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Letter: A thank you from Rep. Swails

I'd like to thank everyone who took time to attend the budget Town Hall meeting in Woodbury last week.

More than 250 people took time to learn more about the state budget and offer their best solutions about how to tackle it.

The high level of participation from people on every end of the political spectrum was a demonstration of Minnesota's civic engagement at its best.

In 24 meetings around the state attended by more than 6500 people, and in more than 3000 comments to the Minnesota House budget solutions website, similar themes emerged.

The most compelling testimony brought home just how much we value the Minnesota way of life, characterized by high quality schools, excellent health care, an abundant outdoor heritage, and a robust economy.

Reinvigorating our flagging job market and preserving that way of life will focus our budget priorities moving forward.

By the time you read this, Minnesota's deficit will have gotten significantly bigger --by some estimates, it will have grown to $6 or $7 billion.

With a shortfall that large, we'll need a commitment to modernize and reform the way government works, and to the priorities that engaged Minnesotans helped us define.

I promise to keep those priorities front and center, and to abide by the principles of fairness, balance, and honesty that these unprecedented challenges demand.

We hear often, and rightly so, that we're all in this together. It's also abundantly clear how deeply the decisions we make will touch the lives of all Minnesotans.

So I'll continue to keep you updated as we move forward, and ask you to continue sharing your thoughts and ideas with me.

Marsha Swails

State Representative

House District 56B