Work continues at a frantic pace here at the Legislature as the first deadline for bills to get through committee is just two weeks away. Next week, the February Budget Forecast will be announced, giving us a clearer picture of the state’s finances as we move ahead with budget and tax policy bills.
U of M Board of Regents – Final Vote
Wednesday evening, we held a joint convention of the House and Senate to elect members to the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. As I’ve mentioned before, due to the U of M’s unique constitutional status as our “land grant” university, this is an extremely important legislative responsibility that should involve recruitment, applications, and vetting before finally getting to the final election. While there is always a certain level of politics surrounding this campaign, unfortunately, the process this year reached an unprecedented level of partisanship.
Additionally, I’ve found the lack of diversity to be problematic, and it’s troubling we couldn’t forward at least one woman. Steve Sviggum, former GOP Speaker of the House, did not go through the application process as other candidates did, and as a surprise candidate nonetheless was elected for the 2nd congressional district seat. Darrin Rosha was reelected for a second term representing the 3rdcongressional district, David McMillan was reelected from the 8th district, and Ken Powell was elected to an at-large seat. My votes went to former Mendota Heights Mayor Sandra Krebsbach in the 2nd, Tom Devine in the 3rd, McMillan in the 8th, and Powell for the at-large seat.
I want to congratulate those elected, and thank Tom Devine for his years of service to the University. There has to be a better way though, and I hope we can explore changes in the near future.
Town Hall Meeting
I’d like to remind you about the Town Hall Listening Session coming uptomorrow with Sen. Steve Cwodzinski. We will be joined by Susan Brower from the Minnesota State Demographic Center to talk about some of the demographic changes to our region. We will also devote much of the time to listening to your viewpoints, questions, and personal stories. I hope you can join us.
WHAT: Legislative Town Hall Listening Session.
WHO: State Rep. Laurie Pryor, State Sen. Steve Cwodzinski, interested members of the community.
WHEN: Saturday, February 25, 10:00 a.m. – noon.
WHERE: Glen Lake Activities Center, 14350 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka, MN, 55345.
Penumbra at 40
This past weekend I had the honor of attending the Penumbra Theater’s 40th anniversary at the Minnesota History Center. Penumbra is the nation’s largest African American theater company and has launched the careers of successful playwrights including that of August Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. The theater was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy, and is now directed by his daughter Sarah, both pictured above on the right. They have an unwavering commitment to artistic excellence and social justice and I hope for their ongoing success.
Please keep in touch with your comments and questions; it’s an honor to represent you.