Legislative Issues

I'll go to work for you.

I want to put my professional experience to work for the people in my district and all across Minnesota.  There’s so much to do to enhance health care delivery, support our public schools, increase public safely and improve infrastructure.  #BackBonnie #TurnSD34Blue.

MY LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Minnesota is rated as one of the best quality-of-life states.  But we still face many challenges. Here are Bonnie’s top legislative priorities.

Healthcare

I want to hold up “the Minnesota Model” of healthcare delivery as a way to make our healthcare systems more cost-effective by rewarding health care providers for outcomes rather than paying them for the number of services they provide. It is also time that we ensure access to healthcare for all Minnesotans. As your State Senator, I will:

  • Support universal, affordable healthcare for all Minnesotans
  • Promote policies that reward healthcare providers for outcomes rather than more expensive fee-per-service healthcare delivery
  • Ensure that there is true parity in mental health coverage
  • Ensure adequate support for the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and other prevention initiatives
  • Develop our mental health system to better meet the needs of Minnesotans who have mental illnesses and/or chemical dependency issues

Education

I will work to eliminate the achievement/opportunity gap, expand learning opportunities, and ensure that Minnesota continues to have one of the most highly educated workforces in the nation.

  • Increase funding for early childhood and K-12 education
  • Attract and retain quality teachers
  • Adopt student loan forgiveness programs
  • Ensure proper funding for all schools, regardless of their zip code
  • Invest in professional development for our educators
  • Work toward a better ratio of students to school counselors (currently 754 to 1)
  • Implement high quality preschool for 4-year-olds and push for more investment in early childhood education
  • Improve education at every level
  • Making higher education more affordable by holding down tuition costs and reducing student debt

Gun Violence Prevention

Gun injuries and deaths are a public health crisis in our country. Yet we have had no success in Minnesota passing gun violence prevention measures that have broad public support and that have been shown to reduce gun deaths. I strongly support passage of expanded background checks on gun sales in Minnesota and Red Flag legislation. I will co-author and pass these bills my first year in office

COVID Response

As a single mom, I experienced financial hardships during my life. I had to work as hard as I could to provide for my kids, and in doing so I grew a small business from nothing. Now, many Minnesotans are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we need leaders who will focus on providing relief for our working families and for those experiencing poverty. I believe that we can build an economy back that works for everyone. The first thing we need to do is get control of the spread. Our economy can’t get back until we are safe from the virus:

  • Supporting an increased investment in medical supplies and PPE made in Minnesota to put our communities to work and ensure that the public has access to masks and other life saving equipment that they need.
  • Using my experience and determination to help our local economies get back on their feet by supporting small businesses so when it is safe, they can reopen, grow and thrive.
  • Working to provide low-interest loans so businesses can access capital to get back on their feet.
  • Providing tax credits and forgivable loans to small businesses who hire local workers.

Emergency Response

Gov Walz, with the input from MN Dept of Health and other agencies, has done a good job managing the pandemic. While some of his decisions have been politically unpopular and undermined by some state leaders, his approach has been backed up by science and by facts. He gave local control to our school districts to determine the best options for their district. Of course there are things the government could have done better. There is no playbook for dealing with this level of global crisis. Eliminating Governor Walz’s emergency powers would create gaps in support for Minnesotans as they navigate this public health emergency. If the emergency declaration ended, so would the dozens of executive orders that have helped Minnesotans navigate this difficult time. Senate Republicans have failed to offer solutions to the holes that would be created from rescinding the emergency powers:

  • The evictions of tenants during the peacetime emergency
  • Ability to procure resources, such as PPE and testing supplies
  • Protections that would prevent harm to consumers from price gouging
  • Reinstating the Governor, Chief of Staff, and Commissioners pay cuts his Executive Order enacted, effectively, increasing their salaries.

Job creation and the economy

I will help develop an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.

  • Keep Minnesota a competitive place to do business, for small, family-owned businesses and large companies alike
  • Create more opportunities for low-income Minnesotans to fully engage in the economy
  • Institute paid time off for employees to care for a sick family member or new baby
  • Help and encourage employers to recruit, attract, train and retain a more diverse workforce
  • Ensure paid time for sick leave
  • Confront the challenge of racial and economic disparities
  • Invest in the infrastructure of our colleges and universities, which are facing facility needs, such as repairing leaking roofs and cracked walls
  • Invest in the maintenance of our economic infrastructure, including bonding investments that create good-paying jobs and increase private investment opportunities
  • Increase private investment
  • Improve incomes for all Minnesotans so that everyone has the opportunity to earn a good living, support their family, and retire securely
  • Strengthen our state’s economy
  • Invest in minority-owned businesses and small businesses

Racial / Social Justice

I am fully committed to addressing racial and social justice issues in Minnesota and dismantling the systemic, structural racism that permeates every institution and corner of our society.

