Dean Phillips is a father, businessman, civic leader, eternal optimist, and Representative for Minnesota’s Third Congressional District in Congress.
A Gold Star Son who lost his birth father, Artie, in the Vietnam War, Dean was adopted into the Phillips family when his mother DeeDee married Eddie Phillips, who raised Dean to work hard and always share success.
Dean was raised in Edina, attended Brown University, and returned to Minnesota to earn his MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business. After working at a variety of small startups, he worked his way up and eventually led his family’s business, Phillips Distilling. He later went on to help build Talenti Gelato into one of the top-selling ice cream brands in the country. He is now co-owner of Penny’s Coffee, a small business in the Twin Cities, and is active in the philanthropic community in Minnesota through the Phillips Family Foundation.
In Congress, Dean is focused on restoring Americans’ faith in our government. He’s on a mission to inspire a new era of collaboration in Washington, pursue common ground for the common good, and end the corrupting influence of special interest money in our politics. Dean is Vice Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and is a member of the House Ethics, Small Business, and Foreign Affairs Committees, as well as the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.
Dean has shown leadership and a commitment to working across the aisle during the COVID-19 pandemic. After hearing from struggling small business owners in the summer of 2020, Dean wrote the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act with Texas Republican Chip Roy. Signed into law by President Trump, this critical piece of legislation helped small businesses keep their doors open and saved thousands of American jobs. Dean has also been a voice for oversight and transparency of trillions of pandemic-related stimulus dollars, and has led the Problem Solvers Caucus in negotiations with the White House and Congressional leadership to deliver bipartisan solutions for the American people.
The nonpartisan Lugar Center ranks Dean as the 13th most bipartisan out of 435 Members of Congress. He has been named a Fiscal Hero by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and was recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with the Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship in the 116th and 117th Congress.
Dean has two adult daughters, Daniela and Pia. He lives in Wayzata, Minnesota with his wife, Annalise, and Henry the Norwich Terrier.
Having built and managed both large and small businesses, Dean understands firsthand the challenge of balancing the books and the danger of spending more than you generate. Dean will advocate for commonsense approaches to reducing our debt and deficits, including reforming the budgeting process, using technology to make government more efficient, creating a more fair tax system, and prioritizing spending based on return on investment to taxpayers. Here’s his plan
Take action to reduce our national debt
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act burdened future generations with an additional $1.9 trillion in debt at a time when we should have been reducing the deficit. Emergency spending to address the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened our fiscal position. Going forward, Dean is committed to doing what he can to make fiscal responsibility an American concern. Congress could also take quick action to save taxpayer dollars through an orderly military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan ($440 billion in savings over 10 years), negotiating prescription drug prices through Medicare ($230 billion in savings over 10 years), and passing comprehensive immigration reform ($170 billion in savings over 10 years).
Make government more efficient
Dean has been an active participant in the effort to modernize Congress, which is a 19th Century institution operating in a 21st Century world. Businesses and individuals have already adopted new ways of doing things to save time and money, and Congress should too. And while the government does not operate like a business, Dean believes more emphasis should be placed on efficient spending through ROI analyses and regular audits of government spending to ensure they are delivering results and value.
Ensure tax policy disproportionately benefits middle-income Americans
Elements of the 2017 tax bill were positive, including the reduction in the corporate tax rate to make U.S. businesses more competitive and to repatriate overseas profits back to the U.S. Still, 83% of the benefits went to the top 1% of earners, meaning the bill exploded the deficit without providing most Americans relief in the long-term. Dean believes the wealthiest Americans must pay their fair share in taxes, and he’ll work to end the special giveaways and sweetheart deals for special interests in the tax code.
Reconvene a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility
While President Obama made an effort to restore fiscal responsibility through the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the report produced by the Commission did not reach the required threshold to be sent to Congress, and most of its ideas fell by the wayside. Now, with our country even deeper in debt, Dean supports reconvening a commission to explore opportunities for bipartisan reforms to reduce spending and use tax dollars more efficiently without harming the most vulnerable.
