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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL)

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State Fair, First Day of School, and Insulin Update

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

I hope you're looking forward to the Great Minnesota Get Together as much as I am!

The Minnesota House has a booth at the fair, and I'll be there Saturday, August 31 from 2-4 p.m! I hope you'll stop by to ask any questions and visit with members of the House... there will also be a photo opportunity to stand behind of a replica of the House Speaker’s desk, complete with flags and the Abraham Lincoln portrait. 

The House of Representatives booth is located in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street, just north of Dan Patch Avenue.

First Day of School
For thousands of Minnesotans across the state, and me, the fair always means the first day of school is right around the corner. On September 3 I'll head back to school as a library media specialist at the Robbinsdale Middle School; it will be my 23rd year of teaching! I am so fortunate to enjoy my teaching career and being your Legislator, it is truly the best of both worlds. I want to wish "good luck" to all of the teachers, parents, students and staff heading off for their first day and a new year of school!

For decades, Minnesota's financial commitment to schools has fallen short, but this year the House passed quite a few measures to support our classrooms. All of our school districts will see a two percent increase per student this year, and again next year. Though this isn't nearly enough, it should help schools avoid teacher layoffs, closures, program cuts and larger class sizes. We also protected pre-K for 4000 early learners, and addressed a shortfall in special education funding. 

Minnesota has one of the largest opportunity gaps in the country. While 34 percent of students are students of color, only four percent of our teachers are. We made meaningful strides to close the gap that has left Minnesota ranked 47th in the nation in racial disparities by investing in recruiting and training for teachers of color, and boosting tribal schools to the same levels as the state's average funding. 

Nearly 1 in 4 diabetics have resorted to rationing their insulin due to the skyrocketing price of the drug. Insulin has been around for centuries, and people with diabetes rely on it to survive, yet Big Pharma continues to raise the price. The House is holding a series of community conversations on the cost of insulin and the need for the Senate to take up our bill creating an emergency insulin program. The first conversation was last week, and we're planning several more around the state. 

I hope you're having a wonderful summer! As always, let me know if you have any questions, thoughts or comments. 


Mary KP