January 3 served as ‘Opening Day’ at the State Capitol, and I was humbled to be sworn in as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. I truly enjoy working for people, and since Election Day I have been spending time getting up to speed on a number of topics so I could hit the ground running once session began.
This included meeting with local leaders to hear their concerns and learn about their priorities. Recently I met with Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender to learn about the issues facing the City of Hastings. One of their top concerns centers on water quality and how to preserve clean water for residents in the years ahead. I’m excited to work with the City, Minnesota House Leadership, and Senator Seeberger to find a workable solution.
Unfortunately recent meetings that were scheduled with Cottage Grove city officials needed to be rescheduled, but a new date is now on my calendar and I’m looking forward to hearing about their concerns and priorities very soon.
Illicit fentanyl is truly a problem across our nation, and Hastings is unfortunately included in this crisis as we’ve seen a number of local deaths that have resulted from fentanyl overdoses. It’s hard to believe, but its now the leading cause of death among people ages 18-45. 100,000 Americans died of fentanyl overdoses in 2021, and illegal fentanyl is responsible for over 80% of those deaths.
United Way Hastings has done a tremendous job building awareness for the fentanyl problem and providing resources to combat it, and I’m looking forward to finding solutions that can be made at the state level to help battle this growing dilemma.
The State of Minnesota has problems to solve as well. The biggest being how to allocate Minnesota’s projected $17.6 billion budget surplus. To me, this surplus gives our state the opportunity to provide historic amounts of tax relief to hardworking Minnesotans, and all of them should be explored.
One of the first areas we should look at is helping our senior citizens with tax relief on their Social Security benefits. These are people who paid into the system their entire life, and there is no reason they should be taxed on this limited income source. Minnesota is one of only a few states left that have continued this unnecessary tax, which is why I am now co-authoring legislation that would end this practice.
While I’ve now heard from state leaders and community leaders about their priorities, I’d really like to hear from you. What do you think the State of Minnesota should be doing to improve people’s lives? Is there any proposal out there that you consider radical or extreme? How can we better move our state forward?
Please contact me with your thoughts. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-3135, or by email at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you!