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Legislative News and Views - Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL)

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Minnesota Lawmakers Showcase Historic Investments in Child Care and Early Learning at the White House

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Washington, D.C. –Today, Minnesota lawmakers joined more than 90 legislators from 41 states in a convening at the White House to support state actions to make early care and learning more affordable for working families, increase provider supply, and improve job quality for those performing this critical work. Minnesota House Children and Families Finance Committee Chair Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington) participated, along with Reps. Kaohly Her (DFL-St. Paul), María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL-St. Paul), and Samakab Hussein (DFL-St. Paul).

“Every child deserves a great start to life,” said Rep. Pinto. “I’m proud for Minnesota to receive national recognition for its progress toward that goal and grateful for the chance to learn from other states as well.”

This convening follows historic actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to lower costs and expand access to child care, including most recently announcing an HHS notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would strengthen the Child Care & Development Block Grant program (CCDBG), which supports 1.5 million children and their families each month with child care assistance.

“Minnesota is leading the nation in passing legislation that makes it easier to raise a family, and affordable, accessible, and quality child care is a huge part of that success,” said Rep. Her (DFL - St. Paul). “It was an honor to join my colleagues at the White House today to highlight Minnesota’s accomplishments in child care, learn from other states, and become better partners with the Biden Administration on this issue.”

In Minnesota, child care and early learning is in deep crisis after decades of underfunding - unaffordable for families and paying poverty wages to caregivers. This year’s budget invests nearly $1 billion in this critical sector, to improve school readiness and allow parents to access employment and education opportunities.

It is great to be here at the White House States Convening on Child Care alongside 90 other legislators from 41 states,” said Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL-Saint Paul). “In Minnesota, we are currently working to hit the ground running next session to provide more affordable and accessible childcare across the state and increase the wages of childcare workers. The average wage for a childcare worker is just $12.30 per hour, which is below the poverty line for a family of four. That is unacceptable and we must enact change. We know that affordable childcare is essential for Minnesotans, our economy, and the overall vitality of our state. Early childcare is an investment in our future, and I am confident that we can make it happen.”

The two-year state budget that passed into law this year invests $300 million in early learning scholarships for over 25,000 low-income and vulnerable infants and toddlers. It also increases reimbursement rates and access under the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), expands Head Start and establishes "Great Start" compensation support payments for educators.

The best way to prepare our children for success is to ensure that every neighborhood has fully funded, quality schools and that our educators have ample resources to build and maintain a thriving educational community, " said Rep. Samakab Hussein (DFL- Saint Paul).

 Our children are our future. If we do not equip them with the tools they require to be lifelong learners, we fail them. And if we refuse to correct this systemic problem, we will continue to fail them. 

 I want every child in Minnesota to have access to high-quality early learning and childcare programs that have been proven to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. We must do everything possible to help them develop the skills they will need for a lifetime of success and personal growth.”

PHOTO CUTLINE (From left to right): Representative Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul), Representative María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL-St. Paul), Representative Samakab Hussein (DFL-St. Paul), Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Representative Kaohly Her (DFL-St. Paul), Senator Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington)