About the Candidate: Michelle was born and raised in Minnesota with a solid work ethic on a family farm and is a long time Ham Lake resident. She attended the College of St. Catherine, where she earned a degree in Chemistry and earned her MBA at St. Thomas. Michelle supported her husband Craig during his time in the US Navy Submarine Force. Following the completion of his service, they returned to Minnesota. Craig and Michelle have three children. As a mom, she was very involved in the Cub Scouts, in her children’s schools, and as a part of Epiphany Catholic Church. Her professional experience includes serving as the Executive Director for Upper Midwest Security Alliance, an auditor and consultant for Deloitte and Touche, and as a board member for The Way of the Shepherd Montessori School and The Minnesota Challenger Center. The Benson Family are members of Epiphany Catholic Church. Her experience in the community led her to the Senate where she continues to enjoy the opportunity to advocate for the people of Minnesota.
Currently Serves as Chair of Health and Human Services Committee and Deputy Majority Leader.
- COVID has had a significant impact on Minnesotans and has placed stress on our health care providers, our families, and our economy.
- Government should be responsive to Minnesotans and deliver services effectively and efficiently. I will continue to be a watchdog over state programs like MNLars, CCAP, and DHS payments.
- Our economy is collapsing. I will be an advocate for putting Minnesotans back to work by resuming growth in our private sector.
- Health care should be about doctors and patients. I will advocate for health care policy that respects patients and doctors, and pushes back on interference by the government or big business.
- Your privacy is critical. Your data should be protected and only shared with your informed consent. Government data should be public so you can hold public officials accountable for the way they spend taxpayer dollars and deliver services.
Goals if Elected: The next two years will heavily consist of recovery from COVID and the related economic downturn. I will focus on implementing lessons learned during COVID response to help our economy recover more quickly:
- Telemedicine will transform mental health and chemical dependency treatment as well as improving access to specialists and improving monitoring of chronic conditions. Our health care regulations must allow the most innovation for the best value.
- Supply chain improvements. We must reduce our dependence on foreign pharmaceuticals and PPE. I want Minnesota to welcome companies to move production from other countries.
- Some work can be remote, so let’s help the North Metro to welcome families who want a great quality of life as they tele-commute.
Challenges bring opportunity for innovation. It is my commitment that families, employers, health care and education systems of the State of Minnesota come out of COVID stronger and more resilient.
Endorsements: None listed.
About the Candidate: Kate grew up in a multi-generational home. As a life-long Girl Scout, she earned a Gold Award and participated in the Civil Air Patrol, where she learned both military science and leadership. Both family and hobbies instilled and reinforced the importance of service to the community.
She studied History and Political Science at Cabrini College graduating in 3 years with highest honors and after a time working, she earned an MBA at the University of St Thomas in 2012.
Moving to Minnesota in 2001, Kate worked as a project manager and purchasing agent. Her experience in domestic manufacturing from 2000 to 2013 increased knowledge in engineering, negotiation, labor, and what is being built in our country.
In 2010 she made the hard choice to leave Polaris and focus on family. In 2016, she ran the VoteYes group for a school levy and in 2017 ran for School Board and was successfully elected.
Year after year of working for school equity as a parent and board member, Kate felt we lacked a true advocate in state government for education. Solutions are not found easily so Kate chose to personally stand up for what she believes needs to be done for Minnesota.
Education – Our Public Education system is chronically under-funded. The broken formula, and, unfunded mandates pull tight budgets even tighter. The achievement gap in the state needs continued focus and we must acknowledge the growing mental health needs of students. Our current system relies too heavily on local referendums, creating more inequity between regions of the state.
Infrastructure and internet – Even before Covid19, the need for reliable internet in our district is clear. I want to advocate and attract high speed internet to our more rural communities. With access to higher quality internet, the small business owners, families, and farms can connect and compete with the world
Equity – We cannot ignore the flaws in our system that lead to inequality. This will be a series of hard conversations. I promise to listen and consult and consider and work toward a better Minnesota we can all be proud of.
Goals if Elected: I believe that government should be of the people and by the people. I am a candidate because I am a citizen, a parent, and a community member who sees opportunities for change and growth in our current government systems. If elected I plan on working toward my three goals for Education, internet and equity with all the force I can muster.
I pledge to serve the people of Minnesota. My goal is to defend, strengthen, and maintain the customs and traditions of the state and to legislate to that end. I will be vigilant as I represent you and your family and neighbors. I promise diligence in my service to all, and to seek equity within the aims and ideals of the legislature.
AFSCME area 5
DFL senior caucus
CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT