Tina’s Vision

Tina is a fierce advocate for a Minnesota that works for everyone -- not just the lucky few. As Paul Wellstone said, "we all do better when we all do better."

Tina is a fierce advocate for a Minnesota that works for everyone – not just the lucky few. And she knows that when we work together and put Minnesota values first, nothing can stop us from turning that vision into reality.

The Minnesota Way Forward

It’s true: we are living through one of the most challenging times in the history of our country. Many of those in Washington seem to think their job is to take care of the wealthy and powerful – at the expense of working and middle-class families.

But Tina believes that things can – and will – change for the better. Her belief is grounded in what she knows to be true about fellow Minnesotans: we get together to solve problems, to lift each other up, to find and stand on common ground. We’re creative, we’re practical, and we don’t just complain about what’s holding us back – we come up with solutions.

Tina knows they’re no match for the people of this state when we come together, stand shoulder to shoulder, and each do our part to create the reality Paul Wellstone described where “we all do better when we all do better.”

Where Tina Stands

A Strong and Diverse Economy

Tina believes in economic opportunity and a diverse economy, so businesses can grow and workers get better pay and better jobs. She also believes this can be achieved by investing in manufacturing and technology, helping small businesses grow, and expanding our agriculture economy.

As Lt. Governor:

  • Worked to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage.
  • Supported legislation to close the gender pay gap, expand family medical leave, and strengthen workplace protections for women in Minnesota.
  • Helped balance the budget, and advanced government reforms that led to Minnesota being named the best run state in the nation.
  • Led a public-private partnership with the Mayo Clinic, to bring in billions of dollars in private investment and high paying jobs to Southern Minnesota.

In the Senate:

  • Helped write parts of the The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act which became law. This bill makes updates to career and technical education to help students access high-quality programs; helps recruit and retain Career Technical Education teachers, and provides workers and students the skills they need to find high-skill, high-wage or in-demand jobs.
  • Included workforce legislation in The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act to help recruit Career and Technical Education teachers and assist them in getting properly licensed and credentialed to teach courses for students in health care, manufacturing, IT, and construction.
  • Working to close the gender pay gap.
  • Supports increasing paid family and medical leave so parents can stay home to take care of their children and family without the worry of losing a paycheck.

Affordable High-Quality Health Care

Every Minnesota family deserves access to high-quality health care they can afford. Tina is focused on providing Minnesotans with access to mental health resources and important mental health services for all ages. She has heard first-hand how the opioid epidemic has touched nearly every community in Minnesota and Tina believes in a strong federal response to prevention, treatment, and law enforcement efforts. Tina also supports and believes single-payer health care is the most direct way to ensure universal coverage, so nobody has to choose between paying for health care and putting food on the table.

As Lt. Governor:

  • Helped expand MinnesotaCare.
  • Pushed to allow more people to buy into MinnesotaCare for a fast and efficient way for individuals to receive coverage.

In the Senate:

  • Introduced a bill–the first piece of legislation she introduced as a Senator– to fix a loophole allowing drug companies to keep lower cost generic drugs off the market. Also introduced a bill requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose how they spent their tax breaks from the Republican tax bill.
  • Introduced the Affordable Medications Act to hold drug companies accountable for the prices they set on their prescription drugs; increase innovation and research on new drugs; increase competition in the market by blocking monopolistic practices, allowing generic drugs to be competitive.
  • Co-sponsored Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s bill allowing Medicare to use its negotiation power to bring down prescription prices and lower medicare spending, just like the VA is able to do.
  • Introduced the bipartisan Improving Access to Mental Health Act with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to help bring mental health services into schools and communities. Provisions incorporated into large opioids bill, signed into law on October 24, 2018.
  • Co-sponsored Sen. Brian Schatz’s State Public Option Act, which would allow Americans to purchase Medicaid coverage.
  • Co-sponsored Sens. Jeff Merkley and Chris Murphy’s Choose Medicare Act, which would allow individuals and businesses to buy into an enhanced benefit plan under Medicare.
  • Co-sponsored legislation to hold the corporations that make opioids responsible for the opioid epidemic, and advance drug treatment.
  • Helped write bipartisan opioids legislation – signed into law on October 24, 2018 – which will bring $1.5 billion in funding for states, tribes, and communities to bolster their prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.
  • Voted for bipartisan budget deal that passed in March, putting an additional $6 billion in funding for opioid response.
  • Serves as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Rural Health Caucus, and is advancing legislation to create a rural health care liaison between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Quality Education for All Minnesotans

Education is the engine of opportunity and it ought to be available to all of us, not just some of us. Tina understands that higher education drives opportunity and it should be affordable and accessible to everyone. She also recognizes not every young person wants to go to a four-year college, but every Minnesotan should be able to find a good paying job. Tina knows we need to open up opportunities for career and technical training.

As Lt. Governor:

  • Successfully fought for free all-day kindergarten for every family in Minnesota.
  • Worked to slow tuition increase by investing in our 2 and 4-year colleges and universities and financial aid programs for students in need.

