Brainerd Lakes area Senator Paul Gazelka, Republican running for governor says: "Without a doubt, people do not feel safe right now -- and I blame, and put that blame on, Governor Tim Walz and the mayors of Minneapolis and Saint Paul." G-O-P rival, Ham Lake Senator Michelle Benson says in her travels across the state, she hears from families who "no longer feel safe in their communities and don’t believe the Governor is doing anything to help" and "from law enforcement who feel the Governor doesn’t have their back."
Walz opens re-election campaign at virtual event with supporters, challengers blast his record on COVID, crime
"So I'd ask you all, join us." ...Governor Tim Walz addressing supporters at a virtual campaign rally last night (Tues), as Republican rivals blast his record on crime. Senator Michelle Benson: "We saw him sit on his hands while Minneapolis and Saint Paul burned. The radical left keeps talking about defunding the police." Walz has said he does not support defunding the police, but reiterated last night he'll continue pushing for police reform: "You can hold two thoughts at the same time: We can ask for police reform while also tackling gun violence and crime. That's what our communities are asking [...]
Minnesota House lawmakers are in Pipestone, Luverne, Worthington, Butterfield, Welcome, Fairmont and Mankato today (Wed), hearing pitches for state bonding dollars for public works projects on day two of their sweep through southwest Minnesota. Capital Investment committee chairman, Minneapolis Democrat Fue Lee says the latest budget forecast allows the state to bond for just over 3.3 billion dollars: "I'll be doing my part to push for a robust bonding bill. I am hopeful that we could get to a level similar to what we were able to get done in the October 2020 bonding bill." That was a record 1.9 billion [...]
Governor Tim Walz has received good response to his push for COVID testing programs in Minnesota's public schools, with over 85 percent applying for grants from the state. But his proposal to require testing and vaccinations for teachers and staff is meeting strong resistance from Republicans. Walz's education commissioner, Doctor Heather Mueller says: "The Department of Health and the C-D-C have recommended required layered mitigation strategies that are inclusive of testing and vaccines and masks and quarantine. But as for requiring it from the state level, I know that that's a conversation that the governor is having with the legislature." A [...]
As this year's death toll on the state's roads approaches the highest number since 2007, the Department of Public Safety is urging drivers to slow down and pay attention. "This is horrible and this is unacceptable, we've been pleading with Minnesotans about the traffic fatality crisis that's been taking place since the start of the pandemic last year." Mike Hanson with the Office of Traffic Safety says speeding, in particular, has been a significant problem. There have been at least 124 speed-related deaths through October 14th--a 27-percent increase from this time last year.
State House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler and members of the Walter Mondale family are scheduled to tour several Conservation Legacy spots honoring Mondale along the St. Croix. "Vice President and Senator Walter Mondale led the effort to preserve the St. Croix River Valley for future generations as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act." Winkler was the author of a bill passed and signed into law during the 2019 legislative session naming five areas along the St. Croix in Mondale's honor. The region had great personal significance to Mondale as well. Mondale proposed to his wife-to-be Joan in a [...]
U-S Senator Tina Smith is going after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy after recent changes to first-class mail services. Smith says the changes are resulting in "the slowest mail delivery that we've seen in 50 years." "I have such respect for the men and women of the postal service who work so hard to deliver the mail, and they deserve a postmaster general who's trying to make the post office better and not slow it down." Smith says also concerned the new service standards will have a big negative impact on the elderly, disabled people, veterans and rural and Tribal communities.
At a state senate hearing focused on reopening Driver and Vehicle Services testing sites across the state DPS commissioner John Harrington told lawmakers he expects progress soon. "I can tell you I expect many of these exam stations to be open this fall, and every one of them to be open by January." Harrington cited staffing concerns as a large reason some offices remain closed but said he is hearing from Minnesotans every day about the problem. "Farmers who have been calling me to figure out cdl tests for truck drivers so they can get their crops in. Calls from school [...]
The U-S Preventive Services Task Force this week put out guidance that many Americans 60 and up shouldn't take aspirin to prevent first heart attacks or strokes. HealthPartners Dr. Karen Margolis says: "It's really important to get the advice of your physician before you make any changes in your treatment, even with an over-the-counter-drug like aspirin." The task force is recommending daily low-dose aspirin for adults in their 40s and 50s--only if their doctors determine they're at increased risk for heart disease.
Governor Tim Walz last week announced a COVID-19 action plan to relieve Minnesota’s increasingly crowded hospitals. "God help any one of us if we have a family member who needs to get in, and there's not capacity or we've got a family member who leaves the healing professions because they're being disparaged as they leave a 12-hour shift, that's not who we are." The plan includes putting the National Guard on alert to provide staffing support at Minnesota’s long-term care facilities, expanding access to the COVID-19 Emergency Staffing Pool and freeing up capacity at state long-term care facilities.