Jobs and the economy
Dean is an entrepreneur and job-creator who understands the realities of running a business and making a payroll. Growing up, Dean was taught the value of hard work and that success is to be measured not by how much one collects, rather by how much is shared with the people and communities that make that success possible. From bussing tables and starting his own small business as a teenager to leading one of Minnesota’s most well-known companies – and now, to co-owning a small chain of four coffee shops – those lessons still guide Dean and shape his views on public policy. Here’s Dean’s plan
Make healthcare more affordable and accessible
The rising cost of healthcare and health insurance is the top challenge facing people and employers of all sizes, but particularly small businesses. Dean is committed to making healthcare affordable and accessible to all Americans by redesigning the healthcare-delivery model and increasing coverage options for businesses and their employees. Read more.
Solidify Minnesota as an innovation hub
Minnesota is a leader in cutting-edge technological innovations in clean energy, healthcare, agriculture, and IT. Dean will build on that long history as an innovation hub by advocating for federal investment in Minnesota, expanding access to start-up capital, creating targeted tax incentives for innovation, and investing in programs like the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer and in research, such as through the National Institutes of Health.
Incentivize employee ownership of more businesses
In the 1940’s, Dean’s great-grandfather instituted one of the country’s first documented employee profit-sharing plans, and many Minnesota businesses followed suit. Dean knows that when employees share in ownership—and success—it’s good for everyone. That’s why he will promote incentives to expand employee profit-sharing plans and employee stock-ownership plans (ESOPs) to more American businesses.
Educate Minnesotans for the jobs of today—and tomorrow
Over two-thirds of 21st-century jobs will require education beyond high school, but not every student needs a four-year degree to earn a good living. That’s why Dean will work to ensure that all types of education and training after high school—including college, apprenticeships and work-based learning—are affordable and accessible to Minnesotans of all ages. Read more.
No one who works hard for a living should live in poverty. Wages are an important part of that equation, but affordable healthcare, child and family care, affordable housing, transportation and a secure retirement are key components of economic security. As a pragmatic problem-solver, Dean will advocate for common-sense policies in all those areas, so that businesses can afford to pay livable wages and workers can adequately provide for themselves and their families.
Expand markets for businesses through fair trade agreements
As someone who’s done business all over the world, Dean knows how important well-negotiated trade deals are for American businesses. Businesses and economies expand when middle-income families have more money to spend, and when American products and services can access overseas markets. That’s why Dean supported the recently-passed USMCA agreement, and it’s also why he opposes the current Administration’s dangerous and arbitrary tariffs and escalating trade war.
Clean water and a healthy planet
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Dean knows we are blessed with abundant natural resources. Generations of Minnesotans have prospered thanks to our legacy of responsibly managing those resources. We now must ensure that our children and grandchildren have the same opportunities to breathe clean air and drink clean water, to enjoy the outdoors, and to build sustainable businesses. Here’s what Dean will do
Protect the Boundary Waters
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is one of the most treasured and pristine wilderness areas in the country, which is why Dean is opposed to anything that could threaten it—including copper-nickel mining in the area. After being elected, Dean co-authored the Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act to do just that. Dean will always be a proactive voice for the protection of the BWCA as well as other wilderness areas and national monuments, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is also under threat by the current Administration and some in Congress.
Keep aquatic invasive species out of our lakes and rivers
Invasive species—like zebra mussels, Eurasian milfoil and others—have infested Lake Minnetonka and many other lakes in the 3rd District and around Minnesota. While state and local efforts are essential, invasive species don’t stop at state borders. Preventing international ships from dumping their ballast water in the Great Lakes and spreading invasive species requires a federal response, and Dean is committed to building on multi-state compacts and cooperation between governments at all levels in the Great Lakes region. Dean also supports federal research into new treatment methods, so that infestation by aquatic invasive species will no longer be a death sentence for a lake.
