Hello from the State Capitol,
A quiet week at the Capitol as lawmakers are away for Easter/Passover break. This gave me the opportunity to make a number of in-district visits and hear what constituents had to say.
I gave a legislative update to the Hastings City Council as well as the Denmark Township Board where the Minnesota Department of Transportation gave members an update on the Highway 95 project. This week, MnDOT announced that they expect to spend $1.1 billion on 253 state road and bridge projects this year.
This includes the safety improvements being seen in Washington County along Highway 95 and Manning Avenue. The department is widening shoulders, resurfacing the roads, adding turn lanes, improving intersection sight lines and updating drainage. Work will continue here through late fall of 2019. The result will reduce crashes and congestion and lead to a much safer roadway through Denmark Township and Afton.
I was able to attend the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast held at 3M to visit with local business leaders and to hear Jenny Holman from Clockwork talk about using the social media in your business. The annual event was well attended as usual, even with the snow and ice that morning that canceled many schools in the area.
The Hastings Tastings event provided a great opportunity to meet with residents while sampling some of the finest dishes from local restaurants and businesses. All proceeds went to Hastings Family Service.
I was also glad that I could attend the State of Dakota County address presented by board chair Kathleen Gaylord and to visit with Dakota County Commissioner Mike Slavic and many others following the presentation. Commissioner Gaylord spoke about county parks, transportation, public safety and more.
A tour of Tubman Center East really opened my eyes to the wonderful resources the organization provides. Tubman provides a safe haven for victims of relationship violence, sexual assault and exploitation, elder abuse, addiction and other forms of trauma. They provide shelter, legal services, mental and chemical health counseling, youth programs and community education. As a non-profit, Tubman is funded through grants and donations. I am co-author on House File 2705 which would provide one time supplemental support to help Tubman consolidate three locations into two to save money and gain efficiencies.
Several weeks ago I attended a kickoff workshop for No Kid Hungry in School District 833. With the break from work in St. Paul, I was able to attend the latest meeting and take part in a great discussion including the reasoning and background information for my school lunch shaming bill. Through the dialogue, we came up with another idea for legislation that I intend to introduce in the near future. I'll have more on that in the coming weeks.
A few weeks ago I visited Riverview Elementary school in St. Paul with Rep. Carlos Mariani and this week I was able to return the favor. Rep. Mariani and I visited McAuliffe Elementary and Pinecrest Elementary in Hastings. Rep. Mariani is the DFL lead and former chair of the House Education Finance Committee, a committee on which I serve. We wanted to visit schools in each other’s districts to help us both understand the educational needs of kids from different backgrounds and areas of the metro.
A tour of the Little Beginnings Learning Center brought a smile to my face. I had a great visit with Jen and Wade Gelhar, and also visited Miss Tori's room where her students sang a penguin song and asked questions. Tori is my daughter so seeing her working with the children was a great sense of pride for me.
Kellie and Todd Akins at Innovative Surfaces in Hastings gave me a tour of their facility. They've done custom countertops and fabrication for over 30 years and have employ more than 100 residents. Thanks for the tour!
This week I was also interviewed by Minnpost regarding school lunch debt and by legislation that would prevent lunch shaming in schools. To read the article, click here.
Have a good weekend,