Hello, I’m Bonnie Westlin. I am a small business owner with my own family law practice. I earned my undergraduate and law degrees from Hamline University in St. Paul-and left with the enormous student loan debt to prove it! As a single mom and a grandmother, I understand what it is like to work hard for my education, my career, and my family.
I’m running for the Minnesota Senate to represent the values, needs, and concerns I’ve heard from the people in my district – I share so many of them.
First, like so many of you, access to affordable, high-quality healthcare has always been a significant challenge. With the current COVID-19 crisis, healthcare continues to be the top concern on everyone’s mind. Minnesota has a remarkable legacy of healthcare innovation, fostered by the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic. But as this crisis has shown us, quality care is not uniformly accessible in our state.
As someone who purchases individual health coverage for myself and my son, I know firsthand how difficult it is to pay high premiums, copays AND meet high deductibles. I have faced high prescription drug costs for medications to treat my asthma. And some in our state have died trying to ration expensive, life-saving drugs. Let’s be clear: No Minnesotan should die because they can’t afford insulin or other life-saving medications.
This pandemic has highlighted other issues that have previously gone unnoticed, such as workplace safety for our front-line medical providers. All healthcare workers deserve to work in fully staffed facilities, equipped with the protective gear needed to provide patient care safely.
Another issue I want to touch on is education. Public education must be fully funded from early childhood through high school, including and especially special education services. Strong public schools empower every student to be well prepared for success at work, at home, and in community life. Providing world-class education to all of our students has always been a priority in Minnesota, but we know that we have work to do in order to eliminate the opportunity gap experienced by so many of our students of color.
COVID-19 has shown us very clearly the inequities in our public education system. So many children rely on their school to feed them, for example. We have seen our school districts step up to ensure kids continue to receive meals during this crisis. And as Minnesota schools have moved to distance learning, we have become so keenly aware of the lack of access to technology and the internet for so many families in our state. We can do better.
I am energized to get to work on these and so many other vital issues that are priorities for citizens across Minnesota. The COVID-19 crisis, and the economic fallout from it, will be with us for some time. We need leaders who will focus on people, not politics. I am asking for your vote in November. And right now, I’d love your help.