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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL)

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Veterans Day, commission openings, cold weather, share what you value

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

Congratulations to those who were elected to local office this past Tuesday. Having served on the Hopkins City Council for nine years, I know the commitment it takes to run an election. I look forward to working with you to grow opportunities for all in our community. To those who were unsuccessful, I thank you for your willingness to step up and serve. I hope that you will continue to be involved and will consider running again. Here’s an update from the Capitol.

Veterans Day

Each November 11, we observe the sacrifices made by members of our military with the commemoration of Veterans Day, and this year is no exception. They leave their families behind to head into uncertain, often dangerous situations to defend our freedoms and keep us safe here at home. Their families must also grapple with this uncertainty. These brave men and women volunteer out of a spirit of service and commitment to country.

No matter the level of gratitude we give these brave Americans, it will never be enough. It’s important, though, to find ways we can give back to those who have sacrificed so much. Please join me to reflect and recognize the sacrifices made by members of our armed forces.

Energy Assistance Program/Cold Weather Rule

As the weather turns colder, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds us that energy assistance may be available. For those Minnesotans under certain income levels, help may be available for payment of energy bills, help with utility disconnections or fuel deliveries, and advocacy with power companies and human service providers. No Minnesotan should be left in the cold. For more information, including eligibility and how to apply, visit Commerce’s website here.

The Minnesota Cold Weather Rule also became effective October 15th. The rule protects residential utility customers from having their heat shut off during the winter months. Consumers who have a combined household income below 50 percent of the state median income are not required to pay more than 10 percent of their household income toward current and past heating bills. Others are also eligible to arrange a Cold Weather Rule payment plan. More information is available from the Public Utilities Commission here.

Apply to Serve on State Boards and Commissions

Governor Dayton is encouraging Minnesotans to step up and serve on one of many state councils, boards and commissions with openings. Throughout state government, there are various panels which tackle specialized topics, drawing on the vast experiences and knowledge of Minnesotans.

Currently, there are over 200 openings including on the Board of the Perpich Center for Arts Education, Board of Water and Soil Resources, Commission on Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans, Council on Disability, Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, and many more. Minnesotans from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. For a full list and more information, visit the Secretary of State’s website here.

What do you value?

Do you have ideas how life for you, your family, and our community can be improved? Recently, DFL legislators have launched the Minnesota Values Project, facilitating conversations all across Minnesota—from Apple Valley to Grand Rapids and beyond—asking just that question. The idea is to simply listen and create a dialogue about our shared values and the future of our state. The conversations have honest, challenging, moving, and thoughtful. Minnesotans from every walk of life have shared a great deal about themselves and their communities.

Now, it’s your turn to join so many other Minnesotans and share what you value and how you’d like to see Minnesota move forward. Please take this opportunity to fill out a brief, four question survey.

I hope you’ll continue to reach out to me with your feedback, or if I can ever be of assistance. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.