I hope the new year is treating you well. I’ve spent the first weeks of 2020 connecting with residents and preparing for the legislative session, which begins on February 11. Senator Jerry Newton and I are holding a town hall meeting on Tuesday, February 4 to gather input and ideas before our work in St. Paul gets underway. I hope to see you there!
House Transportation Committee Visits Our Community
I believe it’s important for elected officials to get out of the committee room and into the community as much as possible. That’s why I brought the other members of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee to the North Metro to see our community’s needs firsthand. The legislators were able to visit several local sites and experience some of the challenges that residents face daily. For example, one of our stops was at the intersection of 85th Ave. and University Ave. at the Northtown Transit Center. I made the legislators get out and walk the footpaths that people use to access the area.
Our last stop was at Blaine City Hall, where we discussed Highway 65 with law enforcement leaders. I’m grateful to have so many local officials and community members partnering with us to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians! If you’d like to learn more about our work, you can read the Hometown Source’s article about the tour here.
Local Projects Included in Gov. Walz’s Local Jobs and Projects Act
In the upcoming legislative session, I’m committed to securing a robust, regionally-balanced package of investments in Minnesota’s roads and bridges, higher education institutions, parks and trails, water treatment facilities, and other important assets, including many in our region. Last week Governor Walz released a list of recommended projects. I’m pleased that he included several projects in our area.
The first is the National Sports Center in Blaine, which needs major repairs and upgrades in order to continue serving local families and millions of visitors from around the world. The funding would go towards replacing the maintenance building and protecting the health and safety of visitors and staff. I accompanied the House Capital Investment Committee on a tour of the National Sports Center last fall, and I’ll continue to champion this project as the committee members craft their own recommendations.
The second project included in the governor’s capital investment proposal is a new bridge on the Coon Creek Regional Trail. The City of Coon Rapids would use this grant to build a bridge over Coon Rapids Boulevard. Governor Walz also recommended constructing new classrooms and labs at the Coon Rapids campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College and expanding the City of Coon Rapids Recycling Center. These are important resources for our community and the entire state, and I look forward to advocating for them.
Be Heard on Cannabis
Earlier this week I attended a Be Heard on Cannabis event in New Brighton. I was proud to see so many constituents there.
No matter what your viewpoint on cannabis is, it’s clear that attitudes are changing. My colleagues and I launched the statewide Be Heard on Cannabis tour to hear from Minnesotans on all sides of the issue and discuss what a framework for legalization would look like. If you’d like to share your thoughts, you can take House Speaker Melissa Hortman’s cannabis survey here.
New Laws Take Effect
A few notable laws took effect on January 1, including legislation that ensures that medical professionals who prescribe opioids take classes to learn about best practices for prescribing pain medications. This new law is part of the groundbreaking opioid stewardship bill that we passed last session. Another new law increases oversight and transparency requirements for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), middlemen that play a significant role in driving up the cost of prescription drugs. You can read more about these measures here.
Be a Voter in the 2020 Presidential Primary
No matter what your party affiliation is, it’s important to cast your vote in Minnesota’s 2020 presidential nominating primary. Democracy works best when all voices are heard.
Minnesota’s presidential primary will be held on Tuesday, March 3, but early voting has already begun! You can check your voter registration status and request an absentee ballot here. If you’d like more information about the presidential primary, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office has answers to some frequently asked questions available here.
I hope to see you at the town hall next week, but I want to hear from you regardless of whether you’re able to join us. Please feel free to share your questions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org of 651-296-5369.