Jasinski: Thank you for the privilege of serving you once again

Thank you for the privilege of serving you once again
By Senator John Jasinski

Even though I have run for public office a number of times, the feeling of your neighbors choosing you to represent them never ceases to be anything short of humbling. Thank you so much to the residents of Senate District 24 for choosing me to serve as your voice in the Minnesota Senate once again. It truly is the privilege of a lifetime, and I will never take for granted this incredible responsibility.

I also want to thank everyone who helped during this difficult campaign — everyone who doorknocked, dropped literature, made phone calls, stuffed envelopes, walked in parades, or volunteered in any number of ways. My goal was to win every single one of the district’s 51 precincts, and your effort is a big reason we achieved that goal.

And last but certainly not least, thank you to Roger Steinkamp for a hard-fought but respectful race. Few understand the immense sacrifice and hard work it takes to run for office. We may have our disagreements on policy, but anyone who steps up to the plate to serve deserves our gratitude and our respect. I look forward to competing with you again down the road.

With the election behind us, it’s time to look forward. 

It is likely we will have another Special Session in the very near future when Gov. Walz extends his emergency powers, as expected. If given the opportunity, I will once again vote to end those powers, but since Democrats remain in control of the House, there is little that can be done other than to try to persuade the governor that it is time to begin working with the legislature.

The new legislative session will begin in January and we’ll have a difficult agenda. 

The biggest item on the to-do list is the budget. Minnesota is facing a projected $2.5 billion budget deficit thanks to the coronavirus and government lockdowns. Closing this gap will require difficult decisions. Early in the pandemic, we asked Gov. Walz to make his agencies find 5% savings within their budgets. He refused, so the job of balancing the budget will be more difficult but I am still confident we will get it done.

The U.S. economy sharply rebounded last quarter. That’s great, but to sustain that growth we need to get the state opened back up again. Now that the election is over, I hope Gov. Walz will start working with the legislature on the state’s response. The virus is serious but we have to learn how to move forward — safely — and get these workers and businesses moving again.

Healthcare remains a top concern. Republicans made it a priority to get health care costs under control after the MNsure/Obamacare debacle, and largely that effort was successful. Minnesota now has the lowest premiums in the nation. But coverage and especially prescription drugs remain unaffordable for many. We’ll continue to work to rein in those prices.

The riots in Minneapolis and St. Paul sent shockwaves across the state. We watched as businesses were looted and destroyed by angry mobs. Our brave men and women in law enforcement weren’t given the tools to contain the lawlessness and were told to stand down when these cities needed them most. I served on the Joint Senate Committee investigating the riots, and we released a comprehensive report that offers guidance about how the state can better respond to riots in the future. I will work to make sure those recommendations are implemented so Minnesotans can feel safe in their communities.

If there are any issues you’d like to see us address, please contact me any time at sen.john.jasinski@senate.mn. Thank you for the honor of serving as your state Senator!