We’re quickly approaching the 2020 legislative session, which starts on February 11 at noon. I can’t wait to join my colleagues as we work to strengthen the values important to our neighborhoods, including the ability for all children to receive an excellent education, quality health care people can afford, greater economic security for families, and true equity in every facet of our lives including employment, housing, the environment, and the criminal justice system.
What are your priorities for the upcoming session? Let me know! Please feel free to call me at 651-296-5158 or email me at email@example.com with your viewpoints. I also invite you to “like” or “follow” my Facebook page here.
Every child in the state of Minnesota deserves the opportunity to get an excellent education. Unfortunately, we have persistent disparities that jeopardize the ability of our students to achieve. Sadly, our opportunity gap is one of the worst in the nation and data shows it’s actually getting worse with students of color and those from low-income backgrounds continuing to fall behind their peers. Incremental changes aren’t doing the job, and I believe it’s time to fundamentally reframe the way our state approaches education through a bold move: a constitutional amendment.
Currently under the Minnesota Constitution, a “uniform system” of public schools is required. This is inadequate to meet the significant challenges our children face; no parent desires for their child to receive a “good enough” education. Former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, have developed the “Children First” initiative to instead guarantee that, fundamentally, every child has the equal right to a quality public education. I invite you to learn more about the proposal here.
The Minneapolis Fed recently held a community conversation about the proposal. I had the opportunity to speak on a panel to discuss some of our challenges as we work to deliver a world-class education to all students. You can watch the entire event here, including comments from Justice Page and President Kashkari, and the panel I’m on starts at about 1 hour 15 minutes in the video.
While the official day of the election is March 3, early voting in Minnesota’s Presidential Primary has officially begun, and Minnesotans can be among the first in the nation to cast their votes. No matter your party affiliation, it's important to help ensure our government is representative of our shared values, so be sure to participate. Secretary of State Steve Simon’s website has answers to many frequently asked questions about our new process of selecting our major parties’ nominees.
In Saint Paul, in-person absentee voting is available Monday through Friday at the Ramsey County Elections Office (90 Plato Blvd W) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also request a ballot via mail or check your voter registration status on the Secretary of State’s website here.
As 2019 came to a close, the federal government enacted bipartisan legislation prohibiting anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing tobacco products or vaping devices. This is an important milestone in public health and accountability for Big Tobacco. Nineteen states already raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21, and more than 500 cities and towns also have done the same, including Saint Paul.
In case you missed it, in November I joined my colleagues to announce a new comprehensive plan to prevent Big Tobacco from targeting our kids and addicting a new generation to its deadly products. Our plan bans the sale of all flavored products, increases youth education and prevention efforts, and eliminates online sales entirely. For too long, Big Tobacco has targeted people of color and youth with impunity, and I’m hopeful these solutions will help put a stop to their predatory marketing.
It’s an honor to be your voice at the State Capitol, and I look forward to working with neighbors in 2020 to improve opportunities for all Minnesotans. Please be in touch with your feedback, ideas, or when I can ever be of assistance.