I hope you are well, and this email finds you and your family staying healthy. I’m writing today to invite you to a Clean Water Panel Discussion I’m hosting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at the Shorewood Community Center. We’ll be joined by Jeff Forester, Executive Director of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers, Sherry White, President of the Board of Managers of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, and Scott Beauchamp, Policy Director at Friends of the Boundary Waters. Community members are asked to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. Live streaming is available on my Facebook page. You can register and submit questions in advance to Lyndsey Hanson at Lyndsey.firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone is welcome!
Read more below about state efforts underway to improve water quality in our communities.
Minnesota’s COVID cases are on the rise, and our state is currently dealing with the worst outbreak in the country. Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm has announced that booster vaccine eligibility will be expanded this week to anyone who wants one. The waning effectiveness of the vaccine poses a threat to our efforts to combat the virus, to protect our elders and immunocompromised, and to our hospital capacity. Understaffed and overwhelmed health care professionals are asking for our help. You can find a location to get your booster here. It’s also not too late to begin your initial vaccine series. Minnesota’s vaccine locator can help you find an appointment or walk-in opportunity.
Encouragingly, over 44,250 kids ages 5-11 have received their vaccine since the CDC has approved a version from Pfizer. Vaccines for children are only available with parental permission. You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens and find where to get children vaccinated at mn.gov/vaxforkids. I also encourage parents to speak with their pediatrician, family medicine clinic, or local pharmacy about appointments.
Infrastructure in Minnesota
This week, the House Capital Investment Committee made a stop in Minnetonka Beach to see firsthand what local water infrastructure improvements would mean for our communities. I’m authoring legislation to fund needed updates to the Minnetonka Beach and Mound water infrastructure systems. All of us need safe and clean drinking water and investing in these projects would ensure we all have access to it.
Despite a small city population of 230 residents, Minnetonka Beach recently self-funded a replacement of its water tower and 21,000 feet of water main. The city is now requesting state help to replace its 60+ year old water treatment plant.
After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health found that Mound had levels of manganese that exceeded the Health-Based Value, the city was required to advise residents against drinking the water. The city did so and immediately conducted a study of its water treatment needs. The city’s capital investment request would address manganese and other problems and update its water infrastructure by adding a filtration plant, developing a new well, upsizing interconnect mains between towers and closing an 80-year-old well and inactive wells that have high levels of arsenic.
So much gratitude to the House Capital Investment Committee members and staff for traveling to hear about the urgent critical water infrastructure needs in Minnetonka Beach and Mound. The mayors and the cities’ staff did an incredible job explaining the projects.
Minnesota received good news from the federal government on Monday when the President signed the infrastructure bill into law. Our state will benefit with:
MinnPost released comprehensive coverage on how these investments will keep moving our communities forward and includes bipartisan praise on how we’ll get to work together to make investments in our state’s infrastructure. You can find the article here.
I was honored to receive the LiveMore ScreenLess Advocate Award! I was proud to carry bipartisan legislation that will help advance digital well-being in young people and empower them to be smart users of technology, and am grateful to all at Live More Screen Less for their important advocacy and work.
Improving Mental Health Care Access
I am so grateful for the people who devote their careers to taking care of and advocating for people with mental illness. Their work has never been more important. It was an honor to receive the 2021 Paul Wellstone Advocacy Award from the Minnesota Psychiatric Society in recognition of some of the legislation I championed last session that aims to improve the mental health of Minnesotans. We were able to deliver enhanced mental health telemedicine access in Minnesota, an extension in postpartum health coverage from 60 days to one year for new mothers on Medical Assistance, limit individual screen time for students in pre-k and kindergarten and pass grants to promote digital and social-emotional well-being for students.
#OptOutside on November 26
On Friday, November 26, admission to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be free. Enjoy time with family after the Thanksgiving holiday and #OptOutside to take advantage of our beautiful regional parks and trails in the west metro.
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime with input, questions, or to let me know how I can provide assistance.
My best wishes for a healthy and safe Thanksgiving.