Jim Read believes in real economic opportunity for all Minnesotans, regardless of family background or what part of Minnesota they live in. If elected, Jim will work to create conditions that enable our local businesses to grow and hire, and our workers and their families to thrive.

New economic investments too often leave behind people living and working in small town and rural communities that are far from large urban centers. We in Central Minnesota have fared better than many other communities because of our innovative manufacturing, our thriving health services economy, our many small businesses, and our dynamically expanding renewable energy initiatives.

But much remains to be done. Our transportation and drinking water infrastructure is aging in many cases and needs to be upgraded — which will also provide jobs to skilled workers in Central Minnesota. Some parts of our district still lack access to high-speed internet.

Economic opportunity begins with educational opportunity. A high-functioning economy depends on young men and women entering the workforce who can think critically and creatively, and who have acquired job skills essential for our modern economy — advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services, information technology and more.

Minnesota’s schools, public and private, have historically been among the best in the nation. But in recent years tight budgets have too often squeezed out the kind of 21st Century education essential for our high school graduates.

Jim pledges to work with employers, educators, labor and others to expand Minnesota’s skilled workforce and opportunities for the next generation of Minnesota workers. He will work to improve career technical education and opportunities to enter high-skill, high-wage, high-demand employment in Minnesota.

Jim believes we all win when we invest in 21st Century job skills, so that our businesses have skilled workers and that our kids can get the skills they need to stay in our small town and rural communities with good, middle-class jobs.