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

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Legislative Update- November 8, 2019

Friday, November 8, 2019
Rep. Youakim

Dear Neighbors,

I hope fall has been treating you well and you’re adjusting to the cooler weather. This week’s election results were a reflection of Minnesotans’ strong values when it comes to education. Thank you to all who got out to do their civic duty and voted! However, we shouldn’t have to rely on local property taxes and constant referendums to maintain and build quality schools. I remain committed to fully funding education in Minnesota because our kids deserve the best schools and resources to be successful in and out of the classroom.

Additionally, I’d like to extend a thank you to everyone who ran in the local election this year. It takes real commitment and hard work to put yourself out there and I’m grateful to everyone who strives for positive change in public service.


Education Town Hall 

Last night, Majority Leader Ryan Winkler and I had a fantastic discussion with a room full of teachers, education support specialists (ESP), school board members, school nurses, and community members focused on education. It is clear that quality public education still remains a high priority for our communities. We heard about the need to fully fund schools, address the special education cross-subsidy, and the need for highly qualified teachers in our classrooms. One of the most in-depth discussions we had covered the need for an increase in funding for support staff in our schools. Minnesotans want counselors, social workers and trained education support specialists to address the growing needs of our learners. As an ESP at Aquila Elementary, I’ve seen the challenges our students face firsthand, and this issue is near and dear to me. My colleagues and I remain committed to making sure our education system is meeting students where they are.

cheryl and teachers

Here’s an update from the Capitol:

Combating Youth Vaping

Last week, my colleagues announced a comprehensive plan to combat youth vaping. In 2017, the number of young Minnesotans using tobacco rose for the first time in 17 years due to a surge in e-cigarette use. Since then, the crisis has only gotten worse. Vaping-related injuries are being reported in Minnesota and across the nation, but many young people remain unaware of the health risks associated with e-cigarettes. 

Here are some details of the plan: 


You can read more from the Star Tribune’s coverage.


Climate Action Caucus

Climate change is one of the top issues that I hear about from fellow community members. People from across the state are organizing in their communities and urging legislators to take action. In response to these concerns, my colleagues and I have created the House Climate Action Caucus so we can work with Minnesotans on a bold, comprehensive plan to fight climate change and create a future in which we all thrive.

The Climate Action Caucus recently kicked off a series of public events with a conversation about transportation. One of our goals as a caucus is bringing people with different backgrounds and areas of expertise together.

The first community conversation was dedicated to transportation because it’s the largest source of Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions. There was a great discussion about this with several experts and community members that joined us. Some of the potential solutions discussed were expanding public transportation, supporting electric vehicles, and promoting biofuels. The Climate Action Caucus will hear from housing experts on climate at our next public event on November 14, and start a much-needed discussion on future policy. Learn more details about it here.


Minnesota Values Project

The Minnesota Values Project is an ongoing partnership between Minnesotans and the legislature. We’re working together to create a shared vision for the future of our state, and your input is an important part of this process! You can let us know what’s important to you, your community, and Minnesota by taking a quick survey here.

MVP Logo

Veterans Day

 This coming Monday, November 11, we observe Veterans Day in recognition of all brave service members who have worn our nation’s uniform. It’s not just enough to simply thank veterans with our words one day a year, though. Throughout the year, we have a responsibility to ensure they have opportunities to succeed and thrive in our communities. Veterans often face challenges when they return home in a variety of areas including employment, housing, and health care. As a state legislator, I’m committed to working in a bipartisan manner to remove these barriers toward success.

This past legislative session, lawmakers delivered full funding for both the state Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Military Affairs to support those currently wearing the uniform as well as those who have served previously, along with funding for Veterans Service Organizations, Honor Guards, the Gold Star Program, and the Minnesota GI Bill. We also invested in the expansion of the C.O.R.E (Counseling and Case Management, Outreach, Referral and Education) program to address veteran homelessness. Our state budget funded other priorities like the Helmets to Hardhats program, which helps veterans enter building and construction apprenticeship programs which lead to rewarding, good-paying careers, and Veterans’ Voices, a program through the Minnesota Humanities Center which helps amplify and preserve experiences, stories, and narratives.

All of our veterans deserve our continued support, respect, and gratitude. As we reflect upon the sacrifices our military service members have made – and will continue to make – let’s all commit to ensuring that when their missions are finished, they will return home to supportive and caring communities. This Monday, please join me in saluting all who have served our country; it’s the least we can do for those who have made enormous sacrifices for freedoms we enjoy each and every day.


Keep in Touch

Please keep in touch and don’t hesitate to reach out anytime with questions, or to let me know how I can be of assistance.

Thank you for the honor of serving you at the Capitol.


Cheryl Youakim

State Representative