12A Murray Smart - Stevens County DFL

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Murray Smart for 12A
Meet Murray
I am a retired school counselor living in Beardsley, Minnesota.
I have always been part of a small community. I was born and raised in the southwestern Minnesota town of Windom. My father was a high school social studies and driver education teacher. My mother was a business teacher, social worker, small business owner and also worked for the city of Windom.
My family consists of my wife Cindy, our three children, and two grandchildren. We have lived in Beardsley since 1979. Cindy has been a music teacher, speech coach, postal worker, 4-H leader, 4-H judge, music judge, musician, and church treasurer. She is also a passionate gardener.
Learning is important to me. I have a Master of Education degree in School Counseling from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Bachelor of Science (Teaching) degree in Social Studies, Driver Education, and Coaching from Mankato State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement from Mankato State College.
I began my teaching career in Beardsley and spent five years teaching social studies, driver education, and coaching (junior high and assistant football and girls basketball). I then taught social studies for ten years in Beardsley-Browns Valley when they paired, and I continued my driver education and coaching there (football and boys junior high and varsity basketball). When that pairing ended, I moved to Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley as a school counselor/social studies teacher. After one year in C-G-B, I was hired as school counselor at Breckenridge and spent the final 21 years of my career there. I have taught driver education for my entire career and continue to teach it at Chokio-Alberta. I retired in 2016 after 37 years in education.
I have been involved with a variety of professional organizations through the years. I currently serve as Government Relations Co-Chair of the Minnesota School Counselors Association and the Chair of the Minnesota State ACT Council. I am a past President of the Minnesota School Counselors Association and the West Central School Counselors Association. I have served as a member of the North Dakota State College of Science Enrollment Services Advisory Board. I have also been honored to receive some awards, including Teacher of the Year at Beardsley-Browns Valley High School, Pheasant Conference Coach of the Year in Boys Basketball, and West Central School Counselor Association Counselor of the Year
I continue to be involved in professional organizations. I am a member of: the American School Counselors Association, Minnesota School Counselors Association, West Central School Counselors Association, Minnesota Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, National Education Association, Education Minnesota, and the Positive Coaching Alliance.
One recent accomplishment of my work in these organizations came from a team effort with members from several organizations. The result of our efforts was a 12 million dollar grant program, “Support Our Students.” It passed with bipartisan support in the Minnesota legislature. The grant allowed 77 schools in 36 school districts to hire: 40 school counselors, 21 school social workers, 7 chemical dependency counselors, 6 school psychologists, and 3 school nurses. 52% of the grants went to schools outside the 7-county metro area. The team who worked on this grant included members of the Minnesota School Counselors Association, the Minnesota School Social Workers Association, the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota, the Minnesota Association of College Admission Counselors, the National Alliance on Mental Health Minnesota, and Education Minnesota.
Why I Am Running
The issues and concerns of rural Minnesota need to be heard loud and clear.
I am committed to being a strong and independent voice for the people of House District 12A.
Our issues are many and varied. They include our youngest to our oldest citizens, the economies of our communities, our agricultural challenges, the roads and bridges where we drive, our health care at all stages of life, our communication networks, our schools and training options, our jobs and wages, our housing, our food supply, our natural resources, and the recreational opportunities that are unique to where we live, to name a few.
To find the best solutions to these issues, we need to communicate in a respectful and civil manner. We do that by listening to learn and asking to understand. Each person must be heard clearly so that the true meaning of every concern is understood.
I am concerned that the issues facing Minnesota, and rural Minnesota in particular, will not be solved unless we are able to work together and each share our unique knowledge and expertise. We need to remember that “everyone you meet knows something you don’t.” Each of us has something to share and has the right to be heard. I want to hear what you know, listen to your stories, and bring that understanding to represent your voice in our state government.
Our very best unified efforts will be required to reach solutions that best serve the people and places we call home. I value the voices of my rural Minnesota home, and I hope to represent those voices of House District 12A.
We all do better when each of us does better, and we do that by helping each other and working together. I look forward to working with you in finding solutions to the issues that we all face.
Health Care: I will work to see that every Minnesotan has access to high quality, affordable health care. All Minnesotans deserve affordable options and quality coverage for their unique health needs. Preventive health care should be a priority of our health care system. Premium costs, treatment costs, and drug costs must be made affordable. A health crisis should not lead to a financial crisis for any Minnesotan.
Education: I believe in our students, teachers, families, communities, and schools. I believe that every student in every Minnesota school shall have: access to the same basic education that is afforded to every other student, access to the full and complete range of educational professionals and student support personnel, access to all necessary materials, a safe and secure school in which to pursue an education, and a properly funded educational opportunity. I believe that every staff member of every school in the state of Minnesota shall: be fairly compensated, have a stable retirement system, be allowed to bargain collectively, and be treated with respect and dignity.
Rural Minnesota: The people of rural Minnesota must be heard and listened to. Our specific issues and concerns must be addressed. Our rural communities have a wide variety of unique challenges and needs. These issues include health care, infrastructure, hunger, agriculture, population issues, community services, jobs and wages, employment issues, and many others. Continued and ongoing attention and communication is vital to address these issues and more. I believe in rural Minnesota and will give these issues the continued attention they deserve at the state level.
Environment: Our climate is being disrupted. This is the only home we have and ever will have. I believe we owe it to our children, our grandchildren, and the generations after them to pass on to them a healthy, vibrant Earth. Teddy Roosevelt reminded all Americans that it was their duty to responsibly use - and not abuse - the nation’s natural wonders and natural resources. He also stressed that these wonders and resources belonged to the people and future generations. Our state is filled with natural wonders, and I want to make sure it continues that way for generations of Minnesotans to come.
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