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Terri Bonoff was a Democratic candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the 3rd Congressional District  of Minnesota. She was seeking the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN).
Positions, record and controversies
Iraq: My first priority in Congress will be ending the war in Iraq and bringing our soldiers home. That is both my unwavering commitment and the lens through which I will evaluate proposed policy.
We are struggling with the complexities of this war and there are no easy solutions. We must stop arguing amongst ourselves as to the tactics, let go of the continual focus on the popular opinion polls and use the power of the office to turn the governing of Iraq over to where it belongs, the Iraqi people.
The highest level of direct communication must be used so pitfalls can be identified and solutions negotiated. Our soldiers are serving courageously and valiantly. Yet they are now caught in the middle of a civil war. They have served this country magnificently, but you can’t expect to win a political battle without a clear mission.
The status quo is unsustainable and our country has borne a tremendous cost. Withdrawal comes with a price as well. We must exit in a manner that will minimize casualties and chaos.
The Economy: We must restore fiscal responsibility to Washington and put away the credit card for our children’s future.
Real security means paying down our national debt. When the financial health of our country is built on debt to China, India, Japan and Great Britain, we know we’re compromising our security. That calls for grave concern. Our security is at risk and our eye is on the wrong ball.
The federal budget is going in the wrong direction and the debt we leave our children is increasing every day. We must restore fiscal responsibility in Washington and pay down this debt. We must hear the voices of future generations and provide them with the real security that comes from having a strong and growing economy.
Investment is good for our country, but priorities must be established and fiscal restraint must be exhibited. Services cost money, but inaction can cost even more. By diverting some of the billions of dollars being spent in Iraq, once we bring troops home, we have the ability to invest in a different set of priorities. We must ensure high quality affordable health care, perform overdue road and bridge maintenance, create a clean energy economy and make essential investments on behalf of our children.
The Environment: Hurricanes, drought, and wildfires are frightening reminders that ignoring global warming is dangerous. Are we listening?
We must act with urgency to turn around the devastating effects of global climate change. Nature is the gift we have been given. Caring for our planet is our responsibility. Investing in a green economy is our opportunity. Climate patterns are changing—global warming is a reality. We can no longer afford to ignore this growing problem.
Last year Minnesota passed groundbreaking legislation—setting the strictest renewable energy standards in the country. Now it is time for the United States to step up and demand the same kind of action and innovation throughout the entire country. This is an unprecedented economic opportunity for Minnesota to be at the forefront of the renewable energy market, with our abundance of natural resources.
The environment poses unique challenges at the local level as well. As a lifelong resident of the Third Congressional District, I am proud of this district's efforts in keeping our water clean and prevent invasive species in our lakes and rivers. With such beautiful and fragile resources in our backyard, we must make sure our national policies reflect and support our local concerns and efforts.
Education: We must ensure our youngest children come to school ready to learn and our graduates leave ready to compete in the global economy.
The first thing I did when elected to the Minnesota Senate was to sponsor and pass a resolution calling for Congress to fully fund the Federal government's commitment to special education in our classrooms. Washington has yet to listen, and continues to make the states responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance costs. In Minnesota, this has left school districts all over the state with no choice but to levy property owners to keep the school doors open.
No Child Left Behind has been damaging to our schools, as teachers and administrators have been forced to focus their energy on excessive testing and away from delivering a well-rounded education. The overemphasis on a small subset of learners that do not test well has come at the expense of the majority of students. We must leave this failed policy behind.
As a Mom, I want what’s best for my children. As a Minnesotan, I want what’s best for our state. As a nation, we must reject steadily increasing classroom size across Minnesota and country. We must focus our priorities in delivering all children a world-class education.
Foreign Policy / National Security: Security must be the number one responsibility of our national leaders. We must focus our resources to bringing the world's network of terrorists to justice—rather than policing a sectarian war in Iraq.
There are tangible steps we must take at home to make our country more secure. A diplomatic agenda is at the heart of my blueprint for a brighter future. Diplomacy represents our only chance to head off the problems ahead. I will advocate for inviting those who do not stand beside us to reconsider, looking for ways to be a bridge between ourselves and those we have not gotten along with, working to find common ground because that’s what I have done all my life.
We must protect our country’s public assets – airports, power plants and seaports – and not outsource maintenance and security contracts without oversight.
We must better regulate the flow of goods and people in and out of our country. We must invest in alternative energy sources so we are not reliant on unstable and often unfriendly countries for the oil that currently powers our economy.
The sacrifices of our servicemen and women must be honored by making sure they and their families are supported during deployment and adequately cared for upon return from service.
Health Care: Every person must have access to high quality affordable health care without placing an unfair burden on business.
Our leaders must act decisively to increase coverage, reduce costs and move towards universal coverage while preserving a system that promotes world-class innovation and top-notch care.
As the first wave of baby-boomers retires, we must address the growing gap between expectations for care and resources to fulfill our promises. State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was an opportunity to cover the growing numbers of uninsured children throughout our country, yet was vetoed.
Small business owners throughout our community are forced to pay annual double-digit cost increases for health care services. Meanwhile our young adults are electing to go without health insurance because their first jobs out of college don’t offer affordable health benefits.
Despite having the best quality of care in the world, the growing cost of health care is negatively affecting more and more families and businesses. We must work together to ensure every American – man, woman and child – has access to quality, affordable health care.
