools and cities to share equipment; saving taxpayers money.