2022 Pelican Rapids Press Candidate Questionaire
Top priority: If elected, what is your top priority for the 2023 Legislature? Why are you running for office?
I am running for the Minnesota House in District 9A because it is time for change in our state. I am running to represent my community because I care deeply about little children, their families, and their start in life. I care deeply about the elderly, the earth, education, and most importantly, I care deeply about the people in my district and across the state. We need elected officials in office that care about people and making a difference in our state.
My top priority for the 2023 Legislature is supporting the issues that will make Minnesota the best place for everyone to live and thrive. As a rural advocate, I will champion the issues that make our communities a better place to live, to raise a family, and to grow old in. The throughline throughout all of the issues I prioritize is care – we must care for young children, we must care for the elderly, we must care for the growing diversity in our communities.
Gridlock: Legislature gridlock has become the norm. And, increasingly, the final deals on major bills are forged by the Governor, House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader with little or no input by rank-and-file legislators. What specific measures can be taken to reduce the increasing partisanship of the lawmaking process?
Building relationships is both a top priority of mine, and the number one way to build bipartisanship and overcome partisan gridlock. In my professional life, I consistently work across party issues advocating for rural initiatives, and always start with building a relationship. Through honesty, transparency, and trust, I am able to listen respectfully, and while we might disagree, we are able to work together towards solutions. Recognizing we are all on team Minnesota, and we come to problems from different angles, we can develop creative compromises that move Minnesota forward. I will work to find common ground across party lines, and am committed to getting our work done.
Elections: Do you believe that voting improprieties are a problem in Minnesota? Are there changes in election practices you would favor?
A healthy democracy is the foundation of our country, and so important for Minnesota’s future. We must make sure people know voting matters and makes a difference at all levels of government. I always favor election practices that make voting accessible and as easy as possible so everyone eligible is able to vote. I do not believe voting improprieties are a problem in Minnesota, and in fact, we lead the nation in voter turnout, election reform initiatives, and voter integrity.
Budget: The 2023 Legislature will convene with a significant surplus. How should the money be used with respect to spending and/or tax relief? Be specific.
It was very disappointing the 2023 Legislature concluded without moving forward on critical issues, leaving a significant surplus of funds. In the 2023 Legislature I would support significant investment into the systems we have neglected for too long. Significant funding must be spent on our education system, starting in early childhood care and education by supporting our child care system up through trade school or four-year degree institutions.
Additionally, our state must invest in our rural communities to support the people living in small towns. Small communities are essential to the state of Minnesota, and too many of our rural communities have deteriorating roads, bridges, water systems, and infrastructure that needs significant improvements made. I spoke recently with a constituent about the Browns Valley water and sewer system that will cost upwards of $5M to update. These small communities cannot afford to cover these expenses. We need state investment to make sure our rural communities continue to thrive into the future. A priority of the 2023 Legislature should be to bring the levels of Local Government Aid back up to levels it was in previous years before it was cut, and to broaden how it is used and which communities qualify.
One additional issue we must prioritize is environmental protections and investments to care for our lakes, rivers, prairies, forests, and rich farmlands. We have a responsibility to preserve our ecosystems affected by climate change. People living in poverty are vulnerable to the effects of environmental damage, including contaminated water and air pollution – environmental issues are important equity issues our state must address.
Education/employment: Are Minnesota’s K-12 and higher ed systems prepared to address the workforce dynamics in a post-COVID era? What specific changes are necessary?
First and foremost, to support our education and workforce systems, we have to include early childhood care and education. The first few years of life are foundational to lifelong education, and key to economic development across our state. There is no better investment we can make to our economy than investing in education across the lifespan. As businesses continue to explore what their workplace will look like into the future, we need to make sure we include childcare and the support that parents need. Childcare is the workforce behind the workforce – allowing parents the flexibility and opportunity to meet the economic needs of our communities.
We also need to make sure that our education system is working for everyone. When our state was formed, it was declared in our constitution that it is the responsibility of the state to establish a public school system. I believe we need to continue to address the changes in our world and make sure our education system is supported to meet the demands. We need to make sure our teachers and our curriculum reflect the students being taught. We need to make sure our curriculum teaches children to be analytical and curious thinkers to be able to use all of the information available at our fingertips in new, creative, and innovative ways.
Health care: The overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court has put abortion law back in the hands of state legislatures. Do you support any specific changes to state law?
I believe people should have accessible, affordable healthcare no matter where they live in the state of Minnesota. Rural Minnesotans have significant challenges accessing the healthcare that they need – receiving adequate dental care, and mental healthcare are huge challenges in small communities, and people often must travel far distances to receive adequate healthcare. Health care costs are the #1 cause of bankruptcy for America’s families. This is just wrong, and I support policies that make sure that everyone has access to the care they need that’s affordable, and this includes reproductive care. I believe we should keep Minnesota abortion laws the way they are, allowing women choice over their bodies and reproductive freedom.
Transportation: Is state transportation funding properly balanced between roads and bridges and mass transit? If not, what changes do you propose?
I think we need to continue to balance infrastructure investments between roads, bridges, and mass transit. These are all extremely important investments in our state, and we need to view these issues as being one state. All of our transportation infrastructure has to work for all of us, and we all benefit when our roads, bridges, and public transportation systems are well cared for.
Police reform: Proposed police reform stalled in the Legislature. Should additional initiatives be pursued?
I believe we need to feel safe in our communities, and support initiatives to make sure police have both the support and the training that they need to promote public safety. When our police live in the communities they work in, we see better relationships between the police and the community, and those relationships keep people safe. Some of our local communities are having trouble finding police officers as well, and are looking for alternative solutions, but at the end of the day, we need to both build out our training, resources, and support to build safer communities with police.
Public notices: Some local government bodies continue to push for the elimination of state requirements to publish public notices, except on government websites. Independent research continues to show that far more citizens see public notices when they are published in the newspapers/on newspaper websites that they already use regularly. What’s your view on publication of important legal notices only by local government body websites?
I think all information should be as accessible to people as possible. Accessibility is critical to supporting communities to be engaged in government and democracy. I support any initiative that makes sure information is available and accessible to people, and our communities deserve more than only posting notices on governmental websites.
Other issues: Are there other issues you want to address?
The top issues that I am passionate about all center on caring for our most vulnerable populations, including our youngest and our oldest. I believe deeply in making sure our systems treat people equally in the workforce, in our legal system, and in our healthcare system. I believe we must care for our environment, to protect it for our future generations. You can read more about my background and priorities at https://nancyjost.com/, and I look forward to earning your vote!
Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.
I grew up on a farm between Alberta and Chokio with my parents and seven siblings. My dad was a farmer, and my mom was a full-time caregiver raising the eight of us. I have dedicated my life and career to supporting families, young children, and the caregivers in our community that make our economy thrive and Minnesota an amazing place to live. I am a lifelong rural advocate, ensuring decisions made at the state level directly impact the lives of people in our community.
I have a long history of representing our district to build statewide initiatives, ensuring rural perspectives are heard and addressed. I’ve served as an Advisor of the Women’s Economic Security Task Force, was appointed the Chairperson for the Minnesota Early Learning Council, and have worked as a child care provider, an early childhood special education professional, and an early childhood advocate on countless coalitions and in 2018 I was awarded the Nancy Latimer Award for my leadership and statewide impact on the field of early childhood education. I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Morris. I am endorsed by AFSCME Council 5, Education Minnesota, and Women Winning and am under consideration for many additional endorsements.