Our community has not been spared from the gun violence that has impacted our country this summer. St. Paul has been devastated by one tragic shooting after another. I co-authored universal background checks and Red Flag legislation that would bring common sense to the gun violence debate, but the Senate GOP wouldn't budge and we continue to see senseless gun deaths.
But we know that just pulling guns off the streets won't stop the pain impacting people in our community. There is no miracle cure for the public safety and mental health crisis, for the conditions that manifest long before a trigger is pulled. Gun violence prevention bills are good, but we need to take a holistic approach to preventing the causes of suicide and gun violence. That includes the Red Flag laws and universal background checks killed by the Senate, but it also includes investing in education and community programming, and in mental health and economic development. I am resolved to continuing to work to make our community safe, vibrant, and healthy.
First Week of School
I want to wish good luck to all of the teachers, parents, students and staff who are beginning a new year of school at St. Paul schools!
For decades, Minnesota's financial commitment to schools has fallen short, but this year the House passed quite a few measures to support our classrooms. All of our school districts will see a two percent increase per student this year, and again next year. Though this isn't nearly enough, it should help schools avoid teacher layoffs, closures, program cuts and larger class sizes. We also protected pre-K for 4000 early learners, and addressed a shortfall in special education funding.
Minnesota has one of the largest opportunity gaps in the country. While 34 percent of students are students of color, only four percent of our teachers are. We made meaningful strides to close the gap that has left Minnesota ranked 47th in the nation in racial disparities by investing in recruiting and training for teachers of color, and boosting tribal schools to the same levels as the state's average funding.
State Fair Poll
Thank you to those of you who stopped by the House of Representatives booth to visit and complete the nonpartisan legislative survey. Here's a breakdown of some of the poll results, which indicate that Minnesotans are in agreement with many of the things the House DFL is fighting for, including the gun violence prevention measures I mentioned earlier.
Urban Roots is an East Side institution dedicated to community development, and they're looking for an associate director! If you're considering applying, you can do so here.
I hope you're enjoying the weather as summer winds down! As always, let me know if you have any questions, thoughts or comments.
Rep. Jay Xiong