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Hello Neighbor,

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me, and why I decided to run for the Minnesota State Senate.

I look forward to meeting you!

Being a native Minnesotan, I have been able to enjoy the many gifts that this great state has to offer. I was raised by my mother in Brooklyn Park, which then was simply farmland, fields, and fireflies as far as the eye could see. It was an idyllic place to grow up and I had a parent who made sure I had everything I needed. 

From a very young age, my mom worked two jobs, a full-time position at the phone company and a part time position at JCPenney. It was important to her that I had everything I needed including the ability to participate in community sports. My mother, my hero in this world, was the main presence in my life. My father, a pilot in World War II, was an accomplished entrepreneur and someone whose footsteps I found myself following later in life. He was laser-focused on starting, building, and launching a successful company that is still flourishing today. 

I graduated from Park Center Senior High School and was looking to continue my education and become a teacher. At that time, however, teaching positions were difficult to come by, so my father advised me to choose a different career. Off to cosmetology school I went and was fortunate enough to obtain a position in an upscale salon in Wayzata. Although I loved my job, I still had a burning desire to teach. 

Time marched on. I married, and had my darling daughter, Lauren. We chose to put my career on hold, I became a stay-at-home mom and started an in-home daycare to help make ends meet. I was eventually blessed with my son, Ryan. A few short years later, I found myself raising my children on my own.

It was important to me to raise them in a stable home. I wanted to be that kind of mom, that was there to put her kids on the bus in the morning and be home when they got home from school. With that said, I needed to become my own boss. (I also began taking classes at St. Catherines to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree, and obtain a teaching certificate). It was a busy time. 

Let me tell you; being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart.

It is both incredibly rewarding and extremely humbling. It forced me to wear many hats over the years. It allowed me the flexibility to be able to volunteer at my children's schools, and coach their soccer teams in the evenings. Most importantly, it gave me time to spend with my kids when they needed me the most. My love for landscape design and the outdoors brought me to my decision to start my own business. But first, I needed to learn the difference between a spruce and a pine. 

Because money was tight, you could find me sitting on the floor of my local bookstore educating myself on trees, flowers, shrubs, and the mechanics of design. I am thankful they never kicked me out! With a little luck, and perseverance I built my business and soon found myself on several episodes of HGTV's Landscapers Challenge, and Landscape Smart. My design, and build, landscape company took off. 

Not long after, a large design-build landscape company asked me to join forces. I was still able to work the hours I was accustomed to, and my income now was steady. I had it all, so I thought. Within a year they filed bankruptcy, still owing me, and other designers, thousands of dollars. With that in my rearview mirror, I transferred to the University of Minnesota and continued my education, and in addition, obtained a Real Estate License.

Although my timing was rough due to the 2008 housing crisis, I was motivated to sell real estate. Needing to adapt, I learned how to sell homes short. I recall giving lots of hugs to those that I represented, as it is never easy to lose everything you have worked so hard to attain. This was a really rough time for many, myself included. 

The market was devastating in so many ways. I kept afloat by doing side jobs, cleaning, waitressing, and caring for the elderly by running errands or grocery shopping. I received some bold advice from someone I very much respected, “Focus on real estate, he said, and quit all your side jobs”. I followed his advice. I remember that next summer my million-dollar listing sold, which made the front page news after so many months of a dire market. I was off and running. Sotheby’s called and asked me to join their brokerage. Eighteen years later I am still selling real estate. 

My journey has been, well, interesting to say the least. The path to success is not always linear. I believe that my experiences have taught me to adapt, be creative, adjust, stay focused and positive. Being single for over 15 years has also taught me to be self-reliant, and perhaps you could say, tough. 

Today, I am married to my best friend, Ben. He is not only the smartest man I have ever known, next to my father of course, but he is crazy funny. We have been married for 12 years.  Together, we have four children and three darling grandchildren. Each day, I am grateful for the life we have built together. 

One accomplishment I am proud of is:

Starting my non-profit, the KBSDystonia Foundation, which has raised and donated nearly $800k to the University of Minnesota Neurology Department, to assist with research to help find a cure. Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder next to Parkinson’s and Essential Tremors.

In my downtime, I love being with my family, playing golf (or trying to!), sitting in cold Minnesota hockey rinks watching my granddaughters play hockey, reading, and taking long walks with my husband Ben. 

To be a good Senator you need to be able to listen, adapt and be creative, be tough and learn to cooperate. To be a great Senator I believe you need to find common-ground. We may not all agree on everything all the time, however, with a district like Senate District 45, we share many things in common. 

We know how powerful a great education can be, together let’s be sure we inspire our children so they can live up to their full potential. We unite as neighbors knowing how important it is to keep our communities safe. We share the same belief that keeping our cost of essentials down helps our families thrive.  We all love our parks and lakes and find joy in keeping them clean. Using our hearts and minds I know we can find common sense solutions for complex problems. Let’s come together and find that common-ground that helps our communities flourish! 

I look forward to working together and I would be honored to receive your support.

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