One of the highlights of my first two months in office has been meeting with folks from our district and other Minnesotans to share our hopes and plans for the future. While the pandemic has made it harder to connect, hearing from community members is still a vital part of legislating. Your stories and ideas are the foundation for the policies that I’m fighting for.
Yesterday, I had a great discussion with neighbors from 63B about what is possible when we organize and invest in the things that Minnesotans value, building a state where everyone can thrive. In our democracy, Minnesotans - not corporations or the wealthy few - should decide our priorities. I will continue working to ensure We the People have the resources to invest in these priorities.
Yesterday, Governor Walz announced the next steps in the state plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The plan laid out by the Governor sets the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of Minnesota’s seniors by the end of March. Once that benchmark is reached, people with certain health conditions or a high risk of workplace exposure will become eligible. This group will likely begin receiving vaccines in April. According to state health officials, current projections indicate that every Minnesotan who wants a vaccine should be able to get one this summer. However, this timeline may change as the federal government adjusts states’ vaccine supply.
Sign up for the state’s new COVID-19 Vaccine Connector if you haven’t done so already. This tool will let you know when you become eligible to get a vaccine, connect you to resources to schedule a vaccine appointment, and alert you when there are vaccine opportunities nearby. You can sign up online at mn.gov/vaccineconnector. If you or a loved one need translation assistance or aren’t able to sign up online, you can call 833-431-2053.
Supporting Paid Family and Medical Leave
Minnesotans shouldn’t be forced to choose between a paycheck and taking care of a newborn, a loved one, or themselves. That’s why I’m supporting the bill that expands access to paid family and medical leave. Under this legislation, workers with qualifying family events and medical conditions could apply for up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year. For example, Minnesotans could take time off to bond with a new baby, care for an aging parent, or get treatment for a serious illness.
The paid family and medical leave program would be similar to our state’s Unemployment Insurance program, with employers and employees both contributing a small percentage of their payroll. In the case of a worker earning Minnesota’s average wage, each would pay about $168 per year or $3.23 per week. This legislation is long overdue. We need to deliver solutions for our hard-working families, like this Paid Family & Medical Leave legislation and Earned Sick & Safe Time, to provide greater economic security. I’m proud to support this critical benefit for working families.
Increasing Access to Careers in Construction
Yesterday I introduced legislation that aims to increase the number and diversity of young Minnesotans considering careers in the construction industry. My bill delivers funding for the Construction Careers Foundation, an initiative that provides educational opportunities and training that can help teenagers and young adults access good-paying, rewarding jobs later in life. Under my bill, these programs and services would need to prioritize Minnesotans from groups that are economically disadvantaged or historically underrepresented in the construction industry, including women, veterans, and immigrants.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance -- at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4200. In this virtual environment, our office is currently experiencing a high volume of emails and phone calls, and we aren’t able to get back to folks as fast as I’d like but please know we are working to get back to you as soon as possible. Next week we’re launching a new way for you to connect with me on a regular basis. Stay tuned for details!