Senate Report: Focusing on changes that will positively impact district

Published 8:45 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

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Senate Report by Gene Dornink

Friends and neighbors,

In my first session as your legislator, I have been focused on making changes that can positively impact our district, community and entire state. I am proudly carrying a bill that will appropriate money for Bridges to Healthcare, a program through Mayo Clinic preparing adult learners to become a part of the highly-skilled workforce that meets the needs of southeast Minnesota employers, today and in the future. This program focuses on adults forging a new career path for themselves in the lucrative health care sector. Health care jobs are in high demand and can change the lives of low-income parents, nonnative speakers of English and other hard-to-train individuals to build a secure pathway out of poverty. I am excited to see how this will impact our community.

Gene Dornink

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Public safety funding has been a hot topic at the Capitol recently, specifically the high price tag that comes with local government aid. This week, the Senate passed a bill off the floor that would hold cities accountable to pay their mutual aid agreements and provide a process for public safety reimbursements without diverting funds away from education and health care. This bill is a preemptive measure we can take to ensure smaller communities who offer assistance in a crisis get paid for their efforts. Crime is rising to record levels and some large cities are attempting to defund their police departments or drastically reduce funding for public safety. If these cities won’t prioritize keeping themselves safe, the rest of the state shouldn’t be expected to step in and carry that burden.

Another concern of mine and my colleagues in the Senate is the slow, one-size-fits-all approach to getting students back in the classroom. Schools across the state have extremely different needs, priorities and ideas. Having one man in St. Paul make decisions for the entire state does not make sense. What works in my district does not work in the Twin Cities, yet they are held to the same standards. Distance learning made sense when we were in the thick of the virus, but now the most important thing to focus on is making up for the lost year of education our children have faced. Classroom safety is possible if we cooperate with local school boards, superintendents, teachers and parents. This isn’t a decision one person should make for the entire state.

Things move pretty quickly here at the Capitol, but I always have time for my constituents. If you’d like to talk to me about what’s going on in the Legislature, I encourage you to reach out to my office.

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