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After much thought I have decided to seek re-election as your state Senator from District 64, and I do so for several reasons.
First, this is an unsettled time. All we have to do is to listen to the racist rhetoric surrounding immigrant refugees, rhetoric that we have not heard in the political mainstream since the days of George Wallace to not realize that this is a difficult time. I hope that my years of seniority and legislative skill will allow me to continue to be a leader in the successful passage of legislation to provide a strong liberal counter to this during the last two years of Governor Dayton’s administration (and with the imperative of the Democrats re-taking the majority in the Minnesota House).
Second, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee I believe that have been one of the leaders in finally obtaining a structurally balanced budget so that even in any future downturn the needs of Minnesota citizens will not be at risk as they were during the Pawlenty terms.
Third, much remains to be done: We increased the state support for the schools by $1.2 billion in 2013, 2014, and 2015, but we still must funding for the Governor’s pre-K proposal but needed increases in counseling and social services. Affordable housing remains a challenge; we continue to need an ongoing funding source in addition to Housing Finance monies for affordable housing and homelessness. We have watched the issue of racial inequity explode throughout the country, and we need to provide support through employment and social services that will provide an equal opportunity for all Minnesotans. Even the restoration of justice legislation allowing those who have fully served criminal sentences the right to vote was able to pass the Senate but not the House. Such an effort is simply a matter of fairness and equity.
During the 2016 session I will be offering legislation to further some of these goals. I am in the process of putting together a strong gun control effort. My earlier effort contained in the Housing Solutions Act will be authored in a somewhat different form to provide for needed housing. I have prepared a bill to restore by statute the Citizens Review Board for the Pollution Control Agency. And, as chairman of the Finance Committee, I am optimistic that the supplemental finance bill will include funding for pre-K, support for the correction of racial inequities, and rural broadband. I am optimistic that much of what I author might pass the Senate, but I do not know the chance of success in the House. All the more reason that I believe that I can offer the needed leadership, seniority, and legislative skill to make much of this a reality.
And, I enjoy representing District 64 and believe that I fit the district very well. It has been an honor to represent the district in which I grew up and to have played a strong role in turning our area from a Republican leaning district into strong liberal DFL district.
Please join me at the precinct caucuses on March 1st (64A at Central High School, 64B at Highland Park Senior High School), and I hope you will become a delegate in support of my endorsement at the DFL district convention.
Please feel free to call with any questions or concerns at 651-699-4476 or 651-296-5931, and I hope to have your continued support.