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Friends and Neighbors,
As we approach the long holiday weekend, I wanted to take a moment to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving! I love this special time of year and am looking forward to spending time with family this Thanksgiving. I'll be counting my blessings including living in our free and prosperous country and am hopeful you'll have a safe, enjoyable Thanksgiving with those closest to you as well!
Small Business Saturday
Every year, the Christmas shopping season officially kicks off the day after Thanksgiving and I have a feeling that many of us will be out and about selecting gifts for friends and family. While doing so, let's each do our part to “Shop Small” this weekend! As I see it, that should be easy given the many fantastic small businesses we're blessed to have sprinkled throughout our community in the entire Southwest Metro and around beautiful Lake Minnetonka. I cannot think of a better way to kick-off the holiday season than by shopping locally in support of our friends and neighbors!
Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Minnesota
In the wake of the despicable terrorist attacks in Paris and a growing terror threat by the Islamic State in Syria, the issue of federal refugee resettlement has taken center stage. Although not as strong or comprehensive as I would have advocated, I was satisfied with Congress's response to the outcry of the American people which included passing legislation to “hit the pause button” on further resettlement until such time safety could be guaranteed to an understandably concerned and shaken American public. Based on the tremendous amount of feedback I've received from constituents, it's become very apparent to me that Minnesotans' concerns mirror those of our nation.
Given that our NUMBER ONE priority as public servants is to protect our citizens, I strongly support Speaker Daudt’s position on this issue and appreciate the letter he sent to Governor Dayton encouraging him to join 31 other governors to halt further resettlement until all stakeholders are crystal clear there are no security risks to citizens. Therefore, I am deeply troubled that the governor, Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, State Auditor Rebecca Otto, and numerous Democrat legislators recently sent an open letter to Syrian refugees encouraging relocation and welcoming to Minnesota, disregarding testimony of the Obama Administration's highest national security experts who repeatedly stated there is no way to fully vet Syrian refugees. As a result, Minnesotans have no assurances of safety or security from our governor whose primary responsibility it is to protect his citizens.
I sincerely thank the many of you who contacted my office to express your concern about this issue and encourage you to contact Governor Dayton's office directly to voice your opinion as well. This issue is too important to the future wellbeing of our state to remain silent.
REAL ID Update
As you may recall from one of my previous updates, the topic of REAL ID continues to make headlines in Minnesota and weighs on the minds of concerned citizens. You may also have read that legislative leaders and the governor recently sent letters to the federal government requesting an extension to ensure Minnesotans will be allowed access on commercial airlines without a new identification card. To clarify, Minnesota does offer an Enhanced Driver’s License which meets the federal requirement of Real ID to board an airplane. In addition, the federal government has said that it will give states a 120-day notice before requiring REAL IDs to fly. Please know that the Data Practices Commission of the Minnesota Legislature is planning to address the topic of REAL ID before the New Year and is intent on making certain Minnesotans are able to fly while also ensuring their privacy is protected.
I continue to welcome constituent feedback on REAL ID or on any other data privacy issues within our state.
One of last week's highlights was my visit to Grandview Middle School in Mound to present a civics lesson to Ms. Rashleger's sixth grade classes. Her students were very attentive and asked lots of great questions! I shared with the students what an honor and privilege it is to serve constituents in the Minnesota legislature – many of whom are their parents. We talked about the Constitution, read the Preamble aloud together, and I left each student their own copy. This is the third year I've been presented with this wonderful opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and love helping young learners acquire more knowledge about our government.
As your representative, I welcome the opportunity to respond to your questions, concerns, or suggestions for possible legislation, and enjoy hearing your thoughts and ideas as well! You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting my Legislative Assistant, Emily Hanson, at 651.296.4315. I look forward to hearing from you and to serving you in any way I can.
Wishing you and your family a safe and blessed Thanksgiving!