We later traveled to Winona, which served as the hub for much of the mini-session’s activity. While there, one of the activities was a public hearing on the childcare crisis in greater Minnesota. Tim Penny, former U.S. Congressman from southeastern Minnesota and now CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, gave an overview of this crisis. We also heard from the Minnesota Farm Bureau and Families First Rochester. All across Minnesota, young families are facing significant challenges in finding quality childcare that they can afford. The average family with two young children spends about 31 percent of their income on childcare, averaging $27,684 per year. Providers also are struggling. With medium wages of just $11.27 per hour, approximately one third need public support to make ends meet for their families. The message was clear: the root cause of this crisis is that our early childhood education system is severely under-resourced.
The 2019 House of Representatives mini-session has now concluded, but we are still following up on the valuable information and perspectives that we gained. I know many of my colleagues share in the hope that it won’t be another 22 years before the next mini-session.
Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.