Rep. Jennifer Schultz DFL-Duluth represents District 7A in the Minnesota House. She can be reached at (651) 296-2228.
- Member for
- 3 years 1 month
Last year, the AARP rated Minnesota the top state in the nation in which to retire. In issuing this honor, the organization cited a great quality of life, reasonable cost of living and adequate support for family caregivers. These are all wonderful things for Minnesotans to look forward to as retirement nears, but what about for those who may not even see retirement on the horizon?
Following a decade of state budget uncertainty, in 2013 Gov. Dayton and DFLers in the Legislature showed the leadership necessary to correct the state’s fiscal course by budgeting in an honest and responsible way free of shifts, gimmicks and borrowing. Part of this solution was to increase tax fairness by requiring the top 2 percent of income earners to pay their fair share.
By designating the University of Minnesota as the state’s “land grant” institution of higher education, Minnesota’s founders recognized that the U of M would hold a prominent place in guiding the direction of our state for generations. With its constitutional autonomy, the responsibility to elect members to the University’s Board of Regents resides with members of the Minnesota Legislature. There are 12 elected regents, one from each congressional district and four at-large.
Inadequate state investments in higher education over the last decade and a half have are leading to negative consequences for our economy. These cuts have led to tuition increases of 26 percent and 175 percent in constant dollars in the last 10 and 25 years, respectively, at the University of Minnesota.
Communities throughout the country have struggled with growing numbers of citizens falling into opioid addiction. Many of us have had friends, neighbors or even family members who have been affected.
As families struggle to get by with rising expenses such as child care, health insurance and college tuition, along with stagnant incomes, it's important for us to identify policies that we can enact to promote economic security.
The recent election has created a lot of interest in election reform and I have heard about that from many of my constituents. Reform at the national level is a worthwhile goal, but here in Minnesota we have the chance to institute reforms that may be just as important.
Several years ago, a friend brought to my attention the need to address the barriers to obtaining and maintaining a driver's license. I fondly remember my driver education class in high school and attempting to parallel park for the first time. A lot has changed since then. Many high schools across the state no longer offer driver education courses as part of the regular curriculum during the academic year. This, in part, is due to insufficient state funding for public schools and increased liability expenses to school districts.
Wasteful spending on unnecessary Pentagon programs does not improve national security and prevents us from making needed investments in our economy and communities. Just like our state budget, the federal budget is both a vision and a blueprint outlining how to meet the needs of our communities with funds from our tax dollars. Americans rely on federal money to be safe, healthy, thriving and economically sound. Federal dollars are used to support schools, police, roads and bridges, clean water, health care and other essential services.
In the state of Minnesota, we have seen a significant decline in native pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies. Absent greater actions taken by the Legislature and regulatory agencies, as well as partnership with agriculture and business, this alarming trend will continue and could potentially lead to grave consequences for our food supply. Studies are now showing a direct link between the use of pesticides and a drop in bee populations. With the honeybee responsible for much of the pollination worldwide, we need to act now.