Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are finishing two of the hardest weeks this state has ever faced. In this update I will offer my thoughts on these events and also comment on the potential special session.
Like many of you, I watched the video of the arrest of Mr. George Floyd with shock, horror and outrage. What happened to him is inexplicable, sickening and beyond belief. My heart breaks for his family, friends, and community and I know that his death has brought tremendous pain to many. Justice must be served.
All Minnesotans deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and your skin color should not be a death sentence. This was a routine police call that turned into a senseless and unnecessary tragedy. I recognize the pain that this has caused for many black Minnesotans and other communities, and I am praying for healing for those who are hurting.
These past two weeks also brought us untold violence and destruction to our Minneapolis neighbors, when peaceful protests turned into lawlessness. I am grateful for the response of the Minnesota National Guard to provide safety to our citizens, protect property, and restore order. I pray that the situation remains under control so that these Minneapolis neighborhoods can start to rebuild. Many communities and organizations across the state have reached out to help in the clean up and provide needed supplies. I joined the effort in our community to purchase and bring donations to the Minneapolis Blaisdell YMCA so that families who now have no access to grocery stores, Targets, and pharmacies can receive help.
As you are aware, we ended normal session on May 18th with the expectation that we would most likely be called back in for a "special session" to address our on-going response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, a special session would provide us the opportunity to reach agreement on a bonding proposal. Our district has a number of bills being considered in that bonding discussion, including the Sturgeon Lake Road rail grade overpass, riverfront and park development and road infrastructure in both Red Wing and Lake City, storm water mitigation and repairs for the Cannon Valley Trail, and adjustments to the previous National Eagle Center funding for Wabasha.
And, now in response to George Floyd's murder, we have renewed calls to address racial disparities and injustices, police use of force, and criminal justice reform. I want you to know that at this time, I have not received any proposed legislation to consider. Important issues like these should also always allow for public input and debate.
As you can see, there are many moving parts for a special session and numerous policy issues that would need time to be fully formulated and vetted.
For today, as we close the week after the funeral for George Floyd, I pray for peace in our state and healing for the communities impacted by these events.