Kate Luthner is running for the Senate to be a voice for the suburban family; focus on education, internet infrastructure, and value spending. How did she get here? Here is a short bio in her own words;
I grew up in New York, in a multi-generational home. My grandmother, a women’s anthropologist and avid feminist, worked to build affordable housing to get people out of the cycle of poverty. My grandfather taught in the inner-city, believing that every kid could learn and deserved an education. My Irish immigrant father built a veterinary practice with my psychologist mother, so we all had a front row seat to what it takes to run a small business. As a life-long Girl Scout, I earned my Gold Award (equivalent to Eagle Scout) in my senior year of high school, while also participating in the Civil Air Patrol, where I learned both military science and leadership. Both groups instilled and reinforced the importance of service to the community.
With the support of my family and the inspiration of some great teachers, I studied History and Political Science at Cabrini College (now Cabrini University) in Radnor PA under an academic scholarship award, graduating in 3 years with highest honors. My college encouraged civic involvement, and I volunteered in the community for Habitat for Humanity and several other organizations in urban Philadelphia. Leaving my home and living in another state gave me valuable time to find myself and gain perspective on the issues facing different communities.
In 2001, my husband accepted a job in Minnesota, and we moved halfway across the country together. I looked for a position I could jump right into, and found that there was a demand for substitute teachers. If you want a crash course in the education system, the differences between urban and suburban districts, and a cross-section of the Minnesota way, try substitute teaching. It was enlightening and exciting.
My next opportunity came in the corporate world, with a position at a subcontractor for IBM. Working in technical manufacturing as a project manager and purchasing agent taught me much about what is being built, and what is not, in our country. I honed logistics and negotiation skills while learning about domestic manufacturing. After a few years, and a move to Forest Lake, where we purchased our first home, I took a position at Polaris Industries in Wyoming MN in the powertrain purchasing group. At Polaris, I learned about the culture of the midwest hunter and farmer, and gained respect for a lifestyle that did not exist where I grew up. I also spent years learning more about manufacturing, business, project management, and international business, as I traveled all over the world for Polaris. During this time, I earned my MBA at the University of St Thomas.
In 2010, I had my third child and made the hard choice to leave Polaris and focus on family. Full-time parent life is the hardest job ever. I used every management, leadership, psychology, and research skill I ever learned to make it through those first years. Stay at home parenthood is rewarding, both in the ways you might think, but also in opportunities for school and community involvement. Kids force you to look beyond yourself, and to see the good in the bad. Most importantly, you will work to make the world better for them and their peers.
In 2016, I ran the VoteYes group for a Forest Lake area school levy. While we did not succeed in that election, the need did not go away, and it did pass in 2017. This rightsizing for the budget was more well timed then anyone thought, as it improved the systems and supports for technology in the classrooms that became so necessary during the recent Distance Learning situation. I did not organize the 2017 referendum because I ran for School Board and I was successfully elected. I have served on the Board for a year and a half and enjoy seeing the inner workings of the district and the passion for education that is the basis for every decision.
During my time as a parent and then on the board, I went to the State Capitol multiple times to beg for better school funding. We were granted meetings every time, and politely listened to, but I never felt we had a true advocate at in state government. Year after year there was no meaningful change. Given my upbringing, the answer is not to gripe about a situation in the privacy of my echo chamber. I need to personally stand up for what I believe needs to be done.