We do not need more empty community conversations that do not result in concrete action.

Those of us who occupy spaces of privilege need to do a deep examination of our participation in these systems and structures of racism, and how our own individual beliefs, conscious and unconscious, contribute to upholding those systems. Then we need to begin the personal and communal work of dismantling those systems. In practical terms, racial and social justice work includes ensuring a world-class education for every child; universal, affordable access to healthcare; living wage jobs and affordable housing.

Public Safety

Some of you may be seeing attack ads that claim I want to “Defund the Police” – let me tell you now, plain and simple, that is not true. I do not support defunding the police.

I do support making reforms to public safety so it works for everyone, including working with communities and local police, holding police accountable to the communities they serve, and improving training for officers so all of our families are safe, no matter where they live or what they look like. Some reforms I support are:

  • Reforming the investigation and prosecution process of officer-involved deaths and wrongful actions, including the modification of use-of-force laws to prevent wrongful deaths
  • Increasing police accountability and transparency by establishing law enforcement-citizen oversight councils to provide needed community involvement in policing
  • Raising standards of conduct and support officer excellence with training that includes de-escalation, mental health intervention and responding to people with disabilities
  • Partnering officers with the communities they serve by providing resources to increase diversity in our police forces
  • Repairing and building community trust and create community-centered public safety with investments in community-based mental health and trauma informed services

I understand the importance of public safety, and am prepared to confront the issues to make Minnesota a safer place for everyone, no matter where they live or what they look like. Unlike my opposition, I understand that public safety is a complex issue that we must face by finding common ground and making positive change for all of us.

Environment/ Climate Collapse

I, along with the large majority of Minnesotans believe that our environment is something to be treasured and protected for generations to come. I believe that it is the right of every Minnesotan to have access to clean air, water, and a healthy community.

  • I support legislation to move towards a clean air future by cutting our greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
  • I support legislation to ensure that our children and grandchildren have clean water in their lakes, streams, and aquifers.
  • I support creating systems to ensure that communities have the tools and support necessary to adapt to the challenges of a changing climate and engage successfully in the decisions that affect them as we transition to a clean, renewable economy
  • I support investing in green jobs and green energy so we can focus on building up our renewable energy infrastructure.

Transportation

I will work to fund a comprehensive transportation package, including a long-term plan for repairing and maintaining our transportation infrastructure, which will lift more Minnesotans out of poverty, expand transit service in rural communities, and help narrow racial disparities.

  • Efficient, affordable, and accessible transportation
  • Rapid transit lines across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, that will help put 500,000 more Minnesotans within a 30-minute commute of jobs
  • Work to adopt a dedicated funding mechanism to provide secure, reliable funding for transportation.

Endorsements

“Women Winning is proud to endorse Bonnie Westlin for State Senate in SD34 (Maple Grove, Osseo, Dayton and Rogers). Bonnie will always put people first and be a powerful advocate for the issues that matter most: affordable and accessible healthcare; fully funded pre-k-12 public education; common sense gun violence prevention; economic and racial justice; and women’s access to reproductive healthcare services.”

WOMEN WINNING

“Bonnie is an attorney and mediator who will work to find common ground and build consensus in the Minnesota State Senate. We are thrilled to support her bid for District 34,” said Geri Prado, vice president of state and local campaigns at EMILY's List.

EMILY'S LIST

"I am pleased to recommend Bonnie Westlin to the voters of Senate District 34. I have known Bonnie for many years. She is smart, thoughtful, persistent  and dedicated to public service. She is a great and responsive listener and will bring the concerns of SD 34 to the State Senate with knowledge and passion." 

Senator Ann Rest

"I am pleased to endorse Bonnie Westlin for State Senate in Senate District 34. Bonnie will work hard to serve the interests of the people in her district, which includes addressing our healthcare crisis, fully funding our public education system, enacting common-sense gun violence prevention measures and taking action to stem the climate collapse. As a family law attorney and mediator, Bonnie is a skilled negotiator who will build bridges rather than fences. I could not agree more with Bonnie when she says “I believe that there is more that connects us than divides us. But we need leaders who are focused on our common values and beliefs rather than fueling divisive and corrosive politics."

Congressman Dean Phillips (CD3)