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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jay Xiong (DFL)

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Weekend Update from Rep. Jay Xiong

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Rep. Xiong

Neighbors,

I hope you've had a great week. News from your State Capitol this week includes an update on insulin and prescription drugs, a new climate caucus, a trip to Memphis to discuss environmental justice, and a visit to the Iron Range. 

Climate Change Caucus

I fully support the young people around the world who took part in the Youth Climate Strike and am excited to announce that I am a founding member of the new House Climate Caucus. I'm very much looking forward to working together to fight for Minnesotans (of all ages) who are demanding we take action to protect their future. Climate change is one of the top issues that I hear about in our community. It's been awesome to see people from across the state organizing in their communities and urging legislators to take action.

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More information about the Climate Action Caucus is available here.

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I also got the chance to go to Memphis for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) Mississippi River Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Other legislators from districts along the Mississippi and I discussed all the ways we can protect the river, from flood resilience to sustainable agricultural practices, and community water access to water quality preservation. It was an important conversation, knowing BIPOC face the greatest threats from climate change and that we're on the road to more justice, healing, and righting wrongs. It was also a great opportunity to work together with our downstream neighbors to improve the health of the Mississippi River. 

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Insulin and Prescription Drugs

This month, DFL lawmakers held a series of Community Conversations to address the soaring cost of insulin and prescription drugs.

The meetings, in Burnsville, Richfield, St. Cloud, and Shorewood, were an opportunity for us to hear personal stories from Minnesotans, develop a bill to help address some of the challenges people are facing, and put pressure on Big Pharma to end price gouging. We held a final hearing at the Capitol on Thursday to discuss the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act and other solutions to address the skyrocketing cost of insulin and other prescription drugs. The price of insulin has tripled in the last decade, and studies indicate that 1 in 4 diabetics have resorted to rationing their insulin due to the high cost.

 

Trip to the Iron Range

I recently went north with my House colleagues - we visited the Iron Range to talk about the work underway to create new jobs and grow the green economy throughout our state. Minnesota’s a leader in green technology and it was great to hear about some of the ways we can support a diverse economy through clean technology and innovation.

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Mini Session in Winona

Next week, we're taking session on the road! From October 2-4, we’ll be holding a historical mini-session in Winona and the surrounding communities. Southeastern Minnesota will host legislators as a number of committee hearings, roundtable discussions, and informative tours will take place in Winona, Austin, and Rochester.

The mini-session is a chance for my colleagues and I to see our work through a different lens outside of St. Paul. The last mini-session was in 1997 in Willmar, and we’re hoping our work this year restarts the tradition of holding offsite hearings as part of our efforts to make the Minnesota House more responsive and accessible. You can find an agenda of events here. I'll be in Austin, for the elections hearing on census and in the legacy, judiciary, jobs & economic hearings.

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Apply for the Page Program!

Our House of Representatives High School Page Program is an awesome opportunity for students in their Junior year! Applicants can participate in a wide variety of activities to enhance their understanding of our state government and the legislative process. Some of the activities include:  

  • Assisting members and staff during House floor sessions in the House Chamber.
  • Participating in a mock committee hearing designed to develop students' leadership skills and to inspire them to think critically about the issues confronting our state.
  • Individual meetings with state representatives designed to allow students to discuss the issues that matter most to them.
  • Meetings with constitutional officers, members of the judiciary, lobbyists, and members of the media.

The programs are each 1 week long, and applications are taken until November 21st, 2019. Find more information here, and start an application here

Gun Violence in our Community 

Finally, I want to make note of yet another fatal shooting that took place in our community. Our community should not accept this as a new normal. Whether this incident happened in Dayton's Bluff or Sun Ray doesn't matter. Our Eastside electeds and community leaders, including the Horn of Africa led by Amin Omaer will hold a conversation with the community in the coming weeks. We need to come together as community and address the public health pandemic that is gun violence. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim. We deserve better, and we can do better.

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend, 

Rep. Jay Xiong

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