Sunday, August 19, 2007

July and August 2007 Summary

Since things have been going slower in the summer, I'll provide this summary of my activities for July and August. I decided to take the summer off to be at home with my six and nine-year old children, so I haven't been at the Capitol much lately, but I do visit the office weekly to pick up mail.

On Sunday, July 8th, I met with several medical professionals (mostly doctors) in North Oaks to hear their ideas for health care reform. They also gave me a certificate from the Minnesota Medical Association thanking me for voting in favor of the workplace smoking ban.

On Monday, July 9th, I attended a public meeting in Bloomington by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on the new electronic waste recycling law. In attendance were representatives of electronics manufacturers, electronics recyclers, cities, and counties. I also attended a meeting of the Lino Lakes City Council with Senator Rummel to update them on our activities during the legislative session. Council members expressed interest in Anoka County's proposal for a new library on Lake Drive.

On Tuesday, July 10th, I met with the legislative affairs staff of the Met Council to discuss bus transit in District 53A. Of particular interest to me was the long term vision for how our area would be served by buses that feed into suburban rail stations or park and rides, such as those on the Northstar Commuter Rail line and the Rush Line along Highway 61. In the evening, I attended a meeting of the District 53 DFL.

On Friday, July 13th, I was interviewed on MPR's MidMorning program during the last ten minutes of the 10:00 a.m. show. The topic was on the recently passed electronic waste recycling legislation. In the afternoon, I helped staff a booth for the Ramsey County DFL at the Ramsey County Fair in Maplewood.

On Monday, July 16th, I attended a meeting of the Centennial School Board along with Senators Betzold, Rummel, and Vanderveer to update board members on the legislative session.
On Tuesday, July 17th, I met with a representative of Clean Water Action to talk about groundwater and drinking water pollution issues.

On Saturday, July 21st, I met with a large number of my suburban DFL colleagues.

On Tuesday, July 24th, I visited (with members of the Senate & House Energy Committees) the High Bridge power plant in St. Paul that is converting from coal to natural gas. We also visited the MISO facility in St. Paul. MISO stands for Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. MISO is one of several organizations nationwide that monitor electrical generation and transmission and then move power from areas of low demand to areas of high demand in order to increase reliability of electrical generation in the Midwest.

On Friday, July 27th, I attended the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event in White Bear Lake, where Rep. McFarlane and I received certificates thanking us for voting for the Freedom to Breathe Act. I have to confess that I was not aware of this event before. I was expecting about 30 people and there were about 1,000 people preparing to walk around the high school track all night to raise money for the American Cancer Society!

During the weekend of July 27th-29th, I set up the recycling program for the Slice of Shoreview and marched in the Saturday parade with campaign volunteers. The recycling program collects about six cubic yards of cans and bottles and six cubic yards of cardboard, or about 20% of the volume of waste from the Slice. It's a messy job but I've been doing it for six years and it is very satisfying at the end!

On August 21st, I attended a DFL House Caucus fundraising event in St. Paul. This event--a type held by both political parties--was a golf scramble followed by a reception. Attendees included DFL members of the House, some staff, and lobbyists who I assume made contributions to the DFL House Caucus. I am not a golfer but I came for the reception. For the record I will reiterate that my own personal campaign does not accept contributions from PACs or lobbyists.

On August 29th, I attended an Anoka County "local government officials meeting" at Chomonix Golf Course in Lino Lakes. City council members, county commissioners, and local mayors were mostly in attendance. I was the only legislator. Discussion items included emergency preparedness and the status of Anoka County's technical colleges, including Anoka Technical College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College. One proposal being thrown around is that there should be a four-year university in Anoka County because of growing population, increased congestion, etc. I was also asked to speak about a potential special session.

On August 30th, I met with three Anoka County Commissioners about a proposed special session and a proposed Minneapolis to Duluth rail line. I also toured North Metro TV in Blaine and met with staff about a bill I am co-authoring to allow more competition for video services in Minnesota.

Constituent contacts: Shoreview? constituent asking that the truck restrictions on 35E be lifted to help with congestion after the bridge collapse; Blaine resident proposing an entertainment tax in Minneapolis during rush hour to discourage non-business commuting near the 35W bridge site; Shoreview resident against rail and for extra lanes on 94; North Oaks resident asking about hospital pricing rules; Shoreview resident against light rail; Lino Lakes resident and allergy sufferer seeking flexibility in legislation restricting over the counter sales of pseudoephedrine; Lino Lakes resident concerned about Congress's possible failure to support a Skilled Nursing Facility market basket increase and against low increase in support for nursing homes; Shoreview resident supporting special pet-friendly license plates; Lino Lakes resident supporting federal legislation for the disabled; Lino Lakes resident about a traffic incident; Lino Lakes resident about possible job discrimination issue; Shoreview resident about bus service; Shoreview resident supporting tougher DUI penalties; Shoreview resident and vet against Rep. Lesch's proposed ban on certain dog breeds; Shoreview resident supporting bus transit; North Oaks resident supporting nuclear power; Lino Lakes resident supporting single-payer health care; Circle Pines resident supporting light rail on the new 35W bridge and supporting an increase in the gas tax; Shoreview resident against a gas tax increase and light rail on the new bridge; Shoreview resident against an increase in the gas tax; Blaine resident against light rail and supporting a deduction on the income tax should the gas tax be raised; Shoreview resident against a gas tax increase and wanting additional tax cuts for Minnesotans in the top 20% of income earners; Shoreview resident upset with MN Board of Medical Practices; Shoreview resident against bill to allow higher debt limit for Anoka county libraries; Shoreview resident against "sanctuary" laws for illegal immigrants; Shoreview resident supporting dog and cat breeder bill; Blaine resident against wheelage tax for roads; Shoreview resident against gas tax increase; North Oaks resident supporting an increase in the gas tax; Shoreview resident hesitant about gas tax; Circle Pines resident supporting light rail on the new 35W bridge; Shoreview resident and doctor supporting vote on smoking ban; Lino Lakes resident against a gas tax increase; Shoreview resident about prescription coverage under Minnesota Care