This is why I am running

This is why I am running

Meet my 96-year-old mother just after she voted on Monday.

She lived in her own home until she was in her early 90’s. Overall she worked for 60 years. My step-father, who was a St. Paul fireman, died 40 years ago. She has been able to live independently with his social security, pension and healthcare benefits. With the sale of the house, she was able to pay to live in an independent living facility first, and now in a special care unit. We are blessed.

Her world of financial support no longer exists for most.

To think! The first labor strike in Ramsey County many years was over a $5 co-pay per health care visit. The escalating cost of health care has created an ENORMOUS liability for all of us. Yet, our for-profit and non-profit health care system has benefited greatly. Besides high premiums and deductibles, many see out-of-plan bills at the retail rate not the wholesale rate, as well as out-of-pocket expenses when health plans change their medication formularies because they do not want to pay. Yet, many individuals have no choice but to pay.

While out in the district door-knocking I met a family whose child has a rare form of epilepsy so severe there is a risk for developmental disabilities if not treated. Their child is on the only medication that works and has not had a seizure in 18 months. Last month their insurance stopped covering the drug which is manufactured in France. They are paying $800 a month for it on top of all their other health care costs.

Minnesota needs to step up and address these issues now! State health plans made $300 million in “profits” while we are spending what we should be saving for retirement.

Vote for me to be an advocate for you!

Adequately Fund Special Education

Special Education: Adequately fund it to continue to stabilize & grow programs in local school districts

October 31, 2018

I would like to comment on the question posed to Minnesota State Representative candidates at the Lakeville, Minn., forum on October 3, 2018, regarding state funding for special education. District 20A candidates Bob Vogel and Barbara Droher Kline were both in attendance at the forum.

Current House Representative Bob Vogel spoke to how local entities should “get creative” with how to grow the support for special education in the local school districts. As a social worker in a Level IV special education district for the past 11 years I can tell you that the “creativity” necessary to operate at that level of education for students is coming directly from the administrators, and even more from the licensed staff and paraprofessionals working in the classrooms. The programs are struggling to keep staff and students safe in regards to numbers of staff per students ratios, physical space in which to operate and keep appropriate numbers of students adequately supplied with materials and equipment, and to safely transport students from districts that require commutes of more than an hour each way, to name a few of the issues. Staff injury and burnout are inevitable when these things are being managed under crisis circumstances every single day. Student and staff time being spent on managing behavior and crises means that meaningful learning is being marginalized.

It frustrates and frankly breaks an educator’s heart to know that there could be so much more to the learning day “if only” we had staff, space, safe access and equipment throughout the buildings and in the classrooms.

Bob Vogel’s answer to this question did not indicate to me that he has any idea what it takes to meet student needs in special education. He mentioned needing to be careful about taking money from one place to put into another so as to “not hurt what we’ve got going.” What we’ve got going in special education IS hurting students, parents, families and our communities. If we cannot operate special education settings in a safe, productive, meaningful way we are not preparing these students to move through their education years and into society at a level to be 1. safe, 2. prepared, 3. productive. My work with Vocational Rehabilitation services from the state of Minnesota indicates clearly to me that the bridge from special education into supportive work force is inadequate at best, further debilitating to persons with disabilities, at worst.

Barbara Droher Kline responded to this question with a concrete story about how important it is to Norway to support persons with disabilities to be safe and productive. She was specific as to what special education programs are dealing with on a daily basis regarding students physical needs, medication needs, and provider needs. What she was told about Norway’s programs for persons with disabilities was: “”we train them well, we have good technology, we have good support systems.” She understands that in this country “we hold people back and we don’t support them early on when they need it.” Unfortunately this is the truth and continuing to limit, even take away and put the responsibility on local efforts to create efficiency will do nothing meaningful to provide for these students and their families going forward, which not only does nothing for Minnesota, but in fact creates a detriment on so many levels in our society.

