Our country is at a crossroads, and Minnesota is leading the charge — in the wrong direction.

Crime has skyrocketed in the Twin Cities. Our taxes are among the highest in the country and residents are fleeing because of it.

And at a time when parents desperately need to be heard, their voices have fallen on deaf ears while their children struggle to learn from home and are introduced to radical curricula like critical race theory.

Instead of being recognized for quality of life, good government and other positive attributes, Minnesota is now known to the nation as being ground zero for the "defund the police" movement and the resulting anarchy that rocked states from coast to coast.

We've become more divided as Gov. Tim Walz, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison lead the charge from much further left than most Minnesotans as they offer radicalized solutions to problems they created.

I know Minnesota is better than the negative headlines. I'm running for governor of Minnesota to save our state and put an end to the radical policies. As a businessman, I'm for common-sense policies and lower taxes and am against business shutdowns, government overreach, identity politics and the constant fear associated with cancel culture.

I will be a very different governor, not just in how I will serve Minnesotans, but also because of where my life has taken me.

My life story is a case study showing that the promise of America is alive and well. From poverty to prosperity, I grew up in the projects of Harlem and a trailer park in Oklahoma and eventually became vice president of a Fortune 100 company. In between I served our country as an artillery officer in the Army, stateside and in South Korea.

I want everyone to know that how you start your life isn't how you end it.

Americans are tired of being bullied by the left and exhausted by constant accusations of systemic racism. In fact, this is the least racist period in our country's history — I'm Black, so I speak from experience. My parents and grandparents would have loved to have grown up in the America I grew up in.

I don't want to be part of the generation that ruined America for our children, I want to work to preserve America, and to pass her on to the next generation. Together, we can unite Minnesota and improve a quality of life for everyone no matter their background.

That is why my promise to Minnesotans is this: My agenda to save Minnesota starts on day one. Minnesota has waited long enough, and I'm not going to sit around discussing what needs to be done. Instead, my administration will be armed with the tools necessary to address the rising crime, skyrocketing taxes and educational inequalities.

To kick-start my promise to restore safety to our neighborhoods, I will partner with law enforcement groups and local city governments on day one to launch an immediate 30-day statewide effort to round up individuals with outstanding warrants.

Gov. Walz's tax hikes are breaking the backs of families, small businesses and seniors. Career politicians don't know how to cut government and reduce costs. I do. My career in the private sector will help Minnesota grow jobs and get our local economy back on track.

Additionally, I will institute a six-month deadline to pass school choice and empower Minnesota parents with the input they deserve regarding the education of their children.

Our current leadership has failed us. This isn't the Minnesota I know and love, and residents from all over have been telling themselves the same thing. Something must change.

It boils down to this: Gov. Walz and Democratic leaders have a basic mistrust in the rest of us. It is the reason they want to dictate, mandate and regulate our lives. I think differently: I trust in the goodness in Minnesotans. As governor, I will trust the people of Minnesota to do the right thing by giving them the freedom and flexibility to manage their lives with far less government in their way.

Unlike Gov. Walz, I'm on the side of you, the taxpayer — not on the side of the political class and their government bureaucrats telling us how to live our lives.

Minnesota is ready for someone outside politics to step inside and take charge.

Kendall Qualls, of Medina, is a Republican candidate for governor.