Why are you running for state representative?
I was disappointed by the negativity of the 2016 election and our political leaders’ inability to work together. I have seen so many friends and family members facing unaffordable healthcare. With at least five friends crowdfunding necessary medical treatment this past year I knew I had to do something. The burden of unaffordable healthcare is a problem that I can help solve. I have built my career on helping families find common ground solutions to the challenges they face. I am committed to building a campaign around the issues most important to people in our community and being their voice at the Capitol.
From your perspective, what is the role of a state representative?
It is the role of a State Representative to listen to the concerns of their constituents and work to pass legislation to resolve those challenges. A State Representative must be accessible to her community and find ways to collaborate with the people their legislation impacts. This is why I held common ground meetups this past winter across the district in Redwood Falls, New Ulm, Springfield, Sleepy Eye, Wabasso, Morton, Franklin, Morgan and Hanska. A state representative is also a leader, problem solver, and public servant.
Do you think the current buffer rule is the best solution for water quality. If so, why? If not, how would you resolve it?
No, the buffer rule my opponent authored is not the best solution because its not going to aid in clean-up of impaired waterways and it’s not going to prevent future contamination. This rule focuses on filtering phosphorous and nitrogen on farm land when there are also other pollutants in the water from urban and industrial sources. There should be compensation for the farm land that has been taken out of production due to the buffer. Then efforts should be made to educate farmers, industries, and community members about what we can all do to improve water quality with incentives for doing so.
How would you solve the transportation funding issues facing the state of Minnesota?
Transportation funding has not kept up with the growing need. This has been a safety concern for decades, as with Hwy 14. I would re-evaluate the rules my opponent authored that led to Corridors of Commerce funding being focused within 40 miles of the metro. Lack of adequate funding is resulting in economic disadvantages for already struggling rural communities. Farmers, who are already disadvantaged by low commodity prices, are hauling goods on longer routes out of the way because bridges have weight restrictions. Hwy 14 is unplanned and unfunded and my vision is to create carefully considered plan for the completion of Hwy 14 as well as the funds to secure this and other necessary transportation projects for our region.
Do you believe the state’s economy is heading in the right direction? Why or why not?
The state’s economy is at risk of decline based on family farmers being squeezed out of business, increased vacant storefronts in many communities, lack of affordable housing, childcare waitlists lasting one year (longer than a pregnancy), and the need for broadband internet in many rural areas. Additionally debts from rising healthcare costs and higher education are a burden on economic growth.
Other than the above issues what do you think is the most significant issue facing the constituency you would represent, and how would you best represent them?
The rising cost of healthcare is the number one issue I hear from my community. As a mental health professional I see the cost when clients are unable to afford insurance premiums and prescription medication. Farmers and other working people without a group plan are paying tens of thousands of dollars for insurance premiums with high deductibles. My plan is a Minnesota Care buy in, immediately for all who chose, to address the rising cost of healthcare. This comes at no added cost to taxpayers. Then we need to look closer at the reimbursement rates to ensure providers are paid adequately. I ultimately support working toward a universal single payer healthcare plan that would provide all Minnesotans with quality and affordable healthcare.
My name is Mindy Kimmel. I was born and raised in New Ulm, MN. I am the 6th generation in my family to live in Brown County. My mother is a retired special education teacher and my father is a bluegrass musician. I graduated from the New Ulm High School in 2003. I have a Bachelors Degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a Masters Degree in counseling from the University of Wisconsin Superior. I have been working in mental healthcare for eight years. I provide counseling for children, teens, adults, families, and couples. My work focuses on listening to the needs of my clients and helping them find common ground solutions to the challenges they face. I want to use my skills and expertise to represent you at the Capitol.