Minnesota House 16B candidates: Mindy Kimmel
Why are you running for state representative?
I am running for MN State House because our community needs a strong leader. Our current representative has continued to vote against the best interests of our community by voting against the 2020 bonding bill which provides funding for the Redwood veterans cemetery, German Park in New Ulm, flood mitigation, water infrastructure and agriculture support. I am committed to working with community members so they can not only survive, but thrive!
From your perspective, what is the role of a state representative?
The role of a state representative is to pass legislation that benefits their community and the state including passing timely budget and bonding bills. Prior to the pandemic I had common ground meet-ups in many communities in the district including New Ulm, Hanska, Sleepy Eye, Springfield, Morgan, Redwood Falls, Morton, Franklin and Wabasso. Focusing my campaign on listening to community members gives me an advantage because I do not owe any political favors. I will continue to lead based on the needs of the community, not outside interests or partisanship.
What will be your approach to balancing the next two-year state budget in terms of reducing spending and/or raising taxes and fees?
Balancing the budget will be difficult with the current political climate. I am committed to the careful consideration of all options including reducing spending and raising revenues. During a pandemic we should not raise taxes on middle and lower income individuals/families who are struggling to make ends meet. We must be careful with tax dollars so that people can get back to work, fill empty store fronts, supplying protective equipment necessary for a variety of settings (health care facilities, schools, nursing homes, etc.) and supporting businesses hurt by the pandemic. Cutting those places will hurt the recovery.
How would you work to collaborate with local units of government?
Communication is essential in government leadership. Based on ongoing conversations with local leaders, I will advocate for supporting our community through bonding and spending priorities such as transportation infrastructure (roads and bridges), community parks, and necessary water infrastructure for safe drinking water and wastewater. Supporting local government includes prioritizing Local Government Aid to ensure rural communities have the funding they need for public safety and local resources.
How as a state representative would you work to promote economic development?
Economic growth starts with supporting businesses and individuals in getting back to work. The smart approach includes ensuring rapid COVID testing is available as well as necessary protective equipment to keep workers safe. The Coronavirus pandemic highlighted many of the challenges that have been present for years. Lack of high speed broadband internet has prevented many students from distance learning and their parents from being able to work from home. Tying health insurance to employment resulted in those who were laid off losing the insurance for their families. I will work hard to ensure everyone has affordable healthcare regardless of employment status.
If you are elected, what would your top priority be for the 2021 state legislative session?
My top priority is supporting Minnesotans so that they can recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic. This includes stimulating small businesses, supporting schools with necessary funding, getting people back to work, and increasing access to affordable healthcare.
How do you grade the state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The problem with the state’s approach to the pandemic is largely wrought with polarization. I think the Department of Health could do a better job of working together and collaborating with businesses rather than sending fines or shutting them down. Businesses are already hurting and they need cooperation to stay in business. It is reprehensible that the GOP leadership is holding the Governor’s administration hostage to their partisan games. Firing administrators when they are needed most will hurt the state. During a time when we should be coming together to make safe sound decisions, our leaders have turned this into another political fight. The health and safety of Minnesotans should be a value we all hold regardless of political beliefs. As a mental health professional I see the toll the pandemic is having on families. With more listening and less partisanship we will get through this.
Other than the topics already addressed, what, from your perspective, is the biggest issue facing the State of Minnesota, and how would you work to resolve it?
Rural communities have unique needs that are not being heard at the Capitol. Passivity, and a representative who is out of touch, has meant much of the things rural communities need has been passed over. It is time for someone with a vision who can get things done. Expanding high speed internet statewide, affordable healthcare, increasing access to housing and childcare, and stimulating small businesses require hard work. I will fight for the things our community needs.
Why should people vote for you?
It is essential that political leaders stop the partisanship that has resulted in endless special sessions at tax payer expense. The MN Constitution requires single subject bills. In practice the legislature has not followed this. It is time for new bold leadership who will abide by this requirement. I also support term limits. My opponent has been in office for 12 years, which is long enough. Longevity of career politicians has led to representatives that work for outside interests rather than the people they are paid to serve. As a mental health professional I work with families and couples who face disagreements every day. My skills are uniquely suited to fostering an atmosphere of listening and working together to find common ground.
Please provide a brief bio of yourself.
I was born and raised in New Ulm and I’m the sixth generation in my family to live in Brown County. After graduating from the New Ulm High School in 2003 I moved to Duluth to attend college. I have a Bachelors from University of Minnesota Duluth and a Masters from University of Wisconsin Superior. I returned to New Ulm in 2014. I have been working for 10 years providing mental health counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.