The Legislature spent last week on a brief Easter/Passover break, which provided a great opportunity to attend events all around our community and meet as many people as possible.
Below is a quick rundown of some of activities last week:
Linda from Otsego invited me to visit her home where she and her husband operate adult foster care. I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with (from left to right in the front row) Kari, Jill, Tara, Julie, and Charlie. Linda has a very big heart and has been helping others through adult foster care for over 26 years. I strongly believe society has an obligation to help those who truly cannot care for themselves. Thank you Linda for inviting me over to spend time with you and your family. May the Lord continue to be with you.
I spoke to the 8th grade class at STMA Middle School West. The current theme at the school is “Mental Toughness.” As the students complete their end of year MCA testing and prepare to move to high school next year, I spoke about the importance of working hard, doing their best, pursuing their dreams, persevering when times get tough, delayed gratification, and the path I took in my academic journey including PSEO and AP courses. Thank you Principal (Andrew) Merfeld for the opportunity!
I visited STMA High School to join Principal (Robert) Driver for a tour. I was very impressed with the emphasis placed on STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Technical education such as building, manufacturing, equipment, computer science programming, building robots, and 3D printers is critically important because technical and other specialized careers are in extreme demand now and the long term future. Beginning technical education early will give our children the advantage for long term, successful careers of the future. Thank you Principal Driver for the tour.
I met with the 7th grade Living History Advanced Placement class at STMA Middle School East. Students were interested in my personal life experiences, my path to the Capital, and my role as State Representative. Thank you Mr. Huggins for the opportunity!
I experienced firsthand the Pro Start Culinary Arts program offered at Elk River High School. The Professional Start Culinary Arts program is a two year program where students start from scratch creating everything from the bottom up including developing recipes, create menus involving graphic design, safety and sanitation, business management, purchasing, revenue/expense, profit/loss, etc. Students of the program are graduating high school with marketable skills to immediately enter the workforce. Employers are seeking students to fast track them into management roles because of the valuable skills learned. Other students are moving on to college level culinary programs.
The Pro Start Culinary Arts program and similar programs around the state are in jeopardy of being shut down due to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act school lunch mandates. In order to operate, a waiver from the Obama mandates had to be granted this year. There is concern a waiver will not be granted again for next year and this program will be shut down. The National Government is governing from Washington DC all the way down to the local level and limiting opportunities of our children.
Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer and I co-hosted a series of four town hall meetings last week in St. Michael, Otsego, Albertville, and Hanover. Turnout was excellent! Thank you everybody for joining us and sharing your feedback. Reoccurring feedback we received included equity in education funding, roads and bridges transportation funding, budget surplus, and high taxes needing to be lowered.