This guest column was published in the White Bear Press on Tuesday, July 16:
Now that the 2019 legislative session has ended, I wanted to provide an update on what we accomplished and share some information that may be useful. This year, Minnesota proved that divided government can work. My colleagues and I know that Minnesotans expect us to compromise and get the job done in a civil and respectful way, and we did.
Working in one of the nation’s only divided legislatures, we passed a state budget that invests in schools and children of all ages, preserves health care access for more than one million Minnesotans, protects our seniors, delivers targeted tax cuts, and protects the environment.
Standing Up for Students
Every child deserves a world-class education, and this year we put Minnesota schools on the right track. I helped fight for an annual two percent increase in per-student funding and strong investments in special education. We also secured voluntary pre-K opportunities for 4,000 of Minnesota’s youngest learners.
Preserving Health Care Access
All Minnesotans should have access to affordable, high-quality health care. This year, we preserved health care access for 1.2 million Minnesotans and addressed soaring prescription drug costs. We got tough on middle men who drive up the price of medications and improved drug pricing transparency and accountability.
Protecting Minnesota Seniors
In response to reports of abuse and neglect, we passed sweeping reforms to protect seniors and vulnerable adults in assisted living facilities. We created licensing requirements with enforceable safeguards, established a residents’ bill of rights, and gave residents the ability to install a safety camera in their living space.
Delivering Targeted Tax Cuts
The bipartisan tax plan we passed will put more money in the pockets of Minnesotans. We cut taxes for middle class families with the first income tax cut in almost two decades. We expanded tax credits for working families and small businesses and reduced taxes on Social Security for seniors.
Protecting Our Environment
As Minnesotans, we know our state is a special place to live and want it to remain that way for years to come. I helped address long-term threats to our environment, including aquatic invasive species and emerald ash borer. I worked hard on a streamlined planning process that will restore water quality while saving the state money, and I supported strengthening protections for natural resources and expanding access to parks, trails, and outdoor recreation.
Property Tax Refund
I’d like to remind folks to apply for a property tax refund or renters credit. Many Minnesotans qualify for this refund but forget to file before the August 15 deadline. Take a few minutes to find out more about eligibility requirements and apply online at www.revenue.state.mn.us.
If you’re planning to attend one of the Minnesota State colleges next year, you may be eligible for a scholarship. Workforce Development Scholarships are still available for students pursuing high-demand careers including agriculture, health care services, and early childhood education. More information is available at http://minnstate.edu/stories/wds.
Stay in Touch
There’s more work to be done to make Minnesota an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. I look forward to talking with you in the coming months about how we can keep our state moving forward together. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com or call me at 651-296-5363 if you have questions or concerns or if I can be of assistance.