Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I write to you today after another busy week at the legislature. In this week’s update, I’ll fill you in on the Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation rally, a pair of my bills that I presented, mobile office hours, and a handful of visitors from back home.
Tobacco 21/Smoke-Free Issues
Wednesday was Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation Day at the Capitol. The day’s events included hundreds of activists holding a rally and meeting with legislators in support of smoke-free legislation. I had the opportunity to speak at the rally in support of the bipartisan bill to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21 in Minnesota.
I am a coauthor and a strong supporter of the tobacco 21 bill. As a former smoker who started at a young age, this is an important issue to me. I want to do everything possible to keep tobacco out of the hands of young people and cut down on the number of Minnesotans who become addicted. The healthcare costs associated with tobacco use are high, and tobacco 21 legislation can help reduce the number of smokers in our state, improve public health, save taxpayers money and most importantly, help save lives. I believe increasing the age to purchase tobacco products is a commonsense reform that will help curb tobacco use in young people and help save the next generation from addiction. Several cities in Minnesota already restrict sales to age 21. It is time to bring the rest of the state onboard.
Another smoke-free bill I am coauthoring would include electronic cigarettes in the definition of smoking under the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, which would prohibit vaping in indoor spaces where smoking is already banned. Both of these bills are making progress through the committee process and I’ll be sure to keep you informed of any new developments.
Earlier this week, I presented two of my bills that will have a significant and positive impact on our communities.
On Monday, I presented my bill in the Greater Minnesota Job Growth Committee to provide funding for the City of Deer River for critical sewer and water system improvements. Deer River City Councilman Chris Reed and City Administrator Mark Box joined me to testify on the importance of this project.
And on Tuesday, I presented my bill in the Capital Investment Committee to provide funding for the city of Grand Rapids to make improvements to the IRA Civic Center, including roof replacement and other improvements for health, safety, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. Grand Rapids City Administrator Tom Pagel and City Councilor Rick Blake made the trip down to testify in support of the project.
Mobile Office Hours March 9th in Grand Rapids
Would you appreciate a face to face meeting with your legislators, but can’t make it down to St. Paul? On Saturday, March 9, I will be hosting mobile office hours in Grand Rapids from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm at Caribou Coffee (2020 S Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids, MN 55744) along with Senator Justin Eichorn. This is a good opportunity for anyone from our community to stop by to share input or ask questions about any legislative issue. Understanding your concerns and the issues that matter most to you will help us as we represent our communities in St. Paul during the months ahead. If you are interested, just contact my legislative assistant, Betsy Ritzer, at 651-296-5489 or Betsy.Ritzer@house.mn to schedule a time to stop by during mobile office hours.
Had the pleasure of sitting down with Kasey Cundy from Grand Rapids who was here representing the Epilepsy Foundation.
Really enjoyed time with these college students from Grand Rapids and Bemidji who are attending the College of St. Scholastica (where I served as an adjunct faculty) and Concordia University St. Paul (where I obtained my undergraduate degree) during their advocacy day at the Capitol.
Please Contact Me
As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns on anything happening at the legislature. I greatly value your input and appreciate hearing your thoughts.
Have a great weekend,