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December 4, 2014

Issues Patricia cares about

by Senator Patricia

Thank you for the privilege of representing you in the Minnesota Senate! I share your commitment to progressive values and social justice and will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf in the Minnesota State Legislature!

1

Investing in our youngest citizens is the most important thing we do to guarantee the economic and social wellbeing of our community. Our children are our future. I support full funding of quality child care for working class families. Education is one of my top priorities. Minnesota has been recognized as having the best public schools in the nation. However, Minnesota also has one of the largest educational achievement gaps in the nation. When we compare educational outcomes among children from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, we find that children of color and American Indian children are not doing well at all. Children of color have dramatically lower rates of graduation than white children in Minnesota and this disparity in graduation rates is unacceptable. Closing the gap between students of color and white students should be the state’s top priority. I will fight to ensure that all of Minnesota’s children have the opportunity to receive a quality education that will prepare them to successfully compete in today’s economy.

Minnesota needs a clear, practical, well funded plan to eliminate educational disparities now. Children of color are the fastest growing population in the state. Ensuring that all children receive good education will ensure that Minnesota maintains the quality of life that has distinguished our state for many decades.

2

Minnesota is home to some of the best health care institutions in the nation, and overall we rank very high among states in health indices. However, not all Minnesotans have access to quality, affordable care. Minnesota has some of the largest health disparities in the nation. There are disproportionately high numbers of people of color, American Indian people and low income Minnesotans affected by diseases that are preventable. Working class families don’t have the health care they need to be able to live with dignity. Healthy communities are productive communities. My goal is to make health care more available to all Minnesotans: including low-income families, those who are self-employed, and those who cannot afford the health care offered through their employers. I’ll support strategies aimed to eliminate health disparities, fund initiatives to promote safe and healthy communities, and universal health care coverage for all children, such as in the Minnesota Children’s Health Security Act, which I have worked on since 1996

3

I believe we need to create and maintain a clean, safe, and sustainable environment which will benefit current residents as well as generations to come. I will support policies that seek to protect Minnesota’s water, sky and vital ecosystems. I’ll promote initiatives that will protect natural ecosystems, promote toxic waste reduction, fund the development of alternative energy, help us reduce dependence on dirty coal, and reduce airport noise. I’m proud of Minneapolis’ commitment to green space and look forward to being able to bike to the lakes this summer on the almost complete metro greenway.

4

Public transportation is essential in urban area and should be funded properly so it can continue to provide benefits to urban residents. The use of public transportation reduces strain on the environment, helps lessens our dependence on foreign oil, and allows residents to move freely throughout the city affordably. I believe that Hiawatha Corridor Light Rail Transit is a valuable asset to our district and is helping to revitalize this area by attracting new housing, commercial developments, and new residents. Light rail’s value will continue to increase as the network builds up around it. I support the expansion of public transportation that will be accessible to all residents of the Twin Cities.

5

Homelessness and lack of affordable housing are significant problems impacting children, youth, adults, and older citizens in Minnesota. I’ll support investments in affordable housing to ensure that low and middle income working class residents are able to access stable and safe places to live. I’ll also support and promote initiatives to eliminate homelessness. I’ll actively seek legislation to end homelessness among families with young children and elderly parents. Homelessness impacts schools attendance, academic performance and health outcomes.

6

Working class families are my top priority. We must grow our economy and do so in a way which creates living wage jobs. I believe that investments in education, research, and infrastructure promote economic development much more efficiently than tax giveaways to industry. Tax free zones just pit our communities one against another.

7

Growing up in Colombia in the midst of a civil war gave me a keen appreciation for Human Rights and the courage to fight for fairness with all my heart. I have worked all my adult life to protect individual’s rights, and to promote inclusivity and the acceptance of all people.

I am a person of faith. Religions should have the right and responsibility to decide their practices around marriage. The role of the state regarding this issue is to ensure that the civil and human rights that follow from marriage are not denied to GLBT people. Ensuring these rights for GLBT people and their children builds the common good.

I will fight policies that would foster discrimination or further division among people. I will support same sex unions and protect GLBT rights and the rights of their children.. I oppose the MN Marriage Amendment and ban on gay marriages and I support GLBT families in adopting children.

8

I will oppose any legislation that further limits reproductive freedom for women.

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