CD2 Meeting/Eagan

I attended another of the CD2 Town Hall Meetings yesterday, this one at the Wescott Library in Eagan.  The moderator said that  Congressman Jason Lewis was informed, but he responded that he was not able to attend.  Residents of the Second Congressional District are coordinating these efforts because Congressman Lewis is not scheduling any open meetings with constituents and they want to have dialogue with him.  The room was packed, as was my previous experience at the Burnsville Library.  We are told that the proceedings are being taped  and  will be made available to the Congressman as well as the notecards collected will be given to him.

Bob, from Inver Grove Heights, stated the Trump has told agencies to make access to the Affordable Care Act as difficult as possible.  He said to fix the ACA, don’t repeal it. Shelley, from, Apple Valley, wants Representative Lewis to look at the pharmaceutical industry.  Her son needs medicine that costs $1200 and that is not affordable. She also said that no vouchers should be given to schools that don’t take care of special education students. Sasha, from Eagan, stressed the importance of helping students with special needs.  Ed. from Eagan, said there needs to be discussion about Russia and the fact that Trump campaigned about removing sanctions against Russia.

Dee, from Eagan, said Lewis has been inacessible and is an extremist.  People want to be involved. Mark, also from Eagan, wanted to address hate and cited the attacks on Jewish institutions. Greg,from Eagan, wants Mecicare for all.

The meeting started at 1:00 and ended after 5:00. People are very concerned about the direction of government and the lack of attention being paid to the needs of the average citizens while the funding seems to be directed to big business and big-money interests.

 

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Black Dog Pipeline Project

On Monday evening, Xcel Energy hosted an informational meeting at the Burnsville City Hall regarding the Black Dog Natural Gas Pipeline Project. Xcel is planning to construct a 2.2 mile high pressure pipeline from the Northern Natural Gas Company’s Cedar Station in Eagan to the Black Dog Generating Plant in Burnsville. The facility is converting from  coal-fired electrical generators to a gas-fired facility.  The construction is slated to start in April and should be completed by September.

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CD2 Meetings -Signs Of The Times

I went to the Burnsville Library yesterday after seeing a flyer that said Town Hall Meeting with or without Jason Lewis.  When I first arrived, there were about 30 to 40 people standing outside the library. I was told the meeting room was filled to capacity and they decided to gather outside and talk about their concerns and expectations. Some of the topics had to do with health care, education, and Russian involvement in issues regarding our country.

Then I went inside to listen to the people there.   One of the most emotional testimonies came from a young woman who said that she was one of the people that was using up a lot of our health care money.  She said that she had breast cancer and she wanted to live so that she could take care of children. Looking around, I saw a number of people who had tears in their eyes after listening to this young woman.  She received a standing ovation when she finished.

What is amazing to me is how many gatherings are springing up because people are so concerned about what is happening in Washington, D. C. and they want to talk to Congressman Lewis. It seems he is not making himself readily available and he did not attend this meeting. It is the residents of CD2 that are setting up these meetings as a way to express their frustration and make sure the Congressman knows how his constituents feel about the way their government is being conducted.  Several of the people that I talked with said they had never been active politically before. While many are concerned about the immediate issues, even more are concerned about the future for our children and grandchildren.

 

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Minnesota Nurses Association

I had the opportunity to visit with some nurses the other day.  Their main issue is still safe staffing.  In essence, this means that a nurse’s caseload should be structured so that each patient is able to get the services necessary. What seems to be happening is delays in care or treatment, delays in medications, and increased inability to answer call lights.  Ideally, there should be a mechanism whereby units could be closed until a strategy is in place to deal with additional responsibilities. Another item of concern is the number of times nurses submitted requests for additional help and requests were ignored or given inappropriate responses.  This hardly builds confidence in the level of care being received.

My understanding is that the care situations haven’t  improved in the hospitals where the strikes took place.  First, nurses shouldn’t have to take such drastic actions to make sure their patients get the care they deserve. Secondly, I wonder whether administrators are placing costs over care.

We are facing problems in many aspects of healthcare and we should be able to do better. The Concern for Safe Staffing Report will be released on March 1, 2017.

 

 

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Somali Cultural Night

Students at Eagan High School invited the community to a Somali Cultural Night at Eagan High School. The program included singing, dancing, poetry, speakers and a fashion show. One young lady talked about the security and love that her parents provided throughout her life, part of which was spent in a refugee camp. It was very moving. The reception afterwards had the same enthusiasm and energy level. A very special evening! The students did a great job and deserve a lot of praise for their efforts.

