Greetings from the Capitol,
It’s no secret that 2020 was a difficult year. The COVID pandemic disrupted our lives. If that wasn’t enough, our country remains divided after an incredibly divisive election cycle. Now we enter a new year, and kick off a new legislative session different than any other.
Even with the challenges that still remain, I’m optimistic the Minnesota legislature can have a successful 2021 session. However, this success is going to take a collaborative and bipartisan effort among members of the House, Senate, and Governor Walz and his administration.
One of my biggest frustrations during the 2020 legislative session and the special sessions that followed was the lack of communication and cooperation from the governor and his administration, especially as we worked through the COVID pandemic. The governor has chosen to issue executive orders related to the pandemic with little or no input from the legislature. Speaking from experience, legislators have been getting a lot of feedback from constituents regarding the governor’s decisions. Unfortunately, there were very few or no opportunities for Minnesotans or legislators to express this feedback to the governor.
There are 201 state legislators living all across Minnesota — 134 members of the House of Representatives and 67 members of the Senate, and we hear from constituents on a daily basis. There are multiple ways for folks to get in touch with their Senator or Representative, or provide testimony to a legislative committee. This participation is the cornerstone of our democracy, but it’s very difficult for the public to be involved when so many policies are enacted via executive order.
One exception has been providing resources to help front-line workers and health care facilities manage the pandemic. The legislature and governor worked together to deliver bipartisan emergency funding for hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and health care professionals. We also worked together to ensure proper workplace safety protections for front-line workers. Additionally, we worked together to provide emergency relief for the small businesses that were forced to shut down under the governor’s executive orders. During times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to work together toward positive solutions.
A new year, and in this case, a new legislative session is a great opportunity to get a fresh start. During my 10 years in the Senate, I’ve learned that the legislative process can be tedious and issues usually don’t get resolved quickly, but gathering input and hearing different perspectives is important and leads to better outcomes. It’s my hope that members of the House, Senate, and administration will once again work together on bipartisan solutions that are good for the people of Minnesota.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your feedback is extremely important and helpful. You can send an email to email@example.com or call my Capitol office at 651-296-5649. It’s a great honor to serve as your State Senator.
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