Viewpoint: Much learned, discussed at summer events
By Sen. Susan Kent
This past week I have spent many hours talking with constituents, voters and Minnesotans from all over the state. I was very pleased to attend Woodbury Days, as well as take a shift at the state Senate booth at the State Fair.
Each event offered a unique experience. At the State Fair booth, it was great to meet people from different parts of Minnesota. The Fair is an event that unites us as Minnesotans. Likewise, Woodbury Days is an opportunity for our community to come together. Woodbury is the 10th biggest city in Minnesota, yet this event displays what a tight-knit community we are. We recognize faces of so many friends and neighbors. It is a true community gathering. And we all owe tremendous thanks to the hard work of many volunteers and other workers for a successful event.
On top of meeting wonderful people, enjoying the sights and delicious food (my favorite was a hot dog from the Woodbury Ambassadors Royal Family booth and my son loved the cheese curds from Holy Cross Lutheran Church booth), it was a treat to hear from voters. Many people expressed their gratitude for ending gridlock and making progress this past session. I heard a lot of "thank yous" for keeping our promises of investing in education and jobs, and balancing the budget in a fair and honest way.
There was also an acknowledgement that we are not done, though. One issue I heard about where we still need to improve is special education. We need to do better analysis of what works and what doesn't and make sure we provide schools with the necessary resources. This will remain a priority for me next session and in the future.
I also heard about the Vikings stadium, transportation and the Gateway Corridor, education and jobs. We had great discussions about these topics, in addition to conversations about how government works. Many people who came up to the booth wanted to learn about state government. The Woodbury DFL booth had a "Civics and Candy" wheel set up, where kids of all ages would spin the wheel, answer a civics question (such as what year women received the right to vote or how many justices are on the Minnesota Supreme Court) and then receive a piece of candy. This was a great conversation starter that helped us move beyond a partisan divide and talk about governing, not politics.
Both at the State Fair and Woodbury Days, the people were positive and friendly. It is a real pleasure to able to get out there and chat with so many different people. If you aren't one of the hundreds of people I was able to meet this past week, please give me a call, email me or stop by my office. I can be reached at 651-296-4166,firstname.lastname@example.org or 205 Capitol, 75 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155. I would love to hear from you
Kent, a Woodbury Democrat, represents Senate District 53 in the Legislature