Friday, August 1, 2008

Late July Wrap-Up

Now that the campaign season has begun, I've been going door-to-door talking to constituents. My literature includes this blog address, so if you are here for the first time, welcome! The content isn't quite as packed with detail as when we are in session at the Capitol, but hopefully it will give you an idea of what I'm working on.

My metal theft law works: KSTP did a two-minute story on July 30th on how the law I wrote to catch thieves of copper wire, pipe, etc. helped in a major arrest. Three people have been arrested for stealing $25,000 of wire from the state fairgrounds. But because their ID had to be recorded and their pictures taken, they got caught. Wahoo!

MSBA Certificate: The MN School Boards Association recently issued a "Certificate of Appreciation for 2008" for my work with Senator Betzold to revise the state's conflict of interest statutes for school boards. Readers may remember the flap about the new Mounds View School Board member who was discouraged from serving because her husband was the lead negotiator for the custodial union.

Postage to be returned: During 2007-2008, each House member has $2,952 in postage to use. (That's $1,968 in 2007 and $984 in 2008.) I've used $849.21 and have $2,102.79. State law prohibits legislators from sending out mass mailings from the Capitol once 60 days pass after the end of the legislative session. So I will probably use maybe another $30 for various constituent response letters before the end of the year, leaving more than $2,000 of taxpayer dollars to give back to the treasury.

Schedule: On Wednesday, July 16th, I was interviewed about energy with Senate Media Services for their weekly Capitol Report show. You can view the whole July 19th show (my part was eight minutes out of the half-hour) on-line.

On Thursday, July 17th, I spoke at a luncheon for St. Paul Chamber of Commerce members from Shoreview, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, and Arden Hills. We spent a lot of time talking about electricity, transportation, the foreclosure crisis, and water.

On Wednesday, July 23rd, I visited a work site for the Minnesota Conservation Corps (MCC). About a dozen MCC members--ages 18-25--were doing a shoreline restoration on Locke Lake in Fridley. Locke Lake is part of Rice Creek and is very close to where the creek empties in to the Mississippi. Rice Creek also flows through my district and so a lot of stormwater run-off from our area ends up in Locke Lake and the river. The MCC gets part of its funding from the state, and the agency is able to leverage that funding from other agencies to get critical conservation projects done at a relatively low cost. I was in the Youth Conservation Corps in the National Park Service in 1983 and 1984 so I have an interest in the MCC.

During the weekend of July 25-27, I participated in the parade in the Slice of Shoreview. For the eighth year in a row, I've set up the recycling program at the Slice. (In 2000, Target dropped off several pallets of donated water bottles, and they all ended up in the garbage, so I volunteered the year after that to help collect cans, bottles, cardboard, and grease.) Shoreview resident and Roseville recycling coordinator Tim Pratt helps me out also. Each year we divert about six to seven cubic yards of cans and bottles and about the same amount of cardboard, and about 50 gallons of grease that gets made into animal feed.

I have also attended a few other events and interviews for my campaign, but this isn't my campaign blog. If you're interested in my campaign website, you can click here.

Constituent contacts: Shoreview resident concerned about meatpacking regulations in Minnesota based on recent Postville, Iowa enforcement actions; Lino Lakes resident about the state of the nation generally; North Oaks resident against some health care reform positions; Blaine resident upset about Ironworld report on KSTP