I want to thank you for visiting my website and providing me an opportunity to inform you about my first session in the legislature.
I served on four committees during the session, State Government Finance as Vice Chairman, Health and Human Services Reform, Higher Education, and Transportation, and continue serving on the Governor’s Task Force of Election Integrity and the Subcommittee on Employee Relations.
Minnesotans elected the most conservative legislature in history with both the House and Senate being controlled by a Republican majority for the first time. They also elected the most liberal Governor in history. Republicans ran on a promise to reverse the trend in the growth of government and focus on creating a business environment that grows the number of jobs. Our new Governor ran a promise to grow the size of government and add $6 billion in new taxes by increasing income tax rates to the highest in the nation and add two new top-level tax tiers. With this stage set the session ended with the Governor forcing the longest state government shutdown in the state’s history. Although we finished with a special session that came close to the exact same budget we offered before the official end of session, Governor Dayton forced a needless and disruptive shutdown.
In the end we did pass a budget without any new state taxes and reforms that will continue to bring greater efficiency to state and local government and bends the growth curve on future budgets. I have added the specific results of the budget compromise in the website News Room.
Minnesotans are blessed to live in a beautiful state, whether measured by its abundance of natural resources, quality of life, or the diversity of its people. During what is arguably one of the most difficult of times for many families, with an economy in decline, high unemployment, an uncertain energy future, and an education system that is failing to keep up with the challenge of global competition, we can still be encouraged about our future because of the potential that resides in our citizens to solve the most difficult problems. As I have become more involved in the political process over the last three years, I have been amazed at the depth of love and passion that Minnesotans have for their communities and state and—yes—their government. And they want the best for their neighbors as well as for their government to be successful.
I too share this love and passion, and promise to work on your behalf with all of my colleagues in the Legislature, both Democrats and Republicans, and Governor Dayton to make sure we restore our economic vitality while preserving our individual liberties.
It is my greatest honor to serve by representing you in St Paul.