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MN 2020 Candidate Questionnaire
Tama Theis District 14A


Describe your personal experience with skateboarding. Are you a skateboarder? Have you ever been a skateboarder? Do you personally know any skateboarders? What is your general perception of the activity?

My son skateboards and has since he was a teen. He advocated in St. Cloud for a skate park in the late 90s, early 2000s. I have worked with him and continued advocating after he graduated and was pleased that St. Cloud broke ground in the middle 2000s, That skate park was moved to its now open location just south of our Costco. My son has been skating again and I stop by often to watch. I know quite a few skaters and I love the sport.


Skateboarding has always had an appeal to youth and kids, but after many decades, skateboarding is now a multigenerational activity (ages 3-60+ years). Minnesota needs more opportunities for our citizens to be outside, active and creative in community social spaces. Do the communities you would represent have quality, accessible and visible skateboard spaces?

We do. While our new park was being constructed, a group went to the city and were granted an area in a park to construct a park that was temporary but still in place.


Minnesota hosted the world’s largest skateboard competition, X Games in 2017, 2018 and 2019. During the three X Games Minneapolis events, women and men competed in skateboarding contests that will also be added to the Olympics for Tokyo 2021. Skateboarding has become a worldwide equity activity that has little barrier to participation other than safe places to roll. Do you see a connection between skateboarding and social, racial, gender and economic equity? If so, please share a few thoughts.

When I watch the skaters, I see all. It is such a treat to see such joy, comraderie, helpfulness, and dedication. It is truly a great thing.


Quality concrete skateparks are an efficient use and value of tax payer resources due to their constant use and minimal maintenance. Other community amenities like ballfields, pools, ice rinks, trails and courts need large dedicated spaces, costly programming, and are often expensive to maintain financially and environmentally. Beyond team sports, our community members need activities that challenge them mentally and physically. How will you support youth and community health with new ideas and infrastructure?

I hope they all know that I am always available to help. I stay in touch with folks, our city, and skaters through my son and others.


Skateboarding is an individual challenging activity that can be done alone, but flourishes at community public skateparks that also can work within our COVID-19 era of social distancing. The University of Southern California just completed a study of skateboarding with these findings, “What we learned from skateboarding youth was profound. Study data illustrate how skateboarding bolsters mental health and facilitates community. Skaters of color explained feeling safer and more supported in the skate community. Skaters clearly articulated skills they learned through skating, such as persistence (skaters will practice a trick hundreds of times until they land it), problem solving, intergenerational and cross-cultural communication.” Our Minnesota communities need new ideas and resources to help serve our youth. Will you support the MN State Skate Park Matching Grant Program HF2490/SF1490?

Yes I will and I will support the next bill as well. I was pleased for a short bit to carry it in 2018.

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