Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Lots to report on for the first week of fall.
The bad storms on Tuesday evening resulted in a tornado that hit the ground in Lake City. Fortunately, there were no injuries. The tornado hit on the west side of town, then hit again about every six blocks. The damage is mostly downed trees, some roofs and a mobile home. Lake City has declared a city emergency and will be assessing damage and cleanup costs. I am just very thankful that no one was hurt and I have been in touch with Mayor Mark Nichols about any state assistance that may be applicable to deal with the damage.
HEALTH HEARING ON INSULIN
On Thursday, the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee held a hearing that centered on insulin prices and availability. I’m glad that both the House and Senate committees have continued to work on this critical issue this summer. I think there are positive components of both proposals and yet still some sticking points to be worked out.
I will commit to continuing our efforts to find compromise and a sound workable solution. We all agree that no one should lose their life due to the inability to afford insulin and rationing.
I often meet with area businesses to learn about their products, employment needs, and growth plans in our community. This week I met with CEO Tammy Lee of Nanocore. Nanocore, a Red Wing based medical device company, manufactures wearable therapeutic cooling products to support healing and pain relief. I got a first-hand demonstration of a wrap that could be used for shoulder surgery recovery.
Assisting start-up companies like Nanocore is the purpose of our state’s Angel Investment Tax Credit program, which I co-authored last session.
They also make a cooling vest for women that reduces menopausal hot flashes. It’s exciting to see an innovative medical products company poised for growth choose our community as their headquarters!
NEWS FROM MINNESOTA STATE COLLEGE SOUTHEAST
Yesterday, I met with Travis Thul, Dean of Trades and Technology at MN State College Southeast and newly hired team member Dawn Lubahn.
When you’re meeting about a bike fabrication program, it’s OK to show up in bike gear. I had just finished showing some St. Paul folks the Cannon Valley Trail.
The new bike fabrication program has started and there are exciting plans in the wings for additional programs in industrial craftsmanship. Also, through a federal grant, Minnesota State College is partnering with two area high schools (Red Wing and Cannon Falls) to expand concurrent enrollment course offerings. When the programs are fully implemented, local students will be able to get a full transferable AA engineering certificate while in high school!
Promoting trade and technology skills and expanding educational opportunities for our students is a focus area of mine and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.
More good news: the school recently announced that 35 MSC Southeast students are beginning the fall semester with Workforce Development Scholarships in the 2019-2020 academic year, totaling $87,500 in student aid.
As someone who has championed this scholarship program in the legislature, I can tell you this is tremendous news. These scholarships help attract more students to train for high-skilled, high demand occupations that are readily available in southeastern Minnesota, and I’m pleased they are being put to good use.
GOVERNOR WALZ’S NEW CAR STANDARDS
Yesterday Governor Walz announced he will go around the legislature and the people of Minnesota by using “rulemaking” to implement new car emission standards, and require manufacturers to offer potential car buyers with an increasing number of electric or hybrid vehicles with ultralow or zero tailpipe emissions every year. I was disappointed with the Governor’s direction.
I thought Minnesota House Republican Transportation Lead Paul Torkelson said it well: “By using rulemaking, Governor Walz is trying to bypass the voice of the people of Minnesota to enact his own agenda. These new standards would increase car costs and effectively eliminate many of the cars and trucks Minnesotans own and continue to rely on."
HIGH SCHOOL PAGE PROGRAM
Applications for the Minnesota House of Representatives 2020 High School Page Program have now been mailed to all area public and private schools. All high school juniors are eligible to apply.
By taking part in this week-long program, pages learn the legislative process and assist members in the House Chamber during session, and also develop leadership skills by observing how committees are conducted and how issues are resolved.
To download an application, please click here.
Those selected will participate in a wide variety of legislative activities, including individual meetings with state representatives allowing students to discuss the issues that matter most to them; assisting members during a legislative floor session; and giving students the opportunity to meet with constitutional officers, members of the judiciary, lobbyists, and members of the media.
An application must be postmarked no later than November 21 to ensure its arrival on time for the selection process. Before returning the application, it must include a parent’s or guardian’s signature and approval from a school faculty member, and essay.
Serving as a high school page is an experience that will last a lifetime, and I encourage any high school junior with an interest in our political process to apply.
STAYING IN TOUCH
As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding any issue, please contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.