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Chair Tina Smith Leads Senate Hearing on Fire Safety, Home Health Risks Including Lead and Radon

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7/20/21]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) led her third hearing as chair of a key housing subcommittee, where Sen. Smith heard from leaders of housing authorities—including Jennifer Keogh, Deputy Executive Director of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority—and a nationally recognized expert on led and radon dangers. In 2019, an early morning fire at the Cedar High Apartments, a 25-story public housing building in Minneapolis, led to the deaths of five residents on the upper levels. The building did not have fire sprinklers. Shortly after the fire, Chair Smith introduced legislation to fund the installation of fire sprinklers in older public housing buildings in an effort to prevent similar tragedies from ever happening again. Chair Smith said that today’s hearing goes toward the goal of making sure families living in federally assisted housing are safe. You can watch the hearing footage here. Chair Smith was joined by Ranking Member Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), other members of the subcommittee, and housing experts including Dr. David Jacobs, Chief Scientist, National Center for Healthy Housing, Columbia, Md.; Jennifer Keogh, Deputy Executive Director, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Minneapolis, Minn.; and Sharon Vogel, Executive Director, Cheyenne River Housing Authority, Eagle Butte, S.D..  “These health and safety risks are not limited to public housing and federally-assisted housing alone. But the federal government has a special obligation to make sure that homes supported by or funded by taxpayers are safe and free of known hazards,” said Sen. Smith in her opening remarks at the hearing. “And I hope that this hearing will raise awareness for

U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Lindsey Graham Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Students Develop Workforce Readiness Skills

WASHINGTON, D.C. [5/19/21]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a bipartisan bill to help prepare young people for jobs and boost their economic potential. The Youth Workforce Readiness Act, also supported by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), would create partnerships between afterschool providers and businesses to help students develop essential workforce readiness skills—like critical thinking and decision making—and learn about different career paths. Right now, many young people in Minnesota, South Carolina and across America are concerned about whether they have the skills necessary to secure a job in the future. This lack of adequate workforce readiness also leads to negative economic effects for employers, who often cite challenges in finding well-prepared talent as an obstacle to growth. The Youth Workforce Readiness Act would help solve this problem by supporting programs that allow youth to gain skills and connect them to real-life work experiences. “I hear from young people about their hopes for the future, which include contributing to their communities and getting good jobs. And I hear from employers that they need help getting connected to great employees. That’s where afterschool and out-of-school time providers can play a role in helping young people gain skills and make connections to mentors, opportunities and local employers,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Education Committee. “My bipartisan bill would help support youth success by teaching young people about different career paths and workforce readiness skills.” “Preparing our kids to successfully contribute to our economy helps keep America strong,” said Sen. Graham. “A well-educated, well-trained workforce is a key component to future economic development. This legislation is great news for South Carolina and an

U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Senate Democrats Continue Push for Affordable Child Care For Families in Minnesota, Across the Country

Senator Helps Introduce Legislation to Help Families in Minnesota, Across Nation Afford Comprehensive, High-Quality Child Care WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/27/19]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—who last year launched “Child Care Access and Affordability” listening sessions across Minnesota—is continuing her work to ensure families in Minnesota and across the country are able to access high-quality childcare by supporting a comprehensive bill to address the skyrocketing cost of child care.  The bill, called the Child Care for Working Families Act, would address child care costs in a number of ways. It would ensure that families do not have to pay a large percentage of their income onchild care and would provide universal access to

U.S. Sens. Smith, Merkley Introduce Bill to Protect Consumers From Predatory Rent-to-Own Housing Contracts

U.S. Sens. Smith, Merkley Introduce Bill to Protect Consumers  From Predatory Rent-to-Own Housing Contracts Senators’ Legislation Would Establish Standards for Predatory Rent-to-Own Contracts, Which Have Traditionally Targeted Underserved Communities and Lower-Income Americans WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/27/19]—U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have introduced the Residential Rent-to-Own Protection Act to protect consumers in Minnesota and across the country from predatory rent-to-own housing contracts. Their measure would allow rent-to-own residents—many of whom are often people of color or low-income Americans—to seek damages from landlords who violate contracts and put protections in place to ensure these residences are safe. “Rent-to-own contracts can create

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Honors Grand Portage Chairman Norman Deschampe with Senate Tribute

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Honors Grand Portage Chairman Norman Deschampe with Senate Tribute WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/27/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) honored the legacy and contributions of Grand Portage Chairman Norman W. Deschampe, who recently passed away.  Praising his leadership, Sen. Smith cited the numerous issues Deschampe championed in his more than 40 years of service to the Grand Portage Band, serving 27 of those years as Chairman. Sen. Smith’s tribute follows Governor Tim Walz’s declaration of February 26, 2019 as Norman Deschampe Day.   “Norman Deschampe’s legacy includes a longstanding commitment to supporting the health, education, and economic development of the Grand Portage Band,” wrote Sen. Smith, a