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The shift from August to September is a transition for most Minnesotans. At our house, we replace the last lazy days of summer with an early start to the day and a renewed focus on the upcoming school year. The cooling September skies usher in a busier season and before long, summer becomes a sweet and fleeting memory. Not this year. We must not forget.
We lost a bridge and thirteen lives. Southeastern Minnesota flooded and we lost seven more. The bridge collapse is a not so subtle demonstration of our weakened infrastructure and now we know that there are other Minnesota bridges in need of structural attention. The people of southeastern Minnesota are displaced from their homes, businesses and lives and will remain so until they receive financial assistance needed to rebuild.
We've reacted to our tragic August with shock, disbelief, and sorrow. Now we must harness what we feel to make the necessary choices to mend our state. With a brief, focused special session, we can bring relief to those struggling and move Minnesota forward. We shouldn’t wait any longer.
When the bridge fell, Mayor Rybak smartly called for sustained compassion. With that compassion comes patience for the changes to our lives as a result of disaster. Compassion alone will not restore confidence in our infrastructure or repair the flood ravaged southeast. Minnesota also needs sustained leadership to provide immediate relief for those directly affected, and long-term safety for all who use our roads and bridges.
Leadership, at its core, is about bringing people together for a greater purpose. It requires vision, gumption and decisive action. I understand there are differing views on how to conduct a special session. But the people affected by these tragedies across our state cannot afford for us to be bogged down by our differences. We must work diligently to bring people together for the sake of the greater common goals.
This requires trust from the Governor, legislators, and citizens. We must step forward together, knowing we cannot control one another entirely, trusting that together we will act with strength and purpose for the future of Minnesota.
A vocal minority has expressed reluctance to have a special session. And the Governor, the only person who can call a special session, is wavering. That is unfortunate. One must only look to the images from our tragic August to know that waiting any longer is a mistake.
I remain proud of the actions our civic leaders took during the immediate aftermath of each crisis. The initial response and coordinated efforts from local law enforcement, health providers, and elected officials, including the Governor, were impressive. All performed remarkably to limit injury and loss of life and reassert public safety. It is evidence of our ability to work constructively, and decisively, despite differences in philosophy or jurisdiction. We need to maintain that same sense of duty and immediacy in order to, together, do what's right for Minnesota.
Representative Erin Murphy
District 64 A
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