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 diseases.org 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 www.treatiesmatter.org

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Town Hall Meeting, February 17

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Town Hall meeting that Sen. Jim Carlson and I hosted on  Saturday, February 17. We are particularly grateful to the four government relations specialists/lobbyists who shared their experiences with us. They did a great job of explaining their jobs, the committee process, details on advocating for an organization, and challenges in getting legislation passed.

We had a a number of questions, so I think we all learned something.

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Vikings Practice Facility

I had the opportunity to tour the new Vikings practice facility in Eagan on Friday. It is scheduled to open at the beginning of March. The field that will be available for youth activities is also nearing completion. The complex will be an impressive addition to our community. The building definitely has  a visible presence when you are driving by on 494.

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Burnsville – STATE OF THE CITY

On Wednesday, I attended the 2018 State of the City Address at the Ames Center.  It began with a video that highlighted the 2017 events of the community.

Afterwards, Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz outlined the plans for the next 20 years. More housing, replacing infrastructure, transportation improvements, and adapting city buildings to meet the needs of the community, were some of the items she mentioned. She talked about maintaining some of the current business areas as well as working on areas that need changes, particularly some of the retail areas. Mayor Kautz was especially enthused about the development potential of land along the river. She painted a bright future for Burnsville and its residents.

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District 196 Legislative Forum

Last week, legislators had the opportunity to meet with #196 Superintendent Jane K. Berenz, some staff members, and many other people from the school district.

The visit started with a tour of the new elementary school, East Lake, in Lakeville. It is an impressive facility, spacious and colorful.

Afterwards, we sat down to a roundtable discussion. District #196 is one of the largest school districts in the state.  It has a number of outstanding programs and students with outstanding performances.

On the list of priorities is stable funding, indexing general education formula to inflation, increasing equalilization aid to equalize local tax burden, and allowing local control to renew existing operation tax levies.

Our school districts are still trying to recover from the inadequate funding received during the first half of this decade. Funding our public schools is constitutionally mandated. In addition, we need an educated workforce to have a successful economy.

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Cheistmas on Copper Street 2017

I saw the Copper Street Brass for the first time tonight at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in Eagan. They are an extremely talented group and very entertaining. They performed both traditional Christmas songs as well as themes from TV shows and movies. My favorites were “I Saw Three Ships” and “Carol of the Bells.”

They perform throughout the region, so check them out.

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HolidayFest 2017

I recently attended the HolidayFest at Hindu Milan Mandir. It is a celebration of the many holidays that are taking place. In addition to the religious observance, we spent most of the evening being entertained by singing and dancing. The talent was outstanding and the clothes are so beautiful. A great way to bring people together during this very special time of the year.

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