Stop the rollback of a half-century of environmental progress
Since President Nixon signed the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972, our country has seen significant improvements in our water quality, including here in Minnesota where the law halted the dumping of raw sewage, industrial waste and slaughterhouse discharge into the Mississippi River. But the Trump administration has acted to strip away decades of environmental protections for short-term gain, including recent attempts to roll back water-quality standards for many rivers, streams and wetlands without congressional approval or public input. Dean opposes the short-sighted, anti-environmental policies of this Administration and will work to protect the CWA.
Women’s health and economic security
Women make $0.80 for every $1 a man makes, their healthcare is under attack, and the #MeToo movement exposed the rampant sexism that still exists in our society. And while we cannot legislate decency, Dean’s plan will help level the playing field for women in the workplace and create equity in healthcare, wages and opportunity in these ways
Guarantee equal pay for equal work
The Equal Pay Act was passed more than 50 years ago, and yet a substantial wage gap still exists between men and women—and particularly women of color. That’s why Dean was an original cosponsor of, voted for and helped pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Dean will also work to address the wage gap through increasing the federal minimum wage and making it easier for women to have families without jeopardizing their careers.
Commonsense paid leave policies
Dean supports paid leave policies that would allow women—and men—to care for a newborn or aging family member without risk of losing their jobs or being demoted. Dean believes paid leave policies are good for kids, parents and businesses, too.
Comprehensive health care coverage
Dean supports the protections provided in the Affordable Care Act that prevent women from being charged more than men, and he opposes efforts to repeal or undermine them. He is pro-choice and will work to ensure that women have access to comprehensive, high-quality and affordable care—including reproductive care—throughout their lives.
Eliminate harassment in the workplace
There is no place for harassment of any kind in the workplace. Sexual harassment, in particular, cannot be tolerated, and Dean supports efforts to educate workers and employers, hold violators accountable, and ensure safe and respectful workplaces for all people.
Veterans services and support
Americans are unified in our belief that we must support those who have served our nation and defended our liberty—but that’s not always the case in Washington, DC. Veterans and their families must be a priority when they’re sent into harm’s way; and they must remain a priority when they come home. Here’s what Dean is working to do
Ensure a world class VA health system
The Veterans Administration must have the resources necessary to meet the increasing needs of veterans and enable it to serve effectively as the medical home of every veteran in its care. Community care and related private sector programs must supplement and coordinate with VA services, not replace them—and private sector services must not result in gaps, delays, or defunding of essential VA care.
Address veterans mental health, TBI and PTSD
A significant percentage of veterans, especially those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, suffer from major depression, PTSD, or TBI. The VA must have sufficient resources for veteran outreach to identify those who need help and to perform the essential research that enables prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. VA resources should be coordinated with innovative private sector services (e.g., telehealth) when appropriate.
End veteran homelessness
While there was a 2.1% decline in veteran homelessness nationwide in 2019, at one point, over 37,000 were still experiencing homelessness. No veteran should ever be without shelter. That’s why Dean supports fully funding existing homelessness programs and expanding coordinated efforts in local communities to identify veterans at risk and to help provide solutions to their housing challenges.
Simplify the administrative process
Many veterans struggle to understand and navigate the VA system to apply for and receive the benefits to which they are entitled. The VA should place a priority on simplifying and streamlining the eligibility, benefits, and related administrative processes.
Enhance veterans’ education benefits
America built its middle class post-WWII in large part with a generous and effective GI Bill. Those education benefits have eroded in the ensuing years, presenting less opportunity to today’s veterans. America owes opportunity to those who have served honorably and must provide sufficient education benefits that enable our returning veterans to reintegrate into civilian life and continue to make contributions to American society.
