I will work to address the problems facing the 99%.
Growing up in a working-class family, I have always believed in fighting for those who are struggling. I care about Duluthians and Minnesotans and want to use my experience to lead efforts to improve access to health care, liveable wages, education, veteran's benefits, infrastructure, and public safety.
I was raised by my mother and older sister in Chippewa Falls, a small community in Wisconsin where I attended public schools. My mother, Janet Feenstra Daasch, is the daughter of Dutch and Polish immigrants and is a retired alcohol/drug abuse counselor and teacher. She was an active member of the Democratic Party, League of Women Voters and the National Organization for Women. My late father, Wayne Schultz, was a Vietnam veteran and firefighter. He also suffered from alcoholism and went through recovery five years before his death.
In high school, I worked in a restaurant and grocery store. My college education was paid for using student loans, grants, scholarships and part-time jobs. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, majoring in political science, and was active in the Young Democrats. I have worked on many campaigns, including Dave Obey, Russ Feingold and Bill Clinton. I continued my education and received a PhD in health economics from the University of Minnesota.
My husband, Rob Weidner, my two sons and I are residents of Duluth’s Congdon neighborhood. We are committed to Duluth, and enjoy raising our children here as we pursue our careers in this great community.
I will continue the momentum built on
health care reform.
I was elected to the state legislator in 2014, replacing former Rep. Tom Huntley. For the past 14 years, I have taught health care economics and health care finance at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Prior to joining UMD, I worked as a health economist at UnitedHealth Group in MN and as a faculty member at Cornell University. I have worked on health care reform for close to 20 years and understand the complexity of our health care system. My experience includes working with former Rep. Tom Huntley, Sen. John Marty, and former Sen. Al Franken fighting for health care reform legislation at state and national levels. I also traveled to the Netherlands and France to learn about their health care systems.
I am an active member of Education Minnesota and serve on the Executive Board of the University Education Association. I was a delegate to the Duluth Central Labor Body and a former board member of the Northeast Area Labor Council and MN AFL-CIO. I have also served on several non-profit boards of directors and enjoy working with community organizations such as Generations Health Care Initiatives, MN Citizens Federation and the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation.
I will put my knowledge and resources to work for Minnesotans.
I support social, economic and environmental justice, humanitarianism, labor rights and progressive agendas. I am running for re-election to the legislature because I know how important it is to advocate for others. I have the passion and skills to lead on health care reform and funding education, social insurance and infrastructure. I believe that supporting these initiatives and addressing income inequality through tax reform will lead to improved economic stability and help alleviate the struggles of working families.
During my first term as a state legislator I served on Health & Human Services, State Government Finance and Ag Policy committees. I also serve on the Great Lakes Commission, Health Care Work Force Commission, and a Health Care Licensing subcommittee. I was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Health Care Finance Task Force after the 2015 Legislative Session. Last session I served on Health & Human Services Finance, Higher Education and Taxes Committees. I worked on many bills and amendments during my four years in the legislature. Please visit my official legislative web site for information on each bill I authored and co-authored. A few of the bills I'm championing are legislative redistricting, extending the provider tax to fund MinnesotaCare, reforms to MNsure, automoatic voter registration, and bonding requests for Duluth and Northeast Minnesota.