The Minnesota Legislature ended the 2015-16 biennium with mixed results.  Although we passed bills to improve state reimbursements for nursing homes across Minnesota and cut taxes for military retirees, we had the potential to do so much more.

I kept up the fight for our local issues to secure dollars to complete Oakport’s flood mitigation project and co-authored bi-partisan legislation for our border city businesses.  I’ll continue this work and the fight for improvements to railroad crossing infrastructure in our district to make our community safer and ready for new growth.

We must focus on ensuring all Minnesotans have opportunities to succeed.  Hundreds of businesses across the state have thousands of available jobs but can’t find workers with the right skill sets or credentials to fill them.  We must find ways to connect businesses with job seekers to keep our economy strong.  Seventy percent of jobs in Minnesota require some form of post-secondary education.  I introduced bills in 2016 to connect our higher education systems with businesses to fill these jobs and build on our economy.  We also need to remember folks who work for long-term care organizations and provide services for people with developmental and physical disabilities.  The impact they have on our communities is incredible and goes unsung.  Their pay is closely tied to state dollars and increasing this funding is the least we can do for them, their families and the people they serve.

In addition to economic prosperity, the Legislature needs to act on reforms to improve the overall legislative process.  Both sessions of the biennium ended without the Legislature finishing work on time.  This is absolutely unacceptable.  We must look at reforms for the Legislature to invite more public input, set hard deadlines for all committees to finish work and get the job done without Special Sessions.  Everyone else has to meet deadlines and finish work on time; the Legislature should be no different.

I thank everyone in District 4A for the opportunity to represent you at the State Capitol.  It’s a tremendous honor to be the state representative for my home town.  I also thank everyone for all the input and comments.  Please continue to reach out to me with your concerns or questions at any time.

Sincerely,

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Ben Lien