Higher education and job training
Minnesota’s renowned public education system and varied post-secondary options make our state an ideal place to earn a living, raise a family and start a business. It’s time we build on that legacy by ensuring our higher education system is prepared to train and equip our young people with the skills they’ll need to compete in a global economy. That includes affordable four-year options, but also greater awareness of the many opportunities afforded by a two-year degree. Here’s Dean’s plan
Ensure a range of high-quality education options after high school
Almost two-thirds of new jobs will require some education and training after high school, but a traditional four-year college degree is not the only path to a successful career. Many “new collar” jobs pay well and don’t require a BA, and increasingly, many Americans will require continuing education throughout their working lives. That’s why Dean supports federal pilot funding for innovative ideas like three-year degrees that combine high school and college, competency-based education, and “last mile” training so that states and localities can explore options that are best for their communities.
Make college more affordable for more families
For those seeking four-year degrees, Dean supports expanded federal student aid (including student loans and Pell Grants, which have not kept up with inflation) and allowing refinancing of existing student loan debt at lower interest rates. It’s unfair that college debt is generally subject to higher interest rates than automobile and other consumer loans. Dean also believes we should look to the states for best practices on providing free or reduced tuition at two-year schools and community colleges. Lastly, Dean is an advocate for loan-forgiveness programs for those entering high-impact but low-paying fields.
Help students and families make informed choices
Our federal student-aid system is needlessly complex. Education and training after high school are one of the best investments an individual and family can make—if they choose the right course of study and program. Many 21st-century jobs did not exist a few years ago, and others—like manufacturing jobs—are radically different than in years past. Dean will work to make career and financial-aid counseling available to Minnesota students beginning in middle school, and work to close the “exposure gap” by supporting high school internship programs and apprenticeships to help every young person find and pursue the best education and career path for them.
Ensure higher education teaches in-demand knowledge and skills
Obtaining higher education and training after high school is costly—in time and dollars. Dean will support policies that foster partnerships between higher-education institutions and employers to create smooth pathways to good first jobs in growing sectors of our economy. And he is exploring the possibility of giving schools and other training providers more “skin in the game” by tying a portion of their federal funding to their students’ employment outcomes.
Both parties have failed to solve glaring problems with our immigration system, and too many politicians are using the issue to divide rather than unite us. Dean believes we need bipartisan, comprehensive and fair reforms to address our immigration challenges—which is why he took two bipartisan trips to the Southern border during last year’s humanitarian crisis, and is now co-chairing a bipartisan immigration reform working group in the hopes of inspiring long-overdue action. Dean wants to
Protect children and keep families together
Dean was horrified by the Trump Administration’s family separation policy, the effects of which he witnessed with his own eyes. He will fight any future iteration of that policy, and work to ensure appropriate resources are available to adequately care for children and families at the border. Dean also cosponsored and voted for the American Dream and Promise Act, which creates a pathway to citizenship for children and young adults here under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as well as those here on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
Secure our borders with effective approaches
We need to stop criminals, gang members and terrorists from crossing our borders, but 21st-century threats require 21st-century technology. Rather than a coast-to-coast border wall, Dean supports giving law enforcement the technologies, tools and resources they need to prevent illegal border crossings, including surveillance cameras, drones and underground sensors. Dean also supports security and safety enhancements to our ports of entry, where the majority of illicit drugs and other trafficking occurs.
Create fair pathways to earned, legal citizenship
One of Dean’s proudest moments in Congress so far was working with Democrats and Republicans to ensure that Liberians here legally under DED – all of whom have called Minnesota home for over 20 years – were finally given a permanemt pathway to citizenship. Going forward, Dean believes any serious immigration plan must include an earned pathway to citizenship for otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants. Comprehensive reform should also include streamlining the naturalization system so those seeking to enter the U.S. legally don’t have to wait years for citizenship.
Ensure businesses have access to skilled workers when there’s a shortage
People come from all over the world for education and training at American universities. Upon graduation, many then return to their home countries only to compete against American business and economic interests. As a part of comprehensive immigration reform, Dean supports making it easier to keep highly skilled people in the U.S. so that businesses have access to specialized workers, particularly for jobs for which there aren’t enough Americans with the needed skills to fill open positions.
