Joe Gould's Vision

Working hard for Northern Minnesota families

We can do better. Minnesota's education and public service systems have gone from a model for the world to a declining system of mediocrity or worse. Have we come more and more to expect less and less from our government? It is time to step up and demand a better product from those serving us in St. Paul.  Some 35 years ago, Minnesota had undergone a transformative and innovative reform in the financing of public schools and local governments, resulting in fairer distribution of taxation and education deemed the "Minnesota Miracle." Then Governor Wendell Anderson was photographed on the cover of TIME magazine with the caption proclaiming "The Good Life in Minnesota." 

But now, as in the 1960s, the scales have become unbalanced. Big-ticket items like health care and education are increasingly financed through regressive property taxes that disproportionately burden working-class Minnesotans many of them right here in Northern Minnesota. The hope of the Minnesota Miracle seems all but forsaken and the "Good Life" once promised to all Minnesotans is now reserved for only a privileged few. 

With the quality of education falling and the level of unemployment rising, with access to affordable health care that is too low and property taxes that are too high, working-class families from Cohasset to Aitkin and from Grand Rapids to McGregor need someone who understands them to fight for them. Minnesota needs fresh ideas and a new perspective to bring about positive change in classrooms, workplaces, and hospitals. 

The forces against change are a challenge to overcome. These issues are difficult and complex, but I understand these issues because I live them everyday. I was raised right here in the district with Northern Minnesota common sense. I believe I can provide the fresh ideas and new perspective necessary to make things easier for people like my mom and dad, my family, my friends - for the people of Northern Minnesota who live in District 3b. We can do better. We need to tackle the tough issues right now and not later on. Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy. With your support we will work together to strengthen our community with a fresh vision for Northern Minnesota.

Joe Gould's Biography

Raised in the district, with Northern Minnesota common sense

Joe Gould was born March 5th, 1987 and raised in La Prairie. A fourth-generation Northern Minnesotan, Joe's great grandparents came over from Italy in the early 1900's. Joe's father, Jim, grew up in Coleraine and took a job as a laborer for UPM Blandin Paper Company only to be laid off with 300 other workers in 2002 after several years of employment. He went back to school, retrained, and now works as a Radiologic Technician for Deer River Healthcare. Gould's mother, Letty was a 1982 graduate of Greenway High School and operated her own daycare facility before going to work for the Greenway School District.

Joe excelled in high school, both academically and in extra-curricular activities. He was on the track and baseball teams served in student council, participated in knowledge bowl, Close-Up, and earned membership in the National Honor Society. Balancing his rigorous course schedule with his extra-curricular activities, Joe earned multiple scholarships for college.

Due in large part to the tremendous opportunities afforded to him by a community known for its commitment to education, as well as the support and encouragement of his family, Joe attended Itasca Community College and Bemidji State University. Joe graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Mass Communications. Joe is currently obtaining an online master's degree in management.

Joe has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Past employers include Itasca Community College, Bemidji State University and the Blandin Foundation. Joe is currently substituting for teachers and para professionals in the area schools and is serving as a La Prairie City Councilmember.

Joe will apply his educational and work experience as well as his strong work ethic to make the government in St. Paul work more for the people in Northern Minnesota. Joe's fresh perspective on the problems that face the people of Aitkin and Itasca County will serve to breathe new life into the state capitol. Joe is committed to working hard for Minnesota families and making District 3b an even better place to live, work, and play.

Joe Gould on Education

We must re-invest in our most valuable resource: our students

Where students are born should not determine the quality of education available to them. There is no reason a student in Edina or Minnetonka should receive a better education than a student at Aitkin, McGregor, or Hill City. We must support our students and we must support the people we trust to teach them. We must begin to bridge the opportunity and achievement gap between Metropolitan and Greater Minnesota and we must begin that process with concerned, engaged, and responsible leadership in St. Paul.

Today's students face a more difficult job market than any time in recent memory and have fewer educational opportunities with which to prepare themselves. A three-sport athlete today will pay close to $1000 to compete for Grand Rapids High School. That is too much for families with children in school. 35-person classes are normal in our schools now, with some required high school math and science classes expected to reach as high as 40 students in the next couple of years. That is not an environment students can learn in. Teachers are at their breaking point with more and more demanded of them. There are fewer teaches with fewer with fewer resources available to them to achieve excellence. That is not a sustainable way to move our community forward. 

We must reinvest in our most valuable resource: our students. That begins with rethinking how we fund our schools. In the early 1970's, facing massive disparities in educational opportunities across the state, then-Governor Wendell Anderson called on the state to fund education, taking away the burden of crushing local property taxes. What Minnesota achieved was transformative and innovative reform in the financing of public schools, resulting in fairer distribution of education. We must have leaders in St. Paul who will have the courage to once again to take responsibility for paying for what has made our state great in the past and can solve the difficult problems of the future–quality education for all who seek it. 

I will question how we deliver excellent education to students at affordable costs for all citizens. I will explore ways to create better post-secondary options in the immediate area. I will find new ways to support our teachers while ensuring the quality of instruction they provide. 

