Dear Lakeville and Minnesota Neighbors,
It’s been a painful week in the Twin Cities as initial, peaceful protests have led to destructive riots and looting across the metro area.
All of us were sickened and shocked by the lack of humanity in the disturbing video that revealed the inexcusable treatment of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Since the video emerged that Monday evening, I have focused on listening to constituents to determine how we can best work together for peace and justice.
Let me be clear, protestors exercising their first amendment rights and rioters are two separate things. Protesters initially were communicating their desire for change and justice for both Mr. Floyd and our society at large. It is clear however, that unscrupulous individuals decided to take advantage of the tense situation and began to loot and riot.
Constituents from my district have reported that their properties were among those vandalized and looted last week. Initially, the situation remained too dangerous for them to return to their storefronts, to turn off sprinklers, and to secure what remains of their properties. Most alarmingly, another life was lost in this descent into chaos.
Safety and order must be restored to protect the lives and property of Minnesotans, and to return the attention to the cause of justice for Mr. Floyd. I was relieved to see that Governor Walz had finally, activated the national guard after mayors and others, including myself, requested he do so.
You can read a letter I sent to the governor requesting this here.
The riots and destruction we have witnessed over the last week has resulted in significant damage to people's lives, neighborhoods, and businesses. Sadly, there has been a troubling lack of leadership and a clear plan on how we're going to prevent further chaos. Yesterday I met with business owners whose stores have been looted and vandalized. They spend much of their time now protecting their own businesses because they have lost faith in the city to provide public safety, even in daylight.
Now, more than ever, we need leadership to restore peace and order. I also am keeping an open mind on proposed reforms. One of the items mentioned, is increasing the number of teachers of color, an issue that I have supported for a while and authored a bill in 2017 and coauthored last session.
I am hopeful that the arrest of Derek Chauvin, the officer that had his knee on the neck of George Floyd’s neck, and charges against the other officers will start the process of justice and help relieve tensions.
I will continue to reach out to experts for good input on these sensitive issues and look for ways to bridge the divides to advance solutions to difficult challenges.
On Friday, Governor Walz announced additional plans to further loosen restriction on businesses.
Click here for details on what the announcement means for restaurants, salons, churches, gyms, and other entities.
Once again, today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but I continue to be concerned that we are not doing enough to reopen Minnesota’s economy.
After three months, it's time for the governor's emergency powers, and the arbitrary restrictions he's placed on Minnesota businesses to end. Our neighbors to the east, Wisconsin, ended restrictions three weeks ago and their positive case rates are dropping, and other indicators remain stable and well below rates here in Minnesota.
Three months of data suggests that it’s time to readjust, change course and put more resources into protecting our long-term care facilities—where 80% of deaths in Minnesota have occurred.
Tomorrow I am excited to meet with a group of Lakeville Students to celebrate their graduation. If you would like me to stop by for a graduation drive by party or stop in to say hello please email, our kids deserve to be celebrated. Also if there is a special party in your neighborhood or anniversary, I’d love to wish you well in person if I can.
I was in downtown Lakeville on Monday and it was so to see traffic and people out providing some vibrancy to downtown with takeout and patio seating at local restaurants. Click here for a short video I recorded.
Thank you to those who have reached out with questions or concerns regarding state government. Next week we will address some of the opening of business and issues we are looking at in special session.
Follow my Twitter or official Facebook for more frequent snapshots of our work.
Assistant Minority Leader
State Representative, Lakeville, 58A