I hope this email finds you well and enjoying summer. We’ve approached our 60-day deadline, a date that marks 60 days since the end of the legislative session, and a more formal start of the election period. After today, I am unable to send email updates such as this as to not create an unfair advantage for incumbents.
It’s been a busy couple of months since we’ve adjourned session. Here’s an update from the Capitol:
I am honored to have recently been selected as one of the 48 leaders across the nation to participate in the prestigious Henry Toll Fellowship. The Toll Fellowship Program, named for The Council of State Governments founder Henry Wolcott Toll, is one of the nation’s premier leadership development programs for state government officials. We’ll be convening later this year for an intensive 5-day leadership boot camp. I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about leadership and to connect with leaders from across the nation.
Founded in 1933, the Council of State Governments is the nation’s largest nonpartisan organization serving all three branches of state elected and appointed officials.
I also recently had the opportunity to attend The Path Forward Literacy Summit in Cary, North Carolina. The summit was convened by the Hunt Institute and focused on reimagining public-private partnerships, learning about promising literacy practices, and focusing on prioritizing equity to provide quality literacy experiences for all students. Literacy is foundational and is part of the bridge to equity. As the House Education Policy Chair, I’ll continue to advocate for equitable recruitment and retention of teachers and equity for our students so they can have the opportunity to thrive.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic we were experiencing a mental health crisis as an estimated 19.86% of adults an equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans experienced a mental illness. A growing percentage of youth in the U.S. live with major depression 15.08% of youth experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. As a state and a nation, we are struggling to build effective and responsive infrastructure to address this increasing public health crisis. We know that recovery is possible, and I recently attended the National Foundation of Women Legislators Health Care Summit with leaders from around the nation for a working session on strategies for addressing this crisis and improving physical and mental health. While some important first steps have been made, we have much more work to do.
Frontline Worker Bonus Pay Deadline
Today is the deadline to apply for the frontline worker bonus pay. Money set aside for this program will be split equally among all approved applicants. Many in our community were not able to work from home during the height of the pandemic and we all are very appreciative of those who put themselves in harm’s way during the darkest days of COVID-19. Check to see if you’re eligible and spread the word to friends and family.
Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls Taskforce Meeting
Last year I was proud to chief author the MMBWG Task force bill, which was signed into law creating the nation’s first task force focused on addressing this crisis. The estimates are there are between 64,000 – 75,000 Black women and girls missing in the United States. There are also known disparities as missing person and homicide cases involving Black women and girls stay open and unresolved four times longer than cases involving their white peers. We also know that Black girls that go missing are less likely to get Amber Alerts than their peers. The task force has been meeting throughout the legislative interim. Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday, July 29, 2022. You can learn more and follow our work here.
New 988 Hotline
Mental health crises – and tragically, suicide – are becoming a greater public health concern. This past Saturday, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline transitioned to a new service with an easier-to-remember number to help those in need. Now, by dialing or texting 988, a trained mental health counselor is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week if you or someone close to you is experiencing a crisis. Traditional approaches in response to 911 calls aren’t always best equipped to respond to mental health crises, and the new number will help ensure people can quickly get support.
Workers can connect callers to additional support or in-person care. The service is free and confidential.
Keep in Touch
While I can no longer send these email newsletters for a while, I encourage you to keep in touch with me with your input, ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4192.
Thank you for the honor of serving our Eagan, Mendota Heights, Inver Grove Heights, and Sunfish Lake neighbors at the Capitol.