The end of the year is a great time to reflect on the previous year and set some goals for the year to come. Minnesota made big strides in housing infrastructure, preserving health care for vulnerable Minnesotans, funding classrooms, and creating equitable job growth this year. Below are a few highlights of the first year I've had the honor of being your legislator. Feel free to share some of yours with me as well!
As vice chair of the Jobs and Economic Development committee, I wanted to work toward ensuring the benefits of economic growth are felt not just by those at the top, but by all Minnesotans. My colleagues and I worked together to establish some of the toughest wage theft laws in the nation this session. Minnesota’s employees deserve an hour’s pay for an hour’s work.
We passed my bill to support Launch Minnesota in their effort to jumpstart emerging businesses in Minnesota. This funding has already gone toward aspiring entrepreneurs! To ensure economic development benefits our community specifically, we also passed my bill granting $300 thousand to the public-private Cedar Riverside Partnership program to build sustainable growth and development in Cedar Riverside.
We worked to break down barriers to higher education and job training and keep students from amassing debt. The House DFL advocated for a two-year tuition freeze at all of the state’s colleges and universities, to improve student support and safety on campus, and to reduce food insecurity. We didn’t get everything we fought for, but we made bipartisan investments in student aid and programs like College Possible that enroll low-income students. We made strides toward hunger-free campuses, aided summer enrichment opportunities, and expanded access to mental health care for students.
A few more highlights:
- We preserved funding for health care for 1.2 million vulnerable Minnesotans.
- We increased funding for schools, including an additional $25 million for Minneapolis Public Schools.
- We passed bills in the DFL-led House to provide paid family and medical leave and earned sick and safe time. A goal for this year will be to convince Senate Republicans that Minnesotans shouldn't be penalized for taking time to care for themselves when they're sick, for a loved one facing health issues, or a new baby.
- We passed proposals to increase access to affordable child care and housing, and to enact criminal background checks on all gun sales. But we can’t pass these bills alone. In each case, Republicans who control the Senate have failed to act.
- We have been travelling the state to hear from Minnesotans about how we should legalize cannabis. It was great to see many of you in Minneapolis last night!