Equality and Respect

Assuring everyone has a chance at a life that includes respect, contribution, and fair treatment is a founding principle of our country and our Democratic Party. Our country’s basic values as embodied in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights direct respect for differences in religion and philosophy, freedom of the press, and rights to privacy, and an equal chance for all to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. But we must constantly test our present situation and eliminate disparities wherever we find them. All in our community deserve fair treatment and a life with many opportunities to choose from.

A record of results

  • Passing marriage equality. This was my proudest and most powerful single yes vote - it opened major life opportunities for so many. But it was the culmination of years of work. Before being elected, Diane worked to add sexual orientation to the human rights protections so people who happen to be LGBTQ wouldn’t have to fear losing their jobs or housing for being honest about themselves.
  • Passed legislation to address racial disparities in education, health, employment, and housing. Diane has also supported research initiatives to help us better define the problem and keep the focus on actions that make a measurable difference in people’s lives.
  • Diane has successfully fought discriminatory policies such as lifetime limits on health coverage, policies that would enable large segregated housing for people with disabilities, and policies that treat mental illness differently than other illnesses.
 
 

But more remains to be done

  • We need to work in coalition with people of all races, new Americans, seniors, and persons with disabilities to address the persistent disparities in opportunities and outcomes that hold too many people back or treat them unfairly.
  • We need to address pervasive poverty as a root cause of holding so many back. It’s difficult to do all you’d like as a parent if you have to juggle two jobs, can’t find evening shift day care that’s child development focused, can’t afford safe and stable housing, or afford to take a child with an ear infection to the doctor. A laid off older worker can’t overcome discrimination in hiring if not given opportunities to update their skills while on unemployment when that can’t even cover the mortgage or rent. Full-time work should lead all to a self-sufficient life with fair wages and benefits that reduce the need for government assistance.
  • People with disabilities have the highest unemployment and need to be given the opportunity to live a maximally independent and self-supporting life. A federal court has found that Minnesota has consistently denied persons with disabilities (developmental, physical, sensory losses, and those with severe mental health challenges) their constitutional rights to a life of maximum independence and choice. We won’t be able to do that without transition resources, but in the end many will be newly self-supporting taxpayers and engaged in a satisfying life in their community.