Folks, we have to change how we are treating one another. We are all in this together. Let's figure out how to do this, while treating each other with respect and dignity. Through working together, we can build up, not tear down, our communities.
We will heal when we start to hear and treat each other as equals and work in harmony.
Issues Important to Ralph
Healthcare: Accessible, Affordable, Quality Health Care for all Minnesotans
From a perspective of:
1. Having dealt as a family with a major medical expense,
2. Providing healthcare benefits to employees and knowing the impact that has on a business
3. Being protected by the Minimum Essential Requirements within the ACA
Climate: Mitigation of climate change through viable, practical, scalable methods:
He is acting now by building solar, creating jobs - rather than talking about it
Greater Minnesota: Assuring healthy, vibrant rural economies with job and growth opportunities, through:
Demanding equitable support for out-state counties, cities, schools, and businesses.
Push relentlessly for rural broadband availability
A key issue for Ralph is making sure all Minnesotans have access to affordable, accessible, high-quality health care. Many families need assistance to ensure medical issues will not jeopardize their family’s financial security and future. The lack of health care security is a major cause of bankruptcy and, homelessness and is a source of great stress to senior citizens with limited incomes.
Ralph’s family knows the value of the key protections of the Affordable Care Act. His off-farm job was eliminated when his wife’s cancer was discovered. Under the old system, the Kaehlers would have been without insurance due to the insurance caps and preexisting conditions limitations. They were fortunate to be able to purchase insurance to cover Mena’s treatment and healthcare (she is now cancer-free) without putting their family farm at risk.
Ralph and Mena
As a provider of insurance to employees, Ralph also understands the impact of escalating employee health care costs on business owners. While it is a significant investment and stress upon a start-up company, the Kaehlers believed offering quality health care benefits to Novel Energy employees was important, even though the company was not required to do so by law.
Finding viable, practical, and scalable solutions to mitigate climate change is a major policy priority for Kaehler. It also makes for great economic sense. He’s seen in his solar company’s economic impact in our state. Not only through direct job hires, but through the jobs created by the companies they work with. Solar makes financial sense as well as environmental sense.
He is a co-founder of Novel Energy Solutions, LLC which has developed more than 200 MW of renewable energy in Minnesota—the equivalent of planting 30 million trees – and growing every day. Their efforts have also created more than 100 jobs and brought more than $500 M in economic development to the State of Minnesota.
Ralph at his farm's solar array
“We need to deal with our changing environment. To do that, it must be economically viable, or it will not work. Our energy portfolio should be a blended solution, not one size fits all.”
"We are seeing a change in our environment – ask any farmer. The world will be fine for me. Like most Grandparents, however, I’m working for our grandkids. That’s what we have to think about."
As a lifetime rural Minnesotan, Ralph understands the opportunities and challenges for an outstate community to thrive. It is difficult for companies to be competitive when they do not have the infrastructure, such as access to high-speed internet, to successfully run their businesses. Additionally, employers find it difficult to attract talent when the schools are struggling to keep enrollment, rural health clinics are closing, childcare is difficult to find and public transportation is limited.
We need to come together and prioritize issues to address these stumbling blocks. There are solutions. Ralph is the first to admit he does not have all the answers. “It will take the willingness of folks on both sides of the aisle to implement ideas brought to us by the stakeholders in the communities. They are the ones with boots on the ground. They know what needs to be addressed, and what is working. Together we are better.”