Sen. Gene Dornink: Still working to find common ground

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, June 16, 2021

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Friends and neighbors,

I hope you have been enjoying the new summer weather! I know I have certainly enjoyed being back home, spending time with my family and getting to meet up with some of you in the community!

While the summer is here, our work in St. Paul will continue. With the regular 2021 Session ending on May 17, we are still working to find common ground with the House and pass a balanced budget for the next two years. Aside from the budget, we are also working diligently to get Governor Walz to give up the powers the constitution allows only for emergencies.

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Last week, Republican leaders proposed an off-ramp to Walz’s emergency powers that have been in place for over 15 months now. This would be a great compromise to give faith back to Minnesotans that they oversee their own lives while allowing the governor to oversee testing and vaccination efforts. With the way vaccination rates are going up and cases and hospitalizations going down rapidly, the emergency is over. It is time for Governor Walz to let go of emergency powers. We need to return to the normal Legislative process of the House and Senate passing laws and providing oversight.

Another item we are pushing at the Capitol is school choice in Minnesota. Our education system has been slipping and we must take immediate steps to close the state’s historic and persistent achievement gap. At a press conference last week, a diverse group of parents and education advocates came to plead to state leaders to give parents and families the option of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), a proposal included in the budget that is currently being negotiated with the House and Governor Walz. The goal of this program is to ensure that the state is funding the student, not the system. We are focused on helping our teachers, students, and families.

As we go back for Special Session, I am excited to finalize a good, strong budget for the great state of Minnesota. I will advocate for our district needs, encourage others to prioritize rural projects, and stand strong against any bad-governance policy that may be thrown in at the last minute.

As always, I am here for you if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. Please feel free to reach out to me by email at or call me at 651-296-5240.