In the Senate:

  • Authored and introduced the 21st Century Workforce Act, which invests in key partnerships between education, local business, and higher education. Several priorities Sen. Smith championed to help promote community and technical education were recently signed into law by the President as part of a larger bill.
  • Introduced legislation to get better mental health services in schools.
  • Helped introduce Community College to Career Fund Act, which brings tech/community colleges and small businesses together to prepare Minnesotans for careers in manufacturing, health care, energy, and IT. Co-sponsored bill with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to help millions of Americans refinance their student debt.
  • Successfully fought alongside Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) for funding to increase access to free online textbooks.
  • Held over a dozen workforce meetings in communities around the state.

Action on Gun Violence

Tina supports passing common-sense laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous individuals. She believes we can put a stop to the epidemic of gun violence and also respect the Second Amendment. Tina is proud to have the support of Moms Demand Action.

  • As an angler and hunter, Tina supports common sense bills to make sure guns stay out of the hands of the wrong people.
  • Working with Sen. Amy Klobuchar to ban people convicted of stalking from having firearms.
  • Met with survivors of the Parkland school shooting and Minnesota students.

Supporting Minnesota’s Farmers and Rural Communities

Tina knows how critical Minnesota’s farmers are to the state’s economy – and that decisions affecting Minnesota farmers affect the lives of many, if not all Minnesotans. Agriculture is the heart of Minnesota’s economy and Tina is focused on making sure Minnesota farmers have a strong voice in Congress.

As Lt. Governor:

  • Led trade mission to Cuba to help open a new market to the state’s agriculture producers.
  • Invested in agriculture research, value added agriculture, and the Water Quality Certification program to allow farmers regulatory certainty.

In the Senate:

  • Authored and championed several provisions in bipartisan Senate-passed Farm Bill, including a road map for renewable energy programs, support for beginning and nontraditional farmers, the preservation of the sugar program, investments in trade promotion programs, and anti-hunger programs.
  • Successfully fought for a spot on the Agriculture Committee to bring Greater Minnesota’s voice to the Capitol.

Women’s Economic Health and Security

Equal pay shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Tina believes that equal pay for equal work is good for all Americans. We’ve made important progress in Minnesota to close the pay gap, but too many women — especially women of color — still don’t get paid the same for doing the same job.

She also knows women can’t have economic opportunity and security if they don’t have the freedom to decide when and how to raise a family. As the only Senator to have worked for Planned Parenthood, Tina believes a woman’s decision about her health care should be made between her and her provider. As both Lt. Governor and Senator, Tina has fought to protect health care for women and stood against endless wars over women’s access to reproductive health care.

As Lt. Governor:

  • Supported legislation to close gender pay gap, expand family medical leave, and strengthen workplace protections for women in Minnesota.
  • Worked to invest in child care, and for tax credits to help middle class families afford child care.

In the Senate:

  • Introduced the Child Care Supply Improvement Act to help communities invest in their child care facilities. This includes helping them meet health and safety requirements, administer high quality care, and perform a needs assessment to prioritize resources.
  • Supports Paycheck Fairness Act to help close the longstanding pay gap between men and women.
  • Supports paid family leave to allow parents to take care of their sick children.

Protecting and Preserving Social Security

Social Security is the bedrock of economic and retirement security of the American middle class. Minnesotans save now so come retirement they have savings they can count on. Tina believes we should expand Social Security and ensure that it remain solvent in the long term.  Tina strongly opposes serious threats to these programs like privatization and steps to cut benefits. She also opposes the recent Republican tax bill, which adds $1.5 trillion to our national debt and risks major cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

In the Senate:

  • Crafting legislation with Senator Sherrod Brown to expand Social Security to provide increased benefits for all recipients, ensure no senior lives in poverty, reduce wait times and improve customer service, and extend the solvency of the Social Security trust fund.
  • Cosponsored Sen. Hirono’s Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act, which would ensure that Social Security benefits reflect the increasing costs faced by seniors and improve the long-term solvency of the Social Security trust fund.
  • Cosponsored the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act to ensure that law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other state employees aren’t unfairly penalized when they earn Social Security benefits later in their careers.
  • Supports caregiver tax credit to ensure Americans aren’t penalized for taking time out of the workforce to care for a sick family member.

Supporting our Veterans

One of our most solemn duties is to take care of the people who served in our armed forces. Tina understands that the battles our servicemembers face don’t end when they come home, and we must make sure they receive and have access to the benefits they have earned.

As Chief of Staff and Lt. Governor:

  • Streamlined the process for veteran-owned businesses to apply for state contracts.
  • Helped secure $10.8 million increase for staffing at Veterans homes.
  • Expanded the Minnesota GI bill.
  • Fought for $12 million in funding increases for National Guard funding to fund tuition and bonuses.

