• 50°

Senate Report: Efforts focused on building rural parts of Minnesota

Senate Report by Gene Dornink

Friends and neighbors,

Here at the Capitol, things move very quickly. I have been in St. Paul for about a month as your legislator, and it is a thrilling experience to see how everything gets done. I am working hard to make changes that will positively impact our state and community.

Gene Dornink

Gov. Walz introduced his budget last week, which contained a whole lot of taxing, spending and investing in the Twin Cities over rural areas. I don’t understand why anyone would add extra burden on everyone, including small businesses, who are just trying to survive after a year like 2020. It’s hard for the governor to understand or feel what it is like to lose your business when he has never been without. Some of what he is asking us in the rural areas to pay for is $150 million to rebuild Minneapolis after the riots last summer. Minneapolis leadership let the city burn before stepping in. You have to ask yourself: Is that fair? The politicians in Minneapolis will say we help the rural areas by sending some of our money to help rural cities. But there is a big difference. They are asking us to bail out their bad behavior and decisions, but we do not and won’t ask them to bail out our bad decisions. Sometimes we need to pay for our own decisions. My suggestions would be to have the state help those lost businesses possibly with loans, less taxes, operating money or other means to help them get restarted and be successful, but it is the city of Minneapolis’s responsibility because of their decisions to pay for the infrastructure, buildings and permits.

As a freshman member of the Senate, I am focusing my efforts on rural Minnesota and building up our communities. I have introduced several bills that will prioritize efforts to help cities like Austin and Albert Lea deal with state mandates and requirements. One of my bills secures funds for the wastewater treatment plant in Austin. As of right now, we are $13 million from completing the construction phase. This is an investment in our community that will create jobs and maintain a better way of life.

I am also working on a Shell Rock River Watershed bill for sediment removal and the cleanup of Fountain Lake in Albert Lea. This project is near being completed and would result in finishing the dredging project. As a legislator, I will continue to focus on the rural areas. We need to remind the Minneapolis legislators that cities like Austin, Albert Lea and our surrounding communities are important for the success of our state, and I will continue to prioritize legislation that highlights that.

Things change at the Capitol quickly, and I would love to hear from you! Please reach out via phone or email, and we can set up a Zoom meeting or catch up in district. I am here to represent you, so let me know what you’d like to see from me here in St. Paul.

Gene Dornink, R-Hayfield, is the District 27 senator.