I had the opportunity to meet Khizr Kahn on Monday. Mr. Kahn is the gentleman who offered his copy of the Constitution to the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. He is extremely passionate about defending the values of our country and electing people that will hold true to keeping the integrity of the United States intact.
He mentioned his experience in Pakistan where policies discouraged people from criticizing the government. Mr.Kahn is critical of the national ban on Muslims. He and his wife lost their son, a member of the United States Army, when he was serving in Iraq. This family paid dearly to protect freedom.
Thanks to all who participated in today’s Town Hall. We had a nice gathering of folks whose questions resulted in good discussions.
One of the successes of this year’s session was the passing of the Pension Bill. It will help provide stability to the state’s economic situation. The other was the Capital Investment Bill. This will help maintain the state’s assets and provide jobs. For Dakota County, the bonding bill provided $6 million for the SAFE Building, it is a facility to train first responders in the region. Fort Snelling and the Minnesota Zoo also received appropriations.
The main item for next year will be passing a tax bill that will be beneficial to most Minnesotans.
I attended the opening event of the pollinator habitat under the power lines next to Tennisioux Park in Burnsville this morning. Xcel Energy and Burnsville are partnering to develop this habitat. The plantings today were on an area where a new natural gas pipeline was installed leading to the Black Dog Generating Plant.
Xcel Energy’s northern service territory coincides with the “Monarch Migration Corridor” and it sees tremendous potential to create and restore pollinator habitat.
The City of Burnsville has already developed other habitat projects in the city.
In spite of the constant rain, the people gathered there displayed a lot of enthusiasm for the project and some planting took place. The event included speakers and other activities, too. The participants included scouts, students, neighbors, people from Xcel, and the University of Minnesota
Media was present so there might be television coverage later today.
I attended the 2018 Discovery Scholarship Awards Banquet that was held Tuesday evening. Flint Hills Resources celebrates the achievements of two students from each high school in the communities surrounding its facility. The parents of the students are also invited to the event. Each student is onstage as highlights of his/her academic and community activities are read off. A truly impressive group of students.
On the afternoon of June 5, the Burnsville Police Department hosted an open house in the newly renovated Police Department building. In addition to more space, new amenities, some offices have been relocated in the facility. Looks like activities will be able to done more efficiently and with more privacy. A job well done.
Memorial Day, a day to reflect and give thanks.
In spite of the high temperature, there was a good group present today for the Memorial Day event. The Eagan High School Concert Choir made their first appearance this afternoon and they did a great job. One of the songs they performed was “Song For Unsung Heroes.” It was very moving. It was great to see young people participating in this observance.
After the program and a moment of silence, Joe Swierczek played “Taps.” Joe has been part of the tradition here.
There are a number of interesting articles in the May 13th New York Times. On the front page is an article on federal tax cuts and debates in state capitals. Minnesota is featured in the column.
In the Sunday Review section, there are several columns of interest: “Liberals, You’re Not As Smart as You Think,” “Is the United States Too Big to Govern?,” and “Do Pipelines Really Create Lots of Jobs?”
Today the Minnesota House of Representatives passed legislation that would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot. It allocates state general tax revenue related to motor vehicle repair and replacement parts exclusively to fund roads and bridges.
There is no question that we need to do a much better job of funding transportation needs. The problem is that this doesn’t create any new funding source. It will just take money out of our general fund. Right now, Governor Dayton is pleading for more funding for education, the dire need to increase compensation for home health care workers is not on the horizon, and affordable housing is desperately needed. The passage of the amendment means even less money to meet such needs.
In the Transportation Committee, one of the testifiers opposing the amendment said this was the cowards’ way out. And he is right! The legislature has the responsibility to pass a budget. The amendment takes the legislators off the hook. Most of the “YES” votes were by Republicans. This is consistent with the Republican votes over the past decade or so. They want the privilege of being a state representative, but they don’t want to take the tough votes to get the work done that needs to be done for Minnesota. Even when we passed the comprehensive transportation bill in 2008, there were only about five Republicans that finally came forward to vote for the bill. Enough is enough, if Republicans want the job, they should be willing to come up with appropriate legislation and take a vote. That is what governing is all about. Most Minnesotans recognize the need to fund our infrastructure and expect their legislators to get the job done.
A special note of appreciation to all who participated in our concert fundraiser on Saturday 5/12, POETRY AND PIANO. Thank you for sharing your talents, time and support.
Many thanks to Salam and Dima for providing a marvelous musical experience and to Salam , Vanessa, and Maya for inspirational readings.
It was a lovely afternoon! Listening to the performers one understands why it is so important to have the arts and music in our schools. There is no price on the enrichment they provide to our lives.
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On Thursday morning, the House and Senate met in a joint session to vote on a regent for the First Congressional District. Earlier in the week, a legislative group had narrowed the contestants down to two, Mary Davenport and Brooks Edwards. Ms. Davenport has an extensive history in the higher ed field. Dr. Edwards is a cardiologist at Mayo. From my viewpoint, most of the legislators from CD1 were primarily supporting Davenport.
Randy Simonson, who has a doctorate degree in Veterinary Microbiology from the University and works in the animal health industry, had also been a candidate. However, it seems some legislators were alarmed by his comments about restricting research at the U, closing campuses, and management preferences.
On the floor, Randy Simonson was nominated by Rep. Drew Christiansen (R). When the dust settled, Simonson was declared the new regent. The final vote was essentially along party lines.