Notes From The Capital: August 2019

Working to Lower Prescription Drug Prices
Every person deserves health care they can afford, and that includes prescription medications. This month I held a roundtable conversation in Minneapolis with Governor Tim Walz as well as Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to hear about challenges families are facing when it comes to affording prescription drugs. I heard from folks like Alexis, a Minnesota college student living with Type 1 diabetes who worries about not being able to afford the medicine she needs to survive.

Unfortunately, Alexis’ story is not unique. The price of insulin has doubled in recent years, making it difficult for many Minnesotans to afford this medicine and forcing some into the dangerous practice of rationing. It shouldn’t have to be this way. I recently gathered with a bipartisan group of Minnesota House and Senate members, and health care advocates and leaders, to highlight the urgent need to make insulin more affordable and accessible.

This isn’t a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. Whether you’re in a red county, a blue county, or anywhere in between, access to prescription medication can be a matter of life or death. Thanks to those who’ve shared their stories with me. You inspire me to continue the fight to lower the price of prescription drugs.

Learn about my bipartisan bill to lower insulin prices here

Announcing My New, Bipartisan Rural Economic Working Group
I recently traveled across northern Minnesota, with meetings in East Grand Forks, Crookston, Red Lake Falls, Hallock, Roseau, Angle Inlet and more. In each place, I met hardworking, passionate people contributing to Minnesota’s rural communities. I also had the chance to discuss some of the challenges facing rural Minnesota. I talked about finding solutions to help farmers in the tough agriculture economy, expanding access to affordable housing and childcare, the importance of trade and jobs, and supporting Minnesotans and Americans who are about to enter the workforce.

Despite all of these challenges, people are coming together to do unique and innovative things that not only create jobs and economic development, but also tackle local problems in their communities. I want to highlight this work. So I’ve formed a bipartisan group with Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota to seek out successful local ideas and partnerships and bring them back to Congress to spur efforts to restore economic prosperity in rural communities across the country.

I’m inspired by the sprit, resilience and ingenuity of people I’ve met in rural communities across Minnesota. I look forward to returning to Washington to continue lifting up voices in rural America.

Learn more here

Pushing for Affordable Housing 
Lack of good, affordable housing upends the stability of our families, the ability of our businesses to create jobs, and opportunities for our communities to grow and prosper. But right now, many Minnesota communities are experiencing a lack of affordable housing.

I’ve launched a statewide effort to hear from local leaders, housing officials and constituents to not only discuss the shortage, but to also highlight the successful work folks are doing at the local level to increase housing opportunities in their communities. All summer, my office has been listening to Minnesotans in urban, suburban and rural areas and learning about the unique challenges in each region.

While it is clear that the affordable housing crisis hurts all Americans, we know that the challenges can be greater for Native communities, both on and off tribal lands. Twenty-three percent of people living in Indian Country live in housing with poor physical conditions. That is unacceptable. I recently introduced a bipartisan bill with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to make it possible for Tribes and tribally designated housing entities to access Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding to combat homelessness on tribal lands. I also took part in some productive conversations about how to reduce homelessness and improve access to affordable housing for Native communities at the Minnesota Indian Housing Conference at Prairie Island this month.

We have a lot of work to do to address housing challenges. As a member of the Senate Housing Committee, I will take what I’ve learned from Minnesotans and share their ideas with my colleagues in Washington as I push to tackle the housing shortage.

The Great Minnesota Get-Together
My husband Archie and I brought our kids Sam and Mason to the Minnesota State Fair when they were little, just like so many Minnesota families. I remember pulling them around in a red wagon and enjoying time together. That’s what I love about the fair. It brings people together. 

My favorite thing to do at the fair is getting to meet Minnesotans like you. It’s a chance to hear what’s on your minds, answer questions and connect. Another top memory from this year includes riding the Giant Slide, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary at the fair this summer.

The fair is all fun and games until you ask me to take part in a contest. Then my competitive side comes out and it gets even more fun. Somehow this year I pulled off a win and emerged Grand Champion of Agrilympics Amateur Milking Contest. I did get some advice from Princess Kay of the Milky Way and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and I think that helped.

If you made it to the fair, I hope you had a great time. If not, I hope to see you next year at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.