Prosecute and deport violent criminals
Dean believes that anyone who commits a serious or violent crime should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, without exception, and that those who are also undocumented immigrants should be deported after serving their time. Local law enforcement should be able to stay focused on addressing those serious threats to public safety rather than being asked to also enforce federal immigration laws.
Millions of retirees count on Social Security and Medicare, and a majority of those who need nursing home care depend on Medicaid. Dean believes in protecting such earned benefits—not cutting or privatizing them. That’s why he will seek to strengthen these programs and ensure their solvency into the future. Here are his priorities
Protect Social Security benefits
Retirees and those near retirement age have paid into the system and made plans based on a promised level of benefits. However, without any change in policy, Social Security will only be able to pay about 77% of its promised benefits by the year 2034. Dean will fight to protect Social Security from being cut, privatized, or reduced for Minnesota seniors. He’ll also work to ensure that Social Security benefits keep up with rising costs. As a place to start, Dean is an advocate for a mechanism by which wealthier retirees may voluntarily redirect their benefits to lower-income retirees.
Strengthen Medicare by controlling rising healthcare costs
Medicare is a foundational source of healthcare for retirees, but ballooning costs are undermining many people’s ability to afford care. Cutting benefits is not the answer; working to control and reduce healthcare costs is the only way forward. That’s why Dean supports redesigning the care delivery model by rewarding prevention and health rather than procedures and hospitalizations. And Dean will fight hard to ensure that Medicare can negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, which would save American taxpayers approximately $240 billion over 10 years.
Protect access to nursing home care through Medicaid
One of three people turning 65 will need nursing home care at some point in their lives. At an average annual cost of $82,000 for such care, 6 of 10 Americans in nursing homes depend on Medicaid to afford it. Proposals to block-grant federal Medicaid funding would limit the ability of states, including Minnesota, to provide for nursing home care. Medicaid is also the largest provider of mental health and opioid addiction care—another reason Dean will continue to protect the program on which so many families and communities depend.
Support caregivers and expand options for seniors to live independently
Personal care attendants often earn low wages despite providing necessary care for many elderly and disabled Americans. And with tens of millions of Boomers in or nearing retirement, the need for quality, dependable caregivers will only increase. Dean supports ensuring caregivers are properly trained and compensated, and will support policies that provide options for seniors to live independently at home for as long as possible.
Campaign finance reform
Dean is a Vice Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force and has been a leading voice for campaign finance and ethics reforms in Congress, helping pass the most sweeping reform bill in recent history. Dean is also the only member of Congress who refuses to accept any money from PACs, special interest groups, federal lobbyists or his fellow members of Congress and their campaign committees. While he ultimately supports overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Dean believes these are the steps we can we can take that would make a meaningful difference in the meantime
Increase transparency in political spending
Dean believes we must shine a bright light on the massive amount of so-called “dark money” being poured into our elections. That starts with making the DISCLOSE Act, which Dean voted for and helped to pass in the House, the law of the land. This bill would require anyone spending money to influence federal elections to disclose their donors. Dean also cosponsored the Honest Ads Act, which would apply the same disclosure standards to online ads that are applied to all other political ads.
Lower contribution and expenditure limits
Dean supports lowering both contribution and spending limits, and he wants to enhance efforts to encourage greater participation from Americans contributing at lower dollar amounts. That way, candidates would have the ability to raise the resources they need from a broader base of people, rather than relying on a small number of wealthy donors.
Eliminate foreign interference in our elections
Dean supports legislation like the Get Foreign Money Out of Elections Act, which would close a campaign finance loophole that allows American-registered but foreign-owned and controlled corporations to funnel unlimited amounts of money into U.S. elections.
Close the revolving door of money and influence
Dean is working to close the so-called “revolving door” that exists between members of Congress and individuals working in the federal government who then cash in on their connections and influence by taking lucrative lobbying jobs. He also supports barring political appointees from lobbying for five years after serving in the Executive Branch.