Transportation: The 35W bridge tragedy serves as a reminder of our broken infrastructure. We must work together to rebuild and restore the roadways, highways and bridges of America, creating a pathway for economic progress and a better quality of life.
We have an opportunity and an obligation to prevent future disasters from occurring and to restore the public trust in the roads and bridges we all travel every day.
I have voted for transportation initiatives that would have addressed deferred maintenance, built capacity and increased transit options in each of my years at the Senate, only to see these efforts hijacked by partisan gridlock.
In my first year at the legislature I identified $40 million dollars of revenue that could be used for additional transportation funding without raising taxes. That policy, dedicating the sales tax for leased vehicles to transportation, became part of the Governor's transportation agenda last year. I served on the transportation conference committee for the last two years and helped successfully negotiate a bi-partisan agreement on the transportation bill.
We must make investments in our transportation system so we can drive to and from work safely. A Metro-Transit bus ride from Plymouth to Minneapolis should never take two hours. With traffic congestion growing in the Twin Cities apace with gas prices, we can no longer pass this issue off to our children in bonding indebtedness and broken promises.
Legislative Record: Entering the legislature after a career in business was both a challenge and a tremendous opportunity. The first initiative I introduced was a resolution calling on Congress to pay the Federal government's fair share of our special education costs. I was proud to see this pass the Senate unanimously, demonstrating our state’s bipartisan commitment to doing what’s right for our kids. Congress has yet to solve this problem. Because of this lack of Federal support, last year we spent our entire education budget increase on funding the growing costs of special education, at the expense of technology, more teachers, and early education opportunities.
As a businesswoman I believe that transparent budgeting with accountability for results is critical to a sound fiscal operation. I brought that value into our state legislature in 2006 when I successfully sponsored a bill that made our school systems more accountable to the public. Any taxpayer can now go online to the Department of Education’s website and see how much of their hard-earned money is going into the classroom in a consolidated, understandable financial format. We need this kind of transparency in all branches and at all levels of government.
In 2006, the faith community came to me with a growing concern over the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, asking that for something to be done at the state level. I brought the idea of financial divestment before numerous committees and because of that effort the Minnesota State Board of Investment is now leveraging its economic power to apply pressure on Sudan.
This past session a member of my community whose family had been torn apart by senseless acts of domestic violence courageously told her story to public safety officials and judicial committees. I sponsored, and the legislature passed, legislation on her behalf to protect victims of domestic violence. The "Terri Lee" law protects battered women, enhancing statewide domestic violence training for peace officers and standardizing court protection orders. Being able to pass a law which honors the memory of Terri Lee is one of my proudest legislative accomplishments.
These and other initiatives I have taken a leadership role on passed with bipartisan support, earning me the legislative endorsements of both business and labor groups throughout our community. My legislative effectiveness has come from working with members on both sides of the aisle and voting first and foremost to represent my district. I will bring this same bipartisan approach to Washington.
I am not a career politician. I am a mom, a wife, a community volunteer and a former business executive. I am the State Senator for Minnesota District 43 (Minnetonka, Plymouth and Medicine Lake) and a lifelong Minnesotan.
I grew up in the Third Congressional District. I was born and raised in Edina and graduated from Edina West High School. My family owned Jackson Graves, a chain of women’s clothing stores and one of the original stores at Southdale. I was proud of the way my Dad ran his business. He treated his employees like family and made sure he provided the kind of benefits that every employee deserves.
I graduated from Clark University in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology. My business career spanned twenty years. From my early years in marketing promotions at Tonka Toys to my executive role as Vice President/General Manager for the computer software division of Navarre Corporation and later Vice President of Marketing for all three Navarre divisions, my business experience has given me a unique perspective to see both the power of business and its responsibility.
I am the mother of four children. My sons are 19 and 23 and my stepson and stepdaughter are 17 and 20. Eight years ago I made a decision that has led me to this point. I left my job as an executive because I wanted to be at home with my teenage children. Having done that, I threw myself into community work, working to improve the organizations that were important to my children and the children of my community. I became President of Hopkins – Minnetonka Babe Ruth Baseball, where my skills in conflict resolution were truly tested! I joined the Hopkins Legislative Action Coalition and later helped lead that group in its fight for education funding and reform at the State Capitol.
I knew that once my teenagers were off to college, I would be faced with a decision to either return to the business community or take the next step in my passion for public service. I chose to run for public office and became the first Democrat to win the Senate seat in my District in 20 years. My “Uniting the Middle” campaign marked the beginning of a tidal wave of victories by moderate Democrats throughout Minnesota and the United States.
Money in politics
Committees and affiliations
Bonoff will be assigned committees if and when she is elected to Congress.
More background data
National and Community Organizations
* AFSCME Council 5 press release
* EMILY's List press release
* National Womens Political Caucus
Minnesota House and Senate Leadership
* Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher, District 60A
* Senate Majority Leader Lawrence Pogemiller, District 59
Minnesota 3rd Congressional District Legislators
* Senator John Doll, District 40
* Senator Ron Latz, District 44
* Senator Ann Rest, District 45
* Senator Linda Scheid, District 46
* Senator Leo Foley, District 47
* Senator Dan Larson, District 63
* Representative Maria Rudd, District 42A
* Representative John Benson, District 43B
* Representative Steve Simon, District 44A
* Representative Sandra Peterson, District 45A
* Representative Michael Nelson, District 46A
* Representative Denise Dittrich, District 47A
* Representative Linda Slocum, District 63B
Phone: (952) 607-6368
15704 Wayzata Blvd.