On Tuesday, Governor Walz released his two-year budget proposal for Minnesota. I am excited about the historic investments he committed to education, health care, safe and inclusive communities and transportation. His goals are very similar to what we are working here at the State Legislature, and I am optimistic that we will be able to make sure every child has a good teacher; make affordable health care a reality; expand access to affordable child care and housing; and improve the thousands of miles of roads and bridges that need repair.
This week, I joined my DFL and GOP colleagues with Majority Leader Ryan Winkler for a press conference to let all Minnesotans have the opportunity to attain a driver’s license. I met with some neighbors and the reality is this legislation will help improve the lives of many, from public safety to our economic vitality. As a son of refugee immigrants, as a leader from an underserved population, I am proud to fight for this legislation and share that it has broad statewide support from republicans, democrats, labor unions, law enforcement, and chambers of commerce.
Born and raised in public housing surrounded by poverty, drugs, and gang violence, I am proud to chief author HF 954 to keep kids out of trouble and prepare them for a strong future. This bill funds Big Brothers and Big Sisters – the oldest and largest mentoring program in MN. It helps kids facing adversity with strong, enduring relationships that help them beat the odds. The $1 million appropriation will provide workforce readiness, employment exploration, and skills development for youth ages 12 to 21.
I also wanted to share with you all that I proudly joined my colleagues in passing HF 13 – the Equal Rights Amendment out of the House Judiciary and Civil Law Division this week. This legislation is a proposed amendment to the United State Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender. While Minnesota has already ratified the federal ERA, this bill would demonstrative our renewed commitment to ensuring equal protection for all genders under our state Constitution.
It is an honor to serve you at the Capitol. Please contact me with comments, questions, and ideas at any time. If you ever have plans to visit the capitol, please let me know! My office is in the State Office Building, and you are always welcome here.