Inspire collaboration and increase participation
Dean believes Election Day should be a national holiday to afford more Americans the opportunity to exercise their right and responsibility to vote. He also supports electoral reforms— including requiring states to establish independent, multi-party citizen redistricting commissions; ranked choice voting; term limits; and the nationwide expansion of Minnesota’s successful same-day voter registration rules.
Healthcare for all Americans
Twenty-eight million Americans still lack health insurance, and as many as 30,000 people die every year as a result. Millions more cannot afford the insurance they have and are one health crisis away from bankruptcy. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was an important step forward in providing critical protections for patients, but more needs to be done to bring down the cost of care and expand coverage. Here’s what Dean is working to do
Fix and improve the Affordable Care Act
Rather than dismantle and repeal the Affordable Care Act, as the current Administration and some in Congress are working to do, Dean supports bipartisan proposals to stabilize insurance markets established by the ACA and bring more competition to areas lacking insurance options. He also supports reforms to end the practice of surprise medical billing and ensure greater transparency in the cost of care.
Expand Medicare as an option for all Americans
Lowering the cost of health care for his constituents has always been a top priority for Dean. That’s why he’s supporting legislation to allow individuals and families to buy into their state’s Medicaid program while allowing Americans with employer-provided care that works for them the freedom to keep it. By paving the way for Minnesotans to become policy innovators, we create an atmosphere of competition that would result in affordable, high quality care for the entrepreneurs, small business owners and service industry workers who don’t qualify for ACA subsidies and need healthcare now more than ever.
Reduce the cost of prescription drugs
Dean cosponsored, voted for and helped to pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019. Americans currently subsidize the entire world’s prescription drug prices, but this bill would require Medicare to negotiate on behalf of all Americans – whether they are Medicare beneficiaries or not – in order to achieve significantly lower costs. It also reinvests some of the savings into research for new cures that could potentially save billions in healthcare costs annually. Dean also supports making it easier for generic drugs to be tested and enter the market faster, which would save countless lives.
Reform the care delivery model
While the ACA represented an historic expansion of healthcare coverage, it didn’t do enough to reform the system and the cost-drivers that lead to higher healthcare costs for all Americans. Dean says often that we have a sick-care system, not a healthcare system, and we need to change the incentive structure to reward prevention over procedures. That’s why Dean will not support any plan that fails to include significant reforms to the care delivery model in order to lower costs.
Improve telehealth to ensure access to care
Dean believes that 21st century problems must be met with 21st century solutions. That means combining technology and preventative methods to meet the healthcare needs of millions of Americans during this pandemic. That’s why Dean introduced the bipartisan Telehealth Coverage and Payment Parity Act, legislation that would provide permanent coverage and payment equity for telehealth services at the federal level. He believes that during times like these it is absolutely paramount that we deliver care, and to do that effectively we must be flexible.
We average nearly one mass shooting every single day in this country, and have suffered over 200 school shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook – not to mention recent rampages at concerts, shopping centers and places of worship. As long as members of Congress fear the financial and political power of the gun lobby, however, we cannot meaningfully address our gun violence epidemic. Dean is not beholden to the gun lobby or any other special interests, and as a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Dean has made addressing gun violence a top priority, advocating for policies to
Expand background checks to all purchases
Over 77% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats agree on the need to close the gun-show loophole and require background checks on all firearm purchases. That is why Dean voted in favor of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which passed the House for the first time in 2019 but is now sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk in the Senate.
Reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban
In the 10-year period during which the Assault Weapons Ban was in place, gun massacres decreased dramatically—and they’ve increased dramatically ever since it expired. That is why Dean became an original cosponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019. Hand grenades, bazookas, machine guns and other weapons that create mass carnage in a matter of seconds are already banned from our streets; it is time to take the same reasonable approach to assault weapons like those that have been used in the deadliest mass shootings.
Keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people
Dean supports common-sense measures to keep guns away from domestic abusers, violent criminals and suspected terrorists, including “no fly no buy” proposals. Dean also supports extreme risk protection order laws which allow concerned family members or law enforcement officials to petition a court for temporary restrictions of a person’s access to guns if they present a clear danger to themselves or others.
