Column: All politics is local, even if it happens in St. PaulFormer U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said “All politics is local” and on Election Day 2012, that is what I was thinking. With the fate of the country on the line with the presidential election, my eyes were on the Minnesota house and senate. I knew that the 2013 legislative session would be a turning point in Minnesota history.
By: Scott Yeazle, For the Budgeteer News
Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said “All politics is local” and on Election Day 2012, that is what I was thinking. With the fate of the country on the line with the presidential election, my eyes were on the Minnesota house and senate. I knew that the 2013 legislative session would be a turning point in Minnesota history.
A few months later, the 2013 Minnesota legislative session is in full swing and the local Northland legislators are making waves in the Minnesota House and Senate. The budget is the top issue of the year: The legislature must have a balanced budget as it adjourns for the year.
While the budget is the main event at the legislature, other bills and moves are getting attention. Sen. Roger Reinert announced a new caucus called the Purple Caucus, a group of DFL-ers and Republicans that has pledged to put Minnesota first and party politics second. His partner at the press conference was Republican Sen. Jeremy Miller from Winona, who will co-chair the caucus with Reinert.
Aside from that, Reinert has been working on the Sunday liquor sales bill which will allow liquor stores to open on Sunday. This will be important for Duluth liquor stores that lose a lot of money to Superior every Sunday.
Meanwhile in the House, Rep. Tom Huntley is the chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee. Huntley is the chief author of the budget for Health and Human Services. This budget is a large chunk of the entire state budget. The House recently passed the Health Insurance Exchange, which is a bill Huntley co-authored. Rep. Huntley has been in the legislature since 1992.
On the other side of District 7, Rep. Erik Simonson is a first-term representative and jumped in with both feet. Simonson is a part of the Public Safety committee and authored a bill about body armor. He has also authored a bill to renovate Wade Stadium. Fellow Northland Rep. Tom Huntley and Rep. Mary Murphy have signed on to the Wade Stadium bill.
Moving forward in the legislative session, the legislators will discuss things such as same-sex marriage and gun control, as well as balancing the state budget for the next two years.
If you want be a part of the decision-making process, they are there to listen. All politics is local, and these legislators are working hard for you.
Here is how to contact them:
Mary Murphy (03B, DFL)
443 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155, 651-296-2676
Thomas Huntley (07A, DFL)
585 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155, 651-296-2228
Erik Simonson (07B, DFL)
429 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155, 651-296-4246
Roger J. Reinert (07, DFL)
325 Capitol , 651-296-4188
Thomas M. Bakk (03, DFL)
226 Capitol , 651-296-8881
Duluthain Scott Yeazle is a politics junkie and director of Ten25Fifty, a nonprofit focused on ending homelessness.