Good Morning Friends,

I wanted to be transparent in bringing to your attention a complaint made to the Minnesota Office of Hearings by Pam Wentink (Complainant) against my campaign (OAH 71-0325-37070). Yesterday the panel issued a statement including ““The panel declines to find that Respondents conduct was as deliberately misleading as Complaint claims.”

For context, in September I posted “I enjoy the support from over half the School Board” as a response to comment on a repost of my original article. Editing or removing posts on campaign pages isn’t allowed and in hindsight, I should have said ‘over half the school board affirmed the 5 areas I’ve laid out in my July article “As Commissioner, how can you help District 112?’ In this article I laid out five things I’d focus on to free up teachers and administration from mounting duties and expectations in order to spend more focus on the 33% of kids reading below the proficiency level in our district. Those five focus areas are:
1. Closing the economic disparity gap
2. Food stability
3. Housing stability
4. Mental Health resources
5. Access to high speed internet

When posting, I was not aware that a comment of informal, verbal support is held to the same standard as a formal endorsement. In the State of Minnesota, formal endorsements require support in writing, prior to any statement of support. At no point was I ever pursuing a formal endorsement from the School Board. Friends this was an honest mistake. Nowhere in the panel’s review was any proof or indication of lying or malice. I did not intentionally deceive the voters. After review of the facts, the hearing panel ordered $600 be paid to remedy (considerably less than what was sought by the complainant). The check has been sent to, and we consider this issue put to bed.

I am not a career politician. This is my first time stepping into the political arena, and needless to say there is a lot to learn. I believe in owning my mistakes, and learning from them.

To the School Board, I am sorry for any additional burden that may have been caused. That was never my intent, and my goal is exactly the opposite in finding ways to remove barriers.

I hope that we as a community can move forward from this and focus on what really matters – the issues at hand. In particular, how we as a community can best support our schools, teachers, staff and the children.

In full disclosure, five complaints from two individuals have been brought against my campaign – both are public supporters of my opponent and/or my opponent’s political party. We see this as validation we are on a winning path and validation our positive message is connecting with voters so much so that the only tactic left in a coordinated effort to try to smear, bully, distract and/or silence us.

Of the 5 complaints mentioned, 3 were immediately dismissed, Pam’s compliant is outlined above, and a panel will issue their final judgement on the last open complaint on October 21st. The outstanding item is in regard to M.S. 211A.12 that sets contribution limits for an individual or committee of $250 in nonelection years and $600 in an election year for a candidate’s territory with a population of 100,000 or less and $1,000 in an election year for a candidate’s territory with a population over 100,000

During internal review, prior to compliant – the campaign reviewed our interpretation of campaign finance rules and modified campaign filings to only accept a maximum $600 contribution – previously, we had interpreted candidate’s territory to be the full Carver County 105,000 in population, and a $1,000 maximum. Our amended filing was in process with the County prior to the complaint, and filed on September 9th. If any further action is ordered by the panel, we will willfully comply.

Thank you for your understanding and grace, when we know better – we do better and I commit to learning from this to do better moving forward.