Continue to fund CDC research into gun violence
Dean believes we must declare gun violence a national health and public safety crisis, which would require federal agencies to work more closely together to investigate the root causes of the epidemic and collaborate on solutions to reduce the incidences of gun violence, including suicides. He will continue to support funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do this work in the meantime.
Support mental health and anti-bullying programs
Dean understands that our public schools lack the resources necessary to provide adequate numbers of mental health professionals and counselors who can help identify and treat children suffering from mental illness, and he will work to fix that. He also believes we need stronger anti-bullying measures—like Minnesota’s Safe and Supportive Schools Act—in our public schools around the country.
Dean knows the threats to humanity posed by climate change are real and require immediate action. Extreme weather events like droughts and flooding are already having devastating impacts on our habitat, which is why Dean is working to make our communities more resilient, create incentives to speed our transition to a clean-energy economy, and reclaim America’s leadership in reducing carbon emissions. Here’s how
Reclaim America’s role as an international leader
Dean supports rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, not because it’s the solution to the climate crisis but because he believes the U.S. should be a leader and not a follower – or worse – when it comes to addressing climate change. Dean will actively work to provide a check on this Administration’s reckless and shortsighted attacks on the environment, and restore America’s role as an international leader in curbing climate change.
Use market-based solutions to begin reducing carbon emissions
Dean is a cosponsor and strong supporter of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, bipartisan legislation that will put a price on carbon to reduce emissions through a market-based approach. All of the revenue collected would be returned directly to American citizens, which would help offset any increases in energy costs. The proposal has the support of Democrats, Republicans, business leaders and climate activists alike.
Expand incentives for clean-energy production
Dean will work to incentivize renewable energy from wind and solar, and for infrastructure investments to develop a clean and reliable electrical grid. He supports extending the 30% federal tax credit for solar and other renewable energy, rather than letting the credits disappear altogether after 2021, as they will under current law.
Increase energy efficiency and the resiliency of our “built environment”
Increasing energy efficiency is the most cost-effective and affordable way to reduce fossil-fuel consumption. Dean supports the restoration of expired federal tax credits for energy-efficiency upgrades and the adoption of building-code standards that will save Americans billions of dollars on their energy bills, create domestic jobs, and improve public health by reducing pollution. And Dean supports enhanced resiliency in our infrastructure and buildings, so that they can better withstand extreme weather events and achieve “passive survivability” if power is lost for an extended period of time.
A world-class public education
Dean believes a world-class public education system is the foundation of the American promise. But with dramatic achievement gaps and declining resources, too many schools are struggling, too many teachers are overly burdened, and too many students are left behind. Here’s Dean’s plan to address these challenges
Fully fund federal education mandates
Increasing funding for federal mandates is Dean’s top priority when it comes to public education. He is a cosponsor of the IDEA Full Funding Act, which would fully fund the federal government’s portion of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act over a 10-year period. This would ease the financial burdens on school districts in our community, helping to provide them with the resources to hire teachers and support professionals and equipping them with the tools and training they need to succeed.
Support and encourage teachers
Dean supports teacher-preparation programs and other efforts to help recruit more candidates from under-represented communities into the profession. He also believes the federal government should support and build upon intensive mentoring programs during new teachers’ first years, which will help them succeed and keep more of them in the profession. Dean wishes to elevate the esteem and compensation for teachers—which he believes to be the most important and impactful profession in our society.
Expand early learning opportunities
Dean supports increased investments in early learning opportunities, as research shows that every dollar invested can yield a return of up to seven dollars—once that child has become an educated and productive member of society. Dean also supports efforts to close the “exposure” gap—getting more young people out of the school and into hospitals, professional offices, manufacturing facilities and other industries to expand their sense of what is possible.
More counselors and mental health professionals
Dean supports the expansion of full-service community schools and investments to increase the number of mental health professionals and counselors. This will help relieve the burdens on teachers and provide critical support for kids, which will ultimately save money—and lives.