Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), immigrants, and international citizens. Over the past month in particular, there has been a rise of anti-AAPI violence, and these violent acts have culminated in the horrific murders in Atlanta, which included six AAPI women. We must all stand up and confront hate when we see it, I stand with our AAPI communities and will work to ensure that we feel safe wherever and whoever we are. Please watch my colleague Rep. Tou Xiong’s speech on this tragedy, and the Minnesota Asian Pacific Caucuses statement on the issue.
Two bills of mine were heard in committees. One, HF 718, would allow cities to adopt pesticide control ordinances, which is currently prohibited and would create more pollinator-friendly habitats. You can watch my presentation on this bill here. The second bill, HF 970 diversifies mental health providers across the state. We have a long standing workforce shortage in our mental health providers combined with increased needs for mental healthcare due to the pandemic, my bill seeks comprehensive support to diversify providers from rural Minnesota and BIPOC providers.
Minnesota continues to make significant progress in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, over 2 million Minnesotans have been vaccinated at least once, which includes 77% of seniors. Last week, Governor Walz announced more Minnesotans are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine following the arrival of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose version. We still have more demand than supply, but we’re continuing to speed up the distribution of the vaccine. If you haven’t yet, sign up for the state’s Vaccine Connector to get connected with opportunities once you’re eligible.
The governor announced that some business, activity, and gathering would be updated to ease restrictions in light of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths trending downward. Many in our community are still vulnerable though, and we can’t lose sight of that. While we look forward to a summer that resembles normal, right now we need to continue taking the steps necessary to protect one another like social distancing, wearing a mask around others, and getting tested if we need to.
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Please reach out to my office if you need assistance with anything. I am best reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or please contact my legislative assistant Josh, email@example.com. I always appreciate hearing from you. You can also follow along on my official Facebook page here.
Rep. Samantha Vang