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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Fue Lee (DFL)

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Rep. Lee Guest Column

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

From the Patrick Henry students who visited the Capitol to learn more about our state government, to the union members who advocate nearly every day for workers’ wellbeing across our state, the work I do at our state Capitol is always guided by our community.

This legislative session I’m working on several bills that will invest in workforce development, increase equity, and make sure the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean.

As Vice Chair of the Capital Investment Committee, I’m committed to making sure that the benefits of economic development are shared equally by all Minnesotans, so that the students from Patrick Henry – and all students – know they have access to the jobs and community support to succeed. I’m work alongside those union advocates every day to strengthen our community and make sure the North Side has high-quality and robust infrastructure, jobs, and economic development projects.

The Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) project will turn a 48 acre former riverfront shipping terminal in North Minneapolis into housing, businesses, green space, and even a performance venue. I’m carrying bills that will fund these investments.

Minnesotans deserve affordable housing and access to good jobs. My UHT bill will appropriate $2 million for a grant to the City of Minneapolis to allow the city to conduct community engagement to identify community benefits that can be embedded into the design and development of the project.

These investments will be good for our community, but we should always consider infrastructure projects’ impact the environment and our health. I’ve also introduced a bill to tackle environmental protection in the development of any project in North Minneapolis.

Under the bill, the Pollution Control Agency Commissioner may not issue a permit to a facility in our community without considering the cumulative levels and effects of environmental pollution and air contaminants in the area. This bill is incredibly important – sustainable development should be a consideration at the earliest planning stages of any major project.

Any economic development in our community should be centered on the health and safety of ourselves and our neighbors. That’s why I’ve also introduced a bill to prioritize clean bus upgrades in communities, like ours, that suffer from higher rates of asthma and poor air quality.

Finally, I want to touch on community safety. I’m working on a bill to award grants to nonprofit organizations to prevent gun violence and launch public awareness and education campaigns about gun violence. Addressing gun violence as a public health concern is important because we know that when a community suffers from gun violence, children do worse in school, people live less healthy lives, and a deeply destructive cycle of violence ensues that harms all in the community.

I want to hear your feedback as we move toward the final two months of this year’s legislative session. If you would like to send me a message or set up an in-district meeting, you can reach me by phone at 651-296-4262 or by email at