In the Senate:

  • Introduced bipartisan bill to support veterans exposed to harmful radiation by getting them the health care they deserve.
  • Introduced bill to make it more efficient for veteran farmers to access the services they need from the USDA.
  • Pushing to end the VA’s backlog of cases to make sure veterans don’t have to wait months before getting treatment.

Standing up for our LGBTQ Family

Every American deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Tina believes we need to defend the progress that has been made for LGBTQ equality and fight the injustices that still exist for too many LGBTQ Americans.

As Chief of Staff:

  • Helped pass marriage equality in Minnesota.
  • Passed strong anti-bullying policy.

In the Senate:

  • Supports a bill making it illegal to fire someone for being LGBTQ.
  • Cosponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act to help prevent discrimination and bullying of students.

Tribal Communities

Tina believes we must engage Minnesota’s tribal communities and make sure they have the resources and support to address critical needs.

As Lt. Governor:

  • Hosted 11 Nations and convened the Tribal-State Opioid Summit.
  • Increased funding for rural broadband internet, helping business development in tribal areas.

In the Senate:

  • Successfully fought for a seat on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
  • Introduced a bill to help address the opioid crisis by making sure resources are available to tackle the epidemic in ways that work for tribal communities.
  • Supports efforts to increase security on tribal land by holding non-native people accountable when they commit crimes on tribal land.

Protecting our Environment

Tina believes we need to address climate change, protect our country’s national treasures, and fight back against efforts by this Administration to roll back responsible environmental policy. She also believes it is important for Minnesota’s pristine land, water, and air to be protected. Tina’s strong environmental record earned her the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund and the National Resources Defense Council.

As Lt. Governor:

  • Led fight for “50% by 2030” renewable electric standard.
  • Expanded use of renewables in state government that saved over $20 million and counting.

In the Senate:

  • Championed renewable energy funding in the Farm Bill.
  • Fought to protect Lake Superior from cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
  • Supports legislation to encourage conservation practices for farmers.
  • Called out former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in his attempts to roll back auto efficiency standards.
  • Fighting the Administration’s efforts to abandon Paris Climate Agreement and Clean Power Plan.

Dreamers and Immigrants

Minnesota communities are strong because of our immigrant neighbors and friends. But our immigration system is broken and in need of comprehensive reform. That’s why Tina supports immigration policies make sense for our economy, secure our border, and provide a tough but fair path to citizenship.

  • Introduced Help Separated Kids Act, which would restore basic humanity to the immigration enforcement process.
  • Supports bringing both parties together to to fix the system once and for all.
  • Voted for a bipartisan increase in funding for border security, and supports using fiscally efficient methods to secure the border.
  • Co-sponsored Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Keep Families Together Act to prevent separation of children from their parents at the border.
  • Wrote a letter to DHS Sec. Nielsen and the White House urging them to extend Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians.
  • Co-sponsored Sen. Jack Reed’s bill to create a pathway to citizenship for DED recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients.

Taking on Special Interests and Campaign Finance Reform

We need to end the influence of corporate special interests and secret money on politicians by limiting the amount of money they can spend on political campaigns. Tina believes we will only be able to build an economy that works for everyone if we reform this broken system. She supports reversing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that allowed unlimited amounts of dark money into our elections and is proud to be endorsed by the advocacy group End Citizens United.

  • Supports legislation to make organizations buying ads online disclose who they are and who funded them.
  • Co-sponsored legislation to end campaign contributions by foreign-controlled corporations.
  • Supports legislation for changing the way Senate elections are financed.

Strengthening Unions

Unions play a critical role in our economy, as they provide workers with livable wages, a safe work environment, and quality benefits for their families. That’s why Tina believes that stronger unions make for stronger communities and families. She is proud to have been endorsed by the MN AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME Council 5, Teamsters, Building Trades, Steelworkers, and Education Minnesota.

As Lt. Governor and Chief of Staff:

  • Helped raise Minnesota’s minimum wage.
  • Supported equal pay for men and women.
  • Expanded parental leave for public workers.
  • Continuously fought attacks on unions.

In the Senate:

  • Serves on the bipartisan Select Committee to help find solutions to the pensions crisis threatening 22,000 Minnesotans.
  • Co-sponsored legislation fighting wage theft, and getting workers the wages they earned.


Tina understands that trade plays a critical role in Minnesota’s economy and supports fair trade. Other countries that don’t play by the rules should be held accountable. But trade also cannot be a one-size fits all approach, requiring nuances that ensure Minnesota producers are protected.

As Lt. Governor:

  • Led delegation of Minnesota farm leaders to Cuba to build relations for possible future agricultural sales.

In the Senate:

  • Pushed the Trump Administration to stand up for American workers on the illegal steel dumping from China.
  • Called on the Trump Administration to make a plan to end the trade war that’s hurting Minnesota’s farmers.

Supporting Arts and Culture

Arts and culture are an important part of Minnesota’s identity, economy, and quality of life. That’s why Tina is committed to sustaining and advancing arts and cultural opportunities for all.

  • Supports the federal funding for arts and culture Minnesota receives, which includes the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Supported funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.