Achieving progress in how we provide education in Minnesota will take a village. It will not be easy. But the Constitution of Minnesota states, "...it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools..." and the stakes are too high to fail to meet that order.

Joe Gould on Health Care

Health Care is a fundamental right for all Minnesotans

The burden of health care has risen above and beyond what the ordinary citizen or company can afford to pay. According to the Center for Studying Health System Change, health care spending rose 10 percent in 2001 followed by an additional 10 percent in 2002. Health care costs have risen dramatically since the beginning of the 1990's and continue to rise. This extreme increase in costs has put strain on the people and businesses in the Itasca and Aitkin county area. 

Ensuring that everyone has access to affordable health care in this area is not only important, it is a fundamental right of all Minnesotans. We must focus on preventative care to reduce the costs of providing health care. We must improve and expand our care for the most vulnerable among us – the young and the old.

I will fight to make sure that all healthcare legislation that is passed nationally and in Minnesota will be accessible for people in Itasca and Aitkin counties to utilize to the fullest.

Joe Gould on Jobs

Minnesotans deserve good jobs that pay decent wages

For those who are underemployed or unemployed, nothing is more important than a good paying secure job. Nationally, and internationally, the economy has been in shambles. The adverse impact in Minnesota has been both direct and substantial. 

With near record unemployment and with historically low interest rates, now is the best time to put people back to work with a stronger bonding bill. Roads across the state are in need of improvement, hundreds of bridges are unsafe and must be rebuilt, and dozens of schools and hospitals are in need of repair. By putting construction workers back to work, Minnesota will put others back to work. 

We need job training programs for young people to be able to compete in an increasingly global economy. And now, more than ever, older workers need continued education programs to help them acquire new and transferable skills, as well as retrain for new jobs. I will work with vocational schools and community colleges to forge partnerships with local businesses to create training programs for jobs that exist now that can put local workers back to work at local jobs. 

The state needs to mandate an adequate minimum wage and a safety net for those who are unexpectedly unemployed, which means ensuring we provide good unemployment benefits. The state has a key role in ensuring work place safety and a good workers compensation program to help those who are injured. For workers—both public and private, the right to organize is fundamental and must be protected. 

We need a competitive job creating environment for Minnesota, in our region of the state particularly. The public and private sectors need to engage in a common partnership to tell others about our educated and dedicated work force. I will help create an environment in which every young person in Northern Minnesota can find a good job here and remain here. That is a choice that should be available to everyone and I am 100% committed to that.

Joe Gould on Unions

Good union jobs mean stronger communities

Unions help people gain respect on the job, better wages and benefits, and create more flexibility for work and family needs. Unions provide a counterbalance to the unchecked power of employers and a voice in improving the quality of their products and services.

The law needs to better protect workers wishing to form a union. Under the law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against or fire workers for choosing to join a union. However, employers routinely violate these laws, and the penalties are weak or nonexistent. I will advocate for stiffer penalties for such employers.

Through unions, workers win better wages, benefits and a voice on the job—and good union jobs mean stronger communities. Union workers earn 30 percent more than nonunion workers and are more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than those without a union. In 2007, median weekly earnings for full-time union wage and salary workers were $863, compared with $663 for their nonunion counterparts. Unions lead the fight today for better lives for working people, such as through expanded family and medical leave, improved safety and health protections and fair-trade agreements that lift the standard of living for workers all over the world.

Unions have made life better for all working Minnesotans by helping to pass laws ending child labor, establishing the eight-hour day, protecting workers' safety and health and helping create Social Security, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage, for example.

The right to organize, in both the public and private sectors must be protected. The right to collectively bargain must be protected, so too workers' retirement pensions. I would publically oppose the 2012 Freedom of Employment ballot amendment.

Joe Gould on Senior Citizen Care

I will be an advocate for senior citizens at the Minnesota Legislature. Our leading generation deserves the best health care, good housing options, and access to services. It is their time to enjoy retirement, not to endure painful budget cuts to services seniors deserve.

 I have learned a lot from my grandparents. They taught me to treat people with respect. That's why I will dedicate my work in the legislature to treating our senior citizens with respect: Access to good health care by strengthening our rural hospitals; Making sure we have adequate funding for police, firefighters, and emergency services;  Insuring Minnesota remains a leader in senior housing options; Preserving services to seniors when they need them in later life; I also will fight further property tax increases in the legislature, because this is the most regressive tax that hits our seniors on fixed incomes the hardest. I'm for a fair and balanced budget solution.

Joe Gould on Mining, Natural Resources, and Renewable Energy

I will support Polymet Mining and Essar Steel and other new innovations in mining and natural resources to grow our economy while protecting our local environment.

I believe that renewable energy can absolutely help build our Iron Range and rural economy. I will support incentives for solar, wind, and biomass because it means jobs.

Joe Gould on the State Budget

The deficit problem in Minnesota needs to be dealt with in a fair and balanced approach. We cannot keep increasing property taxes because they are the most regressive of taxes. The large deficit Minnesota faces deserves a long-term, balanced solution.

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