I hope this email finds you well and staying warm. With temperatures projected to remain below zero for the next week, I want to make sure everyone in our community is safe and that folks who may need help are aware of Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP). This program helps Minnesotans pay utility bills, purchase emergency fuel, and repair or replace malfunctioning furnaces. Last year, it helped nearly 118,000 households.
The EAP serves Minnesotans that earn less than $54,357 for a household of four or $28,266 for a household of one. Both renters and homeowners are eligible for assistance. If you qualify, you can apply for assistance through your local service provider. Call 800-657-3710 and press 1, or visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s EAP webpage. New applicants have until May 31 to apply. However, funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis.
United Black Legislative Caucus Announces Priorities
Our state has some of the worst racial disparities in the nation, and many of these gaps have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, my colleagues in the United Black Legislative Caucus (UBLC) announced their agenda for the 2021 legislative session. The UBLC agenda aims to address disparities in economic opportunity, housing, education, health and human services, public safety, transportation, and environmental justice. You can watch the announcement here.
We must act urgently to build a more equitable state and ensure that Black Minnesotans can succeed and thrive. I encourage you to follow the UBLC’s Facebook page for more information about their work!
Addressing the Climate Crisis
Climate change is a global crisis that is impacting the health and resilience of Minnesota communities and our environment. To make our state a healthy place to live for generations to come, we need to reduce carbon emissions. That’s why I’m supporting a plan to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2040, as well as legislation that will require utilities to prioritize clean energy when replacing or adding power, make buildings more energy efficient, and help households and businesses save money by improving energy efficiency. Together, these bills will help mitigate the impacts of climate change and reduce pollution while creating good, family-sustaining jobs.
We also need to invest in strong, resilient communities that can adapt and thrive as our climate changes. Two House committees - the Capital Investment Committee and the Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee - recently held a joint hearing to highlight the need for resilient infrastructure across Minnesota. Investing in sustainable infrastructure in a way that prioritizes equity will help our communities and our state withstand the impacts of climate change and succeed long-term. You can watch the entire hearing here.
On a related note, I’d like to thank all of the residents of District 63B who joined me for Minnesota Climate Lobby Day! We had a great conversation about 100 percent clean energy, electric cars, and investing in family-supporting clean energy jobs.
I’m proud to announce that I’ve been appointed to the Minnesota Mississippi River Parkway Commission, an organization that works collectively to preserve and enhance the Mississippi’s scenic, historic, and recreational resources. The commission also fosters economic growth in communities along the Mississippi River, including in our district at the historic Fort Snelling on the bluff at Bdote. I’m excited to serve in this new role and work on water issues that impact South Minneapolis.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
COVID-19 trends in Minnesota are headed in the right direction, with case numbers and positivity rates trending downward. Minnesota’s vaccination process is improving, but still not where we all would like it to be. So far, 675,329 Minnesotans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 238,104 have completed the series. As the effort continues, the state needs to focus on a commitment to equitable distribution to the Black, brown, and Indigenous communities hardest hit. More information is available on the state’s Vaccine Data Dashboard.
Health care workers and long-term care residents and staff can receive the vaccine through their workplace, care facility, or local public health department. Educators, school staff, and child care workers will receive information about available appointments through their employers. Minnesotans who are 65 or older can use this tool to find vaccine providers in their area.
We all want the battle with COVID-19 to end, but threats remain, including new variants of the virus. Please continue wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings to protect yourself and others.
If you have any questions or comments about our work, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 651-296-4200. I look forward to hearing from you!