Bob Vogel stated that he is “a realist” however, it is clear that Barbara Droher Kline is the one with a REAL grasp of the issues in special education, as well as a REALISTIC understanding of what it will take to support students to launch them in all districts around the state of Minnesota to make positive impacts on all levels of their participation in our communities. The responsibility should not fall back on school districts to simply “get creative.” It should be on the state of Minnesota supporting all school districts to equally provide for students with special needs, and the families who struggle to support them. These students, their families, and the special educators who know them and dedicate their careers to educating them, deserve the support necessary to provide for their safety and their greatest quality of life as these students grow up and out of our special education system. If special education is not adequately funded to continue to stabilize and grow those programs in our local districts the state of Minnesota loses out on all levels.

Barbara Droher Kline understands that. That’s why I am placing my vote to put her where she can work for me, my own children, and the students and families I work for, and care about.

Most sincerely,
Ana Dean Podratz
New Prague, Minn.

Mankato Free Press Comparison Story

Mankato Free Press Comparison Story…Read it on the Free Press website by clicking here


Vogel defending House seat against DFL newcomer Droher-Kline

LE SUEUR — Rep. Bob Vogel, R-Elko New Market, is seeking a third term at the Minnesota Legislature next month. He’ll have to go through Barbara Droher-Kline, a DFL newcomer with government experience, to get it.

Both candidates seek to represent House District 20A, which encompasses most of Le Sueur and Scott counties.

The district has leaned conservative in recent years — Vogel took office in an open seat election after then-Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, announced in April 2014 he wouldn’t seek re-election. Vogel then defeated DFLer Jim Connelly, of Belle Plaine, 61 percent to 39 percent in the 2016 election.

Vogel, 67, serves as vice-chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. He also serves on the state government finance, civil law and data practices, and job growth and energy affordability committees. He works as president of New Market Bank, which has been in his family for decades. He also served as a Scott County commissioner from 2002 to 2008.

He wants to run for re-election because he thinks he has plenty to offer as a small-business owner with a background in finance and business.

Droher-Kline, 66, also has experience in local government and finance. She was a finance department head for Le Sueur and Hennepin counties, was a CEO for Lutheran Financial Service in northern California, and works at Thrivent Financial helping people plan for retirement. She also has a master’s degree in social work and graduated from Luther College.

Droher-Kline wants to run because she wants to advocate for the district’s broadband needs, as well as seniors and farmers.

The issues

Lawmakers will face a bevy of needs regardless of who wins, from a much-needed tax reform bill to ongoing health care costs and a growing need for transportation funding.

State officials estimated in 2016 Minnesota would need $6 billion over 10 years, or about $600 million each year, to maintain and improve the state’s roads and bridges. Lawmakers passed a $300 million transportation funding bill in 2017 and set aside more than $400 million for Corridors of Commerce funding earlier this year, but the Legislature has yet to meet the state’s recommended funding levels.

Legislative candidates largely agree transportation needs more funding, but Democrats and Republicans disagree on how that could happen. DFLers have advocated in the past for a 10-cent gas tax increase while Republicans have pushed to shift general fund money related to transportation such motor vehicle parts and repairs sales taxes toward road and bridge work.

Vogel and Droher-Kline largely side with their parties on transportation funding. Vogel supported a bill earlier this year that would have started the process to constitutionally dedicate motor vehicle parts and repair sales tax funding toward transportation, and he supports using bonding dollars normally allocated for infrastructure.

“We need to explore having more support from the fair box for transit since nearly $250 million per year is now needed to subsidize transit operations,” Vogel recently wrote in a Free Press questionnaire. “I believe we need to have more fairness in who pays to subsidize transit.”

Droher-Kline would support combining both DFL and GOP approaches. She said she could support a small gas tax increase, as well as small increases in vehicle registration fees and vehicle sales taxes combined with the general fund shifts.

On health care, Droher-Kline would see the Legislature reverse an expiring medical provider tax as well as measures to reduce insurance premiums.

“These are costs to consumers that add to their growing health care costs,” she wrote in a Free Press questionnaire.

She also believes the Legislature’s efforts to continue a reinsurance pool for insurance companies needs to be reviewed.

Vogel believes the Legislature’s $540 million reinsurance pool in 2017 is likely unsustainable. He thinks more medical price transparency and allowing Minnesotans to purchase out-of-state insurance will help reduce health care costs. He would also like to see lawmakers reform medical provider reimbursements to make things easier for providers to offer services.

