I hope this message finds you and your family well. Our state continues to wrestle with the challenge of COVID-19, with the inequities facing Black and other minority Minnesotans, and other important issues. Here’s an update from the State Capitol.
On Monday, the House and Senate convened in a special session called by Governor Walz. The governor has extended the current peacetime emergency to continue dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
This special session is an opportunity to finish important work. After George Floyd’s killing, Minnesotans are still demanding improvements in policing policy so everyone, of every race and background, can have confidence in law enforcement. We will continue working to enact strong police accountability measures like the ones the House approved in the last special session.
The COVID-19 pandemic also continues to present unpredictable challenges. We must keep working to protect Minnesotans from the virus, slow the spread, and reduce the economic and other impacts. To that end, I am working on critical support for disability services. I am also optimistic that we can reach agreement on a strong capital investment package that invests in important infrastructure projects and creates good-paying jobs. Minnesotans are counting on us and I’m committed to building a state that works better for everybody.
If you haven’t yet done so, I encourage you and your family to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census. So far, 74.1 percent of Rochester residents have responded, outpacing the state’s response rate of 71.6 percent, and well ahead of the 62.1 percent national rate.
Census data determines how billions of dollars in federal funding is allocated toward priorities like health care, education, public safety, and roads & bridges. It also impacts representation at the local, state, and national levels. As many folks know, Minnesota’s population trends put us on the cusp of losing a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a reduction from eight to seven would result in diminished influence for our state in Washington, D.C.
You can respond to the Census online here, by phone, or by mail. Responding in one of these ways means fewer census workers will need to go door to door, reducing potential community transmission of COVID-19. Please spread the word! Share this link with your family, friends, and on your social media channels. It’s up to all of us to ensure this process results in a fair, comprehensive count of everybody in our state.
Voting absentee – from the safety and comfort of your own home – is another way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by protecting other voters and election officials, as well as yourself. Request an absentee ballot for the upcoming primary and general elections here. The online application tool will ask for an email address and an identification number – either a Minnesota-issued driver’s license, Minnesota ID card, or the last four digits of your Social Security number. You can check your voter registration status here and update it here.
We all have an important role to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to practice physical distancing, stay home when you aren’t feeling well, and wear a mask when you’re around others—especially indoors.
This will be my last email update until after November’s election, as legislators cannot use state resources to send communications like these during an election period. Even when the legislature is not in session, I still welcome you to contact me with your questions, comments, and concerns. I also invite you to like or follow my Facebook page.
I hope you enjoy your summer. It’s an honor to represent you.