As we get closer to the start of the 2016 session, it is critical that leaders in St. Paul hear from those of us in Kandiyohi County. My job, as your representative, is to be your voice and ensure that the challenges facing our communities are effectively communicated at the Capitol.
Yesterday, I hosted newly appointed Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Johnson Piper and House Health and Human Service Finance Committee Chairman Rep. Matt Dean, for a tour of mental health and home care organizations in the Willmar area.
Our first stop of the day was at the Community Addiction Recovery Enterprise, located on the MinnWest campus, where we met with administrators and employees to discuss ways we can improve addiction recovery services.
While at MinnWest, we also took time to visit the Child and Adolescent Behavior Health Services (CABHS) hospital. CAHBS is the only hospital of its kind in Minnesota that treats children and adolescents with serious mental health issues.
Our next tour was at Lake Region Home Health where we heard from administrators about the challenges in hiring and retaining staff. As you may recall, last session the legislature passed historic reforms that dramatically increased nursing home funding. This legislation was a good first step in addressing the needs of our rural nursing homes and I am hopeful that additional steps will be taken this year.
The final stop of the day was at Rice Hospital for a roundtable discussion with local mental health and chemical dependency care providers, leaders from Rice Hospital and the county, and law enforcement.
The majority of the discussion focused on a lack of staff and a vast reduction in the number of beds for patients which has led to a crisis of sorts not only in the health community but also for law enforcement.
Willmar is a regional hub for mental health and care services. I am grateful that Commissioner Johnson-Piper and Chair Dean took the time to visit and listen to folks about the challenges facing Kandiyohi County.
You are invited to attend a legislative breakfast tomorrow morning at Ridgewater College beginning at 8:30. The discussion will provide an opportunity to learn about the career pipeline between Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource (AFNR) education in high school, post-secondary, and Farm Business Management programs that will support the workforce of the agricultural sector in Minnesota
On February 24th, the newly formed Select Committee on Childcare Affordability will be traveling to Willmar. The meeting is set to begin at 6 pm and will take place at the Kandiyohi Historical Society. I encourage providers and families to attend this meeting to discuss childcare affordability and accessibility in our area.
Join Sen. Koenen and myself on February 27th at Cornerstone Coffee in the Skylar Mall for a discussion on the coming legislative session. The town hall is set to begin at 8:30. I hope to see you there!
That’s all for this week’s update.
It is an honor to be your representative and I encourage you to call or contact me to share your thoughts on matters related to state government or to let me know how I can better represent you. It would be great to speak with you!
Have a great weekend,