Congratulations to all the Minnesotans representing our nation at the Summer Olympics! While the games were delayed a year, we’re incredibly proud of the athletes giving it their all in Tokyo and excited by those bringing home medals, like gymnast Suni Lee!
During the worst days of the pandemic, our state’s frontline, essential heroes showed up for work despite facing an increased risk of COVID-19. The bipartisan state budget agreement lawmakers passed in June included $250 million worth of premium for these heroes who showed up for our communities. A working group consisting of three House members, three senators, and three members of Governor Walz’s administration has been charged with developing recommendations for distribution of these funds. The full legislature will act upon the recommendations later this year. Last week, the group met for the first time and heard directly from frontline workers, many of whom shared stories of the sacrifices they made. You can follow along with the group here.
This summer’s dry spell is the worst we’ve faced in over a decade, and much of our state continues to be in either severe or extreme drought. We depend on Minnesota’s agriculture and food production industries to ensure we not only have nutritious, locally grown food to eat, but they are significant drivers of Minnesota’s economy. Unfortunately, our farmers and livestock are facing a difficult outlook. The drought could also potentially impact drinking water resources. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has compiled a series of drought resources.
On Friday, Governor Walz met with President Biden to discuss both the ongoing drought as well as the impact our region is facing from Canadian wildfires causing unhealthy air quality.
Minnesota is in far better shape than many other states as we look to close the book on COVID-19 once and for all. Unfortunately, the Delta variant is causing spread of the virus to once again accelerate. If you have been hesitant, now is the time to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccine is free, safe, and effective. Find a location offering the vaccine here.
The CDC has compiled a helpful list of myths and facts regarding the vaccine. In Minnesota, we care about one another, and at this stage of the pandemic, with cases again rising, the most effective way to protect your neighbors, community, and yourself is to get your shot. Funded through the American Rescue Plan, the governor has announced a new incentive to get vaccinated. Minnesotans 12 years of age and older who receive their first dose between Friday, July 30 and Sunday, August 15, 2021 will be eligible for a $100 Visa gift card. Beginning Wednesday, August 4, Minnesotans can verify their first dose and claim their $100 at: mn.gov/covid19. While the gift card is a good bonus, the real incentive for all of us should be helping stop the spread of a virus that has impacted the lives of too many Minnesotans. Please: get your vaccine.
Don’t hesitate to contact me with your feedback and ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance. It’s an honor to represent you.