Notes From The Capital: October 2018

Helping the Bipartisan Opioids Bill Become Law

Families in rural areas, small towns, downtowns, and Indian Country are hurting from the opioid crisislast year we saw more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths nationwide, many of them related to opioid use. That’s why I’m glad that the bipartisan opioids legislation I helped write is now law. It is an important part of helping address the problem.

The law gives communities more tools to help encourage recovery, increases resources for prevention and treatment, and makes sure that emergency responders have access to naloxone. I’m also proud to have fought for a bipartisan provision that I wrote with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska that will increase access to mental health services for kids in schoolespecially children in our rural communitiesbecause we know our young people are feeling the effects of the opioid crisis too. Helping our students get the mental health care they need shouldn’t be a partisan issue. 

I’m glad my colleagues and I could find common ground and work together on this law. Families are in crisis, and we can’t sit by while they struggle.

Learn more here

Getting the Farm Bill Over the Finish Line 

This month I traveled to Les and Jeanne Anderson’s farm in Cannon Falls and Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap’s farm in Garden City. We talked about a lot of things, but we focused in on the 2018 Farm Bill, which is at the top of farmers’ and producers’ minds in Minnesota, and our nation. The Farm Bill impacts the lives of every Minnesotan, and getting it passed into law is what I’ve been focused on as a proud member of the Senate Ag Committee.

I recently followed up with leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees to reaffirm the need to pass a strong, bipartisan Farm Bill as soon as possible. In an earlier letter, I had outlined the importance of several provisions that were included in the Senate Farm Bill that I helped pass in the Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 86-11. These key provisionsfunding for broadband expansion, a robust energy title, conservation programs, and investments in beginning and Native farmers and ranchersare critical for the success of Minnesota’s agriculture sector and are necessary components of a strong Farm Bill.

I’ve also been calling for expanded use of ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply, and the Administration’s recent proposal to allow year-round sales of E-15 responds to my call. I’m going to make sure the Administration follows through on this proposal because it will increase demand for farm products and bolster farm communities.

I know that times have been tough for Minnesota ag communities, and I’m working to help farmers in Minnesota and across the country.

Learn more here

Improving Access to Child Care 

Lack of access to dependable child care can take a real toll on Minnesotansit can be a huge barrier for parents who need to work, or go to school, or who want to be involved in their community. I’ve heard this from families, businesses, and community leaders across the state all yearand I heard it again during a recent visit to a new child care center in Stewartville. That’s why I’ve made it a top priority to increase access to affordable, quality child care across the state.

I recently introduced a child care bill which responds to many of the concerns I have heard from Minnesota child care providers and families. The bill would invest in child care facilitiesan important part of any community’s infrastructure. It would also support child care providers in areas related to safety and quality, help providers navigate important health and safety requirements, and support child care businesses. Furthermore, the bill would help states and tribes in improving the administration of child care programs and includes a community needs assessment to help determine how best to use resources in order to support communities in Minnesota and across the country.

For the sake of Minnesota’s working families and our economy, we need to improve access to quality, affordable child care. I’ll be fighting to pass this bill into law. Minnesota families and our economy are counting on it.

Learn more here.

Meeting and Listening to Minnesotans 

My job is to work for you, and to be your voice in Washington. Here are some of the people I’ve recently had the chance to meet:

I met with local leaders in Duluth who are working to address local housing challenges. I believe we need to create more affordable housing options because if people don’t have a safe, affordable place to live, then it’s hard to work, get an education, and live healthy lives.

In Hermantown, I stopped by Cirrus Aircraft to hear more about the company’s need for skilled workers. Supporting skilled workers and helping workers get the training they need has been a focus of mine because I hear time and time again that businesses are struggling to find workers to fill the good jobs they have open. And while not everyone wants or needs to go to a four-year college, everyone should be able to get the skills they need to get a solid, good-paying job. That’s why I fought to get my provisions included in a bipartisan bill to improve career and technical education that was recently signed into law.

I visited Washburn High School in Minneapolis to hear about its Farm to School program. Farm to School delivers locally grown, healthy, fresh food to students in Minnesota and across the country. It also gives students the chance to learn about nutrition, agriculture, and food. In the Senate Farm Bill, I championed provisions to support Farm to School programs because they’re good for student nutrition and they’re good for local farmers’ bottom lines.

I’m so impressed by the Minnesotans I meet, and am committed to helping them in Washington.

Learn more here and here.