This was an exciting and hopeful week for our country as we celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. This new administration has significant challenges to face, but it’s already refreshing to see that they’re approaching these issues in a way that’s grounded in truth, transparency, compassion, and inclusiveness. I look forward to working with the Biden Administration and helping to build back better for our state and community.
Here's an update from the State Capitol:
Democracy for the People Act Announced in the House
On Thursday, my House colleagues introduced a legislative package called the Democracy for the People Act, which aims to build a strong, inclusive democracy that works for Minnesotans of every race, region, political party, and generation. Highlights of the package include: ensuring state and local elections officials can access the critical federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds they need for election security and infrastructure; establishing automatic voter registration (with an opt out option); providing ballots in multiple languages; and closing dark money loopholes. You can read more about the Democracy for the People Act here.
Efforts to Dismantle Systemic Racism
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I had the opportunity to join Hmong leaders early this week to speak with Rebecca Lucero, who is the Commissioner of Human Rights for the State of Minnesota about today's race challenges and how the state can address discrimination. You can view our conversation here.
More specifically on the legislative level, I believe we can work toward positive change in addressing systemic racism by closing opportunity gaps in our schools. One way we can do this is by having more Black, Indigenous, and teachers of color in our classrooms, so our educators are more reflective and representative of our student populations, especially on the Eastside. This is why I’ve co-sponsored legislation that would make critical investments dedicated to the training and hiring of BIPOC teachers.
The Boys and Girls Club is also an excellent resource for our St. Paul neighborhoods. I’ll be chief-authoring legislation to allocate funding that allows them to continue their mission providing excellent programming for our youth.
This week, in the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Finance and Reform Committee, we examined how the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board has begun to implement some measures within the police reform legislation the Legislature passed in the July 2020 special session. You can read more about what we learned from this Session Daily story, a nonpartisan publication from our House Office of Public Information.
Next week, in the Capital Investment Committee, we’ll be focusing on the economic impacts of racism in our communities, how capital investment projects have historically contributed to that, and how we can also use these projects to address this issue.
Investing in local projects that focus on equity was something the committee was able to do last year and I’m excited to build upon that work.
Meeting with Advocacy Groups
It was great to meet with the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance this week, which is the largest coalition of hunting, fishing, trapping, and conservation organizations in the state. These outdoor activities have a rich history in Minnesota, and I’m glad to support their work. You can learn more about the MOHA here.
I also met with Minnesota-AFL-CIO, the Minnesota Nurses Association, and Minnesota Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to discuss the importance of worker access to emergency paid sick leave. This is a priority bill that’s been included in the House DFL’s COVID-19 support legislative package that we rolled out last week. I’m hopeful it will move quickly through the committee process.
Keystone XL Pipeline Halted
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden cancelled the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, effectively halting its development. This is great news for our nation's environment, Indigenous rights, and landowners located along the pipeline’s route, which is why I was proud to sign on to a letter of support to the administration. You can read our letter here.
Keep in Touch
I appreciate hearing from you! Please never hesitate to reach out with what’s on your mind or how I can help. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 651-296-4201.
It’s an honor to serve our Eastside residents and families!
Enjoy the snow this weekend.