In the earlier hours of July 1, 2021 – the longest legislative session came to an end – at least that’s what it has felt like. We have essentially been in session for a year and half, since the pandemic began more than a year ago. Although a bit weary, and with a long to-do list still remaining, we have accomplished much in our work together.
We made the health of Minnesotans our top priority. Working with Governor Walz, we put in place the tools necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus, saving countless lives. Today, we are at a 70% vaccination rate of Minnesota’s adults, another milestone in our collective efforts to beat the virus.
We worked to protect the economic security of Minnesotans, especially those most impacted by the pandemic. COVID-19 has not been fair in any sense of the word. But through rental assistance, extended unemployment and other means, we strived to help Minnesotans keep their heads above water so they could provide and care for their families throughout the pandemic.
We passed a budget that will put Minnesotans on their front foot to recover from the struggles of the past year. Historic investments in child care, K-12 education, and equity-driven policies targeted at those most impacted by the pandemic. Economic relief for our front-line workers and small businesses that have struggled to get by. Needed resources to help our communities that were damaged during civil unrest to rebuild. And much more.
We prevented damaging proposals pushed for by the Republican-led Senate such as tax giveaways to the ultra-rich, anti-democratic voter restrictions, and private school vouchers.
All that said, it is difficult to shake the feeling that we aren’t doing enough – because that is also true. So much of the last year and a half has been about triage and immediacy – helping our constituents literally survive the next day or week or month. Unfortunately, the Republican Senate blocked many of our efforts on the transformational change necessary to build a better future for the long haul. Things like significant police accountability, paid family and medical leave, a more just tax system and big investments in affordable housing did not make it across the finish line. Securing these victories for our future will take all of us – organizing together, fighting together, and making the case to the broader public. Together, we have so much work to do.
It is such an incredible honor to represent our communities and to work with you all. I wish you all nothing but the best this summer and look forward to our continued partnership to bend the arc of history in our state toward justice and prosperity for all.