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Greetings to All My Friends and Neighbors in Minnesota District 56-A!
It is indeed a privilege to be serving you! So, letís get up to speed on whatís been happening since Inauguration Day. I have been working with the House Staff to get information to you, but computer glitches in our system have been plaguing us. Iím told that this problem has been finally straightened out, and so I sincerely apologize for any problems or issues this may have created during my initial weeks in office.
Because I am aware of your interests in what I have been up to since being sworn into office as your State Representative, I would like to take this opportunity to present you with a brief report regarding my past six (6) weeks in office:
First, let me say that I am honored to be your elected Representative on matters concerning you, your family, your business, and your future.
Initially, I enjoyed and worked at getting acquainted with my colleagues and staff in St. Paul. I was appointed to the following four committees; Health and Human Services Finance, Health and Human Services Reform, State Government Finance and the Veterans Committee. It has been an interesting education to get up to speed on the responsibilities that each of these committee oversees. I have been advocating in accordance with your mandate for smaller and less wasteful government, conservative spending and lower taxes.
As you know, Governor Dayton recently introduced his State Budget Plan. As you may also know, it has been widely criticized for its lack of foresight and comprehension of the stateís debt crisis. We as citizens, face an enormous challenge to overcome the political games that could prevent us from solving this debt crisis. Let me assure you that it is still my strong belief that $32 billion dollars for a state of five million people should be enough money. I am committed to NOT raising taxes in our state.
The budget that Governor Dayton has proposed slashes assistance for nursing homes and the disabled, while at the same time shifts large amounts of money to fund programs like all-day kindergarten.
Please support me in my efforts to ensure that cuts in Health and Human Services do not apply to the elderly and our most vulnerable disabled citizens. We must work on reforms that protect our health care freedoms as well as protecting those with real needs.
Committee meetings, meetings with lobbyists and constituents, and House floor sessions consume most of my time from Monday through Thursday. On Fridays I focus my time in our district. I have been meeting with and listening to a wide variety of citizens, from elementary school students to business executives. The consistent message I am hearing is that people want their lives to once again be free from government control. I had the privilege of reading to the Kindergarteners at Lake Elmo Elementary and discussing how the government works to the 6th graders there. I have had the privilege of speaking to executives of companies in the district who are struggling to figure out their tax obligations, and the hiring implications of those obligations. That is reality. These are the priorities of the present and represent what our future agenda needs to be. This past week I had the privilege of meeting with some folks from the district to discuss transportation challenges, from the Gateway Corrider Commission to Mayor Hyriski from Stillwater with an update on the Stillwater Bridge and new St. Croix river crossing.
To date, I have voted to reduce appropriations by hundreds of millions of dollars without damaging the effectiveness and productivity of essential services, or diluting the value of sensible and beneficial state funded programs. We have also voted to reduce the amount of time it takes for businesses starting in Minnesota to go through the permitting process - HF1 and last week we voted to lift the ban on nuclear energy.
One of the most critical ingredients to my effectiveness as your State Representative is listening. I would very much like to hear from you. If there is anything on your mind, please feel free to contact me, either by telephone at 651-296-4244, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by U.S. Mail at 521 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul, MN 55155.
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