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It has been a busy couple of weeks as I've been out in the community already preparing for the 2016 Legislative Session:
Disability Home Visit
Sen. Clausen, Rep. Mack and I attended a home meeting in Apple Valley on Wednesday, October 21st, to discuss disability issues and legislative priorities for the upcoming 2016 Session. It was helpful to hear the stories of several families in our community regarding what their experience has been and how we could do better as a state. Thanks to Kelly for opening up your home and hosting us for this important discussion.
Dakota County Bonding Tour
On October 22nd, legislators from Dakota County visited a number of possible bonding proposals to be discussed next session. We toured the County Road 42/Trunk Highway 52 interchange here in Rosemount to see up close the safety hazards and need for a redesign, as well as a few other Dakota County stops including the Byllesby Dam in Randolph Township and the site of the planned Mississippi River Regional Trail.
Visiting bonding projects helps legislators get a better grasp of whether projects are worthy of your hard-earned tax dollars. Bonding is typically used for infrastructure and building projects in communities that otherwise couldn't afford the projects that have a significant public benefit. The County Road 42/Highway 52 interchange is a good example of a worthy project that Rosemount can't afford on its own but would be a big public safety boost to the residents in and around this area.
Reading and Math Corps Tours
On Friday, October 23rd, I joined other members of the ServeMinnesota board for tours of Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps sites. We got to visit with students and staff and see firsthand what a typical day is like at these programs, and how it's making a difference for the kids in the program. I'm proud of the work they do and the help they provide to at-risk and disadvantaged children, and it was helpful to see how state funding for these programs is put to good use as we work to reduce Minnesota's achievement gap.
ServeMinnesota created a whiteboard video to illustrate the history and some of the background of AmeriCorps and its work here in Minnesota. Click here to watch the video.
Dakota County Housing Tour
Several colleagues and I joined the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH) and the Coalition for Affordable Transitional Community Housing (CATCH) for a tour on Tuesday, October 27th. We had a chance to see various shelters and affordable housing locations in Dakota County and learned about local homelessness and housing concerns, as well as possible strategies to go about addressing the issue.
I worked on the Homeless Youth Act during the last session because I think youth intervention programs are our best chance at preventing long-term homelessness and reducing our homeless population in the future. Every person or family that we're able to lift out of poverty or homelessness is a net savings for taxpayers in the long-run.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Cold Weather Rule
October 15th, 2015 until April 15th, 2016 is the time period when what's known as the Cold Weather Rule is in effect. Under state law, utilities are required to issue a notice of disconnection and provide payment plan options to stop a disconnection if a family falls behind on payments. Utilities can also connect families with additional resources including local energy assistance programs and low or no-cost tips for improving energy conservation. Customers can have their heat disconnected if a payment plan agreement cannot be reached once the required process, including an option to appeal, has taken place. Full details on the Cold Weather Rule can be found here: www.mn.gov/puc/consumers/shut-off-protection.jsp.
Election on November 3rd
November 3rd is your chance to make your voice heard in your local election! District 196 will elect school board members and vote on a bond referendum. You can vote early absentee (for any reason, no excuse needed) in person at one of two locations nearby: School District 196 (3455 153rd St W in Rosemount) and the Dakota County Service Center (14955 Galaxie Avenue in Apple Valley). Find your polling place at www.mnvotes.org. Click here for full details.
Veterans Day Appreciation Dinner
Rosemount Beyond the Yellow Ribbon will be hosting a Veterans Day appreciation dinner next weekend on Sunday, November 8th from 4:30-6PM at the Lighthouse Christian Church (3285 144th Street West). RSVPs are requested by November 2nd by calling 651-402-7385 as space is limited. The event is open to veterans, active duty service members, and a guest. More information on their Facebook page by clicking here.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me at any time with your comments, questions, or concerns. Reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-296-4306. You can also follow my updates on social media on Facebook at www.fb.com/RepAnnaWills and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AnnaCWills.
Have a great weekend!
State Representative, District 57B
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