Notes From The Capital: July 2018

Preparing Students for 21st Century Jobs and Addressing the Nation’s “Skills Gap” 
I believe that every student should be able to get the skills necessary to prepare for their future and create opportunity—but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to or has to go to a four-year college.

I’m glad that several of my provisions to improve career and technical education were included in a bipartisan bill that will soon be signed into law by the President. This bill will help students find good jobs through career and tech education, and it will help businesses and manufacturers hire the workers they need. 

After kicking off a series of listening sessions across the state to talk with Minnesotans about expanding workforce development opportunities, I’ve seen communities that have found success, and I’ve seen places that could benefit from more resources and support. Investing in workforce education is good for Minnesotans looking for high-skill, in-demand jobs and it’s good for employers looking to hire more people. It’s a win-win for Minnesota and our country.

Learn more here.

Listening to What’s On Minnesotans’ Minds
Bringing people together to talk about what they care about is one of the best parts of this job—and the best thing for me to do to be an effective senator. I’m listening to what you have to say, and making sure you have a voice in Washington. Right now, President Trump’s trade war and skyrocketing prescription drug prices are the concerns that many of you have shared with me.

Many Minnesota farmers and ranchers have grown increasingly concerned about the haphazard implementation of the Trump Administration’s tariffs and the effects of recently imposed tariffs on farmers’ ability to sell their products. One Minnesota farmer told me that they lost an estimated $100,000 in just one month due to President Trump’s tariffs. That’s unacceptable. I believe it is necessary to promptly provide a clear, detailed plan for minimizing the negative effects caused by President Trump’s tariffs.

The high cost of health care—and the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs—is without question the number one issue I hear about from Minnesotans. No family should have to choose between health care and other things they need, like groceries or paying rent. But too often that’s the case. I’ve launched an outreach tour to hear from Minnesotans who are struggling with the high health care costs firsthand, all while gathering valuable feedback to improve my efforts here in Washington to make health care more affordable. I’m working to improve care and to make sure families can afford it—and I’ll fight against efforts to take it away.

Learn more herehere, and here.

Helping Our Veterans Access Care and Benefits  
Earlier this year, I tasked my staff with traveling across the state as part of my Veterans Listening Tour to hear about the challenges veterans face in securing benefits, and to explain how my office can advocate on their behalf.

In these meetings, Minnesota veterans often brought up having trouble receiving benefits for hearing loss and tinnitus. When I realized how widespread hearing loss and tinnitus are among veterans, and heard from Minnesotans about how many hoops they have to jump through to access benefits, it was clear that this needed to be fixed.

I’ve introduced a bill to reduce the red tape many veterans face when trying to get care for hearing loss because if you’ve served our country and have experienced a health related issue because of it, it’s our job to take care of you. That’s the agreement for the men and women who serve our military.

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Making My Voice Heard on Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh
This is a pivotal moment in our country. The person who fills the U.S. Supreme Court seat long held by Justice Anthony Kennedy will shape the course of American democracy for decades. I had hoped that the President would appoint a consensus Justice, a person ready to protect the rights of all Americans before special interests and groups driven by political ideology. But make no mistake—Brett Kavanaugh will not be that Justice.

It’s clear that President Trump, special interests, and far-right groups believe they can count on Brett Kavanaugh to cast that decisive fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, dismantle basic consumer protections in our healthcare laws, and gut protections for workers and the environment. 

Americans deserve a chance to weigh in on this nomination, because the Supreme Court makes decisions that affect every part of life in America, like what your doctor can say to you in the examination room, your right to vote, your rights at work, and your right to breath clean air.

I recently took to the Senate floor to make my voice heard—and I hope you will speak up in your communities too.

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