Somali Cultural Celebration, Eagan High School

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BIG CHECK EVENT

I attended the BIG CHECK EVENT this afternoon at the Eagan Municipal Center. The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council presented checks to local arts groups for their community arts projects.  Two of the groups honored were the Eagan Men’s Chorus and Eagan Parks and Recreation. The Parks and Rec award will fund Welcome Home, a celebration of 20 years of the Eagan Art House.

 

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Thomas Friedman and St. Louis Park

Last year, Tom Friedman addressed Minnesota’s legislators in One Minnesota and he said that he had a book coming out after the election in which he mentions growing up in Minnesota. (One Minnesota is a day at the beginning of session when legislators gather to hear various speakers.)  The book is Thank you For Being Late.  In it, he talks about growing up in St. Louis Park, as did  Senator Franken and the Cohen Brothers.
In today’s StarTribune, there is an article called “The star power of St. Louis Park” and the reporter goes into detail about St. Louis Park.  It is a good article,
I recall being part of a team that audited their school district’s Community Education program decades ago and was impressed with the community at that time.
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UNCONSCIONABLE!

Last Thursday evening the Minnesota House – controlled and dominated by GOP legislators led by Speaker Kurt Daudt, voted to pass HF-1. This bill was supposed to provide insurance premium relief to over 120,000 Minnesotans, who this year have to cope with HUGE INCREASES in payments for their health insurance. These are Minnesotans whose income is above the level where they qualify for subsidies – over 120,000 people. These are people like yourself who work hard, sometimes holding down more than one job to make ends meet, your neighbors, co-workers.

Instead of providing financial relief to these people who are victimized by health insurance companies outrageous raises of premiums, the GOP doubled down on their misery!

Gov. Dayton released this detailed response to the approval of HF-1 by GOP Legislators. It is shocking to read what they did.

Rep. Masin voted AGAINST this “relief” bill, and stated the following:

“A disastrous response to people who are concerned about obtaining health insurance to cover their healthcare. The Governor’s message gives some of the sordid details of the Republican bill that passed off the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday evening. What is the point of paying for health insurance if it doesn’t provide necessary coverage for anything? Why provide money to insurance companies that show no concern for people’s well being?

Please contact the Speaker of the House, legislators saying Minnesotans needs something that works for our residents. Please ask the Governor to keep fighting for Minnesotans and reject any legislation that makes things worse for Minnesotans.”

[Rep. Kurt Daudt: phone: 651-296-5364 Email: rep.kurt.daudt@house.mn]
[Use this tool to find your legislator]

It took long years, many legislative battles, and even the untimely deaths of sick people who could not get health care to save their lives, to pass legislation that made health insurance affordable and insured health care accessible in Minnesota. Last night, the GOP in the MN House took Minnesota back to the dark years of nearly a decade ago!

THE WINNERS

Gov. Dayton’s letter lays out the case, point by point, how insurance companies come out the winners here!

They get from you the premiums, then they get the dollars allocated by the state to provide relief from the high premiums, and in addition, their obligation to provide coverage for your health care is drastically reduced.

THE LOSERS

Every Minnesotan is either directly having to cope with premiums that jumped skyhigh, or knows someone close who is affected by that.

But there is more to this! The bill also lays out the ground for future reductions of essential services and benefits to ALL MINNESOTANS, at all levels. The elimination of many services and the essential benefit cuts is a disaster for the health care of ALL Minnesotans.

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2017 Legislative Session Begins

On January 3, the newly-elected legislators took their oath of office in the Minnesota State Capitol.  The Capitol has undergone extensive renovation and it is quite impressive.

On January 4, the legislators attended the One Minnesota Legislative Conference held at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  The morning agenda included panels on health insurance and business priorities.  The afternoon was devoted to a workshop titled “Building Trust through Civil Discourse.”  It was offered through Next Generation, a program of the National Institute for Public Discourse.  The facilitators are legislators from other states.

On January 5th, the House met again and passed a tax conformity bill. Essentially , this makes the state tax form more compliant with the federal form.  It is important that this is done in a timely manner to ensure that people will have the appropriate forms when they start filing their taxes later this month.

Some committees met this week and the rest will start next week.

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Rev. Dr. William Barber II On The Election Outcome

I had the opportunity to hear Reverend Dr. William Barber II recently and was extremely impressed by his explanation of the election results last month. He said the outcome of the election happened because it is a repeat of history. He repeated that “America has resiliency” numerous times throughout his talk and said this is a fight against the third reconstruction.

In the beginning, he talked about leadership issues in the Bible and then went on to talk about the history of the United States, part of which described the Mississippi Plan of 1876. Reverend Barber emphasized that we must understand our history if we are going to make progress. Restoring the Voting Rights Act is essential!

He said that Hope has two children, Anger and Courage.

You can listen to his message here:

Rev. Barber’s video

 

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