Constitutional Amendment for 2018

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.

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Poetry and Piano

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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Regent for CD1

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.


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Support Your Public Lands

There was a rally in the Rotunda this afternoon by hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to SUPPORT YOUR PUBLIC LANDS. Speakers talked about their various experiences in the outdoors and the importance of access to public lands. Whether it was hunting, fishing, or just enjoying the natural settings, they emphasized the importance of public lands to their lives and the necessity to pass these treasures on to our children and grandchildren.



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Reception for Kenyan Delegation

A delegation from the Government of Kenya has been visiting the Minnesota State Capitol this week. They came to see how our government works. At a reception yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to ask some questions. One was an inquiry about what were they taking away from their visit here. One person said that we seem to be very organized. Another was impressed with all the rallies and protests in the Capitol. I also learned their Parliament membership term in parliament is five years long. Their next stop is Wisconsin.


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Autism Awareness Day

April 2 was Autism Awareness Day and the lights on the Eagan Tower were shining blue in observance.

This was due primarily to the persistence of a very determined high school student, Emily. I recall how disappointed she was when the City of Eagan refused her first request. Since that time, the City has altered the policy and the blue lights shined brightly on this Autism Awareness Day.

In addition, Emily also arranged a celebration of the occasion at the shelter by the Eagan Community Center. There were blue lanterns, blue cupcakes that she baked, blueberries, and glow necklaces. An event to remember.

Autism impacts so many people and we need to be addressing it on a much larger level than we are doing currently. The earlier it is addressed the better the outcome.

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Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

We heard testimony tonight on House File 3375 in our Government Operations and Election Policy Committee. This legislation will create a Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The testimony from all the women made very clear how prevalent assault, murder, and kidnapping is in their communities. It was very moving.

One of the charges for the Task Force will be to examine and report on the systemic causes behind violence that indigenous women and girls experience, including patterns and underlying factors that explain why higher levels of violence occur against indigenous women and girls, including underlying historical, social, economic institutional, and cultural factors which may contribute to the violence. The women look to the Task Force as a step in the right direction to end the history of violence.

I have signed onto HF 3375.


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DFL Senate District 51 Convention

The DFL Senate District 51 Convention was held on Saturday, March 10.  Included in the day’s work was electing new party officers, delegates to the upcoming congressional district and state conventions, and voting on resolutions.

I am particularly grateful to be endorsed by the delegates from 51A to be the candidate for 51A in the 2018 election.  It is an honor to have their confidence and support!

My appreciation to all who participated in this event. This is democracy in action.

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Rare Disease Day

There was a program on February 28 to recognize Rare Disease Day.  We have a number of people with rare diseases in our district, so I found this event very interesting. The most recent case is a young woman who has a rare form of cancer. There are 30 people, worldwide, with this condition.

One of the speakers was from NORD, National Organization for Rare Disorders.  See rare for more information.

I will be signing on to House File 2574, a bill that creates a rare disease advisory council.

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Why Treaties Matter

The Minnesota Humanities Center hosted an Open House at the Capitol this evening to highlight their exhibit on WHY TREATIES MATTER.  The exhibit is on the third floor of the Capitol.

One thing that is brought out is that while the Dakota and Ojibwe people may have ceded land to the United States, they sometimes kept rights to minerals, timber and land use. These rights were not given, they were retained by sovereign nations. Even today, this concept is difficult for some to comprehend.

For more information, please refer to

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