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Legislative Update - January 11, 2013
The 2013 Legislative Session is officially underway and on Tuesday I was sworn in as the state representative for District 51A. I'm honored to be returning to the Capitol on behalf of the people of Eagan and Burnsville. The people said loud and clear that they want their legislators to work together and focus on a fair and responsible budget, improving our schools and growing a strong middle-class economy.
There's a lot to be done over the next several months and we're ready to get to work. Economic forecasts revealed early last month that the state is facing a $1.1 billion budget shortfall this year. When the money still owed to schools and inflation is included, the shortfall rises to over $3 billion.
We need to decide what we value as Minnesotans - education, lower property taxes, a vibrant middle class - and then figure out how to fund our priorities and set our state up for future success.
With these difficult tasks ahead, we need to work on bipartisan solutions.
I attended the One Minnesota Legislative Conference at the Humphrey Institute on Wednesday where we heard from excellent speakers on budgets, taxes, jobs, and education. Former State Senators Linda Berglin and Duane Benson explained how they were able to pass legislation for MinnesotaCare and the importance of bipartisanship in achieving goals. Hopefully we will be able to carry on the long tradition of Minnesota legislators working together to achieve positive, long-term solutions.
This session I will be serving as the Vice Chair of the Transportation Policy Committee and as a member of the Energy Policy, Labor, Workplace and Regulated Industries, and Transportation Finance committees. I'm very pleased to serve on these important committees - especially as the Vice Chair of the Transportation Policy Committee. Our roads and bridges are crumbing. We must also continue expanding our public transportation system to attract new businesses and young professional workers. Budgets are tight, but I'm focused on doing all that I can to improve our transportation system.
Finally, I was proud to sign on as a co-author to a bill that would begin paying back the money still owed to our schools. A world-class education system will grow our state's economy over the long haul. For too many years we've borrowed from schools, cut funding for state colleges, and ignored early childhood education. We need to pay back the money we still owe our schools, focus on education again and ensure that our schools have the adequate funding they need to help our children be successful.
Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions, comments, or concerns on any legislative issue. You can reach me by phone at (651) 296-3533 or by email at email@example.com .