Either candidate has the chance to face a divided government if they are elected. The GOP has controlled the House since 2015 and the Senate since 2017, but DFL governor Mark Dayton has been in office since 2011. Partisan gridlock has grown worse among lawmakers and the governor’s office in recent years, with threats of special sessions and potential government shutdowns becoming more common.

The situation came to a head when lawmakers passed a massive 900-page omnibus $1 billion budget bill earlier this year. Dayton vetoed the budget bill and a tax bill after weeks of public disagreement over dozens of provisions in each piece of legislation.

Democrats tend to blame GOP leadership, including House Speaker Kurt Daudt, for taking hard stances during policy negotiations. Republicans blame Dayton for refusing to negotiate with GOP lawmakers during the legislative session on several policies he took issue with.

Vogel would like to see a governor who wants to negotiate more with lawmakers, but he acknowledges there will likely continue to be partisan strife at the Capitol.

“There will be issues which divide and in those cases all I can do is to work as best I can to bridge partisan gaps,” he wrote.

Droher-Kline stresses her experience working in working across governmental organizations to get things done. She also believes a new perspective in the Legislature may help build more bipartisan support for various policies.

“2019 is an opportunity for much needed change and I will be there to lead the effort,” she wrote.

The Elko New Market Candidate Forum: More differences between the 20A candidates

The Elko New Market Candidate Forum: More differences between the 20A candidates

Here is a short forum appearance by myself and my opponent which took place October 4, 2018, in Elko New Market.

Please view it to see more differences between me and my opponent. I will advocate for you!

The Elko New Market forum for Minnesota House 20A.

Posted by Barbara Dröher Kline for 20A on Friday, October 5, 2018

The Lakeville Debate: See the differences between myself & Vogel

The Lakeville Debate: See the differences between Barb & Vogel

Listen to the debate hosted by the Lakeville Area chamber on October 3.

There are some very glaring differences between how I think and would handle the job and how my opponent does.

Register to Vote

Register to Vote

A qualified citizen can register to vote at the polls on election day. However, more and more townships in Minnesota House District 20A have chosen to use mail ballots. This is why it is critical that anyone who wants to vote for Barbara Droher Kline registers to vote as soon as possible.

Below are all of the guidelines and places where one can register to vote in Minnesota. Local libraries, in most cases, have the forms available.

Register to Vote

Contribute $50 or $100 to the campaign & get it refunded!

Contribute $50 or $100 to the campaign & get it refunded!

Yes, that’s right! This is a program of the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

You may qualify for a refund for your political contributions made between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018, to Minnesota political parties and candidates for state offices.
You can request a Political Contribution Refund if you contribute money to qualified candidates for:
Minnesota Legislature (state House or Senate) including Barbara Droher Kline!
Minnesota governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general
Minnesota secretary of state
Minnesota state auditor
Qualified Minnesota political parties.

The refund is the amount of your contributions up to $50 for individuals or $100 for married couples (if you file a joint Political Contribution Refund application).
You can apply for a refund any time after making your contributions but no later than April 15, 2019.
Here are the details from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Might you send us a contribution today to help Barbara Droher Kline win the seat? Thank you.

Please contact us if you need assistance with the forms using the link below and we will assist you.

Contact Us

Healthcare Listening Session Discussion

Healthcare Listening Session Discussion

Listen to a 1-minute excerpt of one of Barbara’s Healthcare Listening Sessions in Belle Plaine held last week. This is a preview of what could be coming down the road if you have preexisting conditions and are seeking health insurance.

Concerned? Have something to say? You’re invited to Barbara’s listening sessions! The next healthcare listening session is Thursday, August 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Le Sueur Public Library, 118 Ferry Street, Le Sueur, MN 56058.

Join us to hear what’s on Barbara’s radar about breaking changes in all areas of health care coverage and share your stories and concerns.

We had some great discussion at our healthcare listening session at King’s Path in Belle Plaine. There’s another one August 9th at the Le Sueur County Library from 7 to 8 :30 p.m.I’d love to hear about your experiences and concerns. Please come.

Posted by Barbara Dröher Kline for 20A on Thursday, August 2, 2018