I’m running for re-election to continue my work advocating for our community and people. I’m a professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a proud mother of two boys. As the granddaughter of an immigrant farmer, I was taught the value of hard work, and as the child of a teacher and a firefighter the value of public service. Government programs helped my mother raise two daughters. I personally know the important role good government plays in our lives.

My agenda in St. Paul is simple: making sure our state works for everyone.

In 2021, that means dealing with the terrible challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, worsened by a failure of national leadership. We need to repair the damage from the pandemic but also use this challenge as an opportunity to strengthen our state.

We need health care that is affordable for everyone. We need solutions to our child care and housing crises. We need to protect our environment and create a green economy. We need to rebuild our justice system so it’s fair for all people, and we need to eliminate the abuses that impact in particular our Black and Native neighbors. We need to rebuild our public-education institutions so they continue producing innovations and a more fully integrated and educated workforce that form the economic engine of our state. And we need to address economic inequities.

As an effective legislator with a track record in passing bipartisan legislation, I’m proud of the work I’ve accomplished, such as securing state funds for the expansion of the Duluth Medical District — updating our aging hospitals, bringing health care innovation to our region, and attracting businesses and people to our community.

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As chair of the Long-term Care Committee, I led legislation for the licensing of assisted-living facilities to protect older adults from abuse, and I helped direct funds to address the COVID-19 crisis. As a member of the House Tax Committee, I chief authored and passed bipartisan legislation closing tax loopholes, generating millions in new revenue. I introduced bills to provide major reforms in Minnesota health care, to establish a public trust to fund long-term care, and to protect the value of your vote by eliminating gerrymandering and making redistricting fair.

As a commissioner on the Great Lakes Commission, I introduced and passed bipartisan resolutions to protect and promote the Great Lakes and successfully helped secure federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to address the St. Louis River. I also serve on the executive committee of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus and, with bipartisan support, introduced and passed resolutions to investigate emerging contaminants of concern and to educate the caucus on the potential risks of non-ferrous mining near the Great Lakes.

I’ve spent my professional career investigating health care reform, and I’m eager to continue working to find effective Minnesota solutions to address access and cost. In the next legislative session, I will champion a comprehensive MinnesotaCare buy-in program, changing health care provider payment approaches so providers may focus on patients and not on billing.

Like many of you, I’m working hard in multiple roles, particularly during this pandemic, being a parent, teacher, professor, and legislator. All are rewarding. It has been an honor serving in the Legislature and working every day to resolve issues faced by my constituents; my legislative experience will be ever more important as the Legislature works remotely.

I ask for your support and your vote. Together, we can move our state into a future that is truly great for all of us.

Jen Schultz is the DFL representative of Minnesota House District 7A in far-eastern Duluth. She is being challenged in the Nov. 3 election by Republican Tom Sullivan. She wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.