Monthly Archives

June 2009

I Love a Parade!

By | Event, Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 20, Le Sueur County | No Comments

clevelandMost every community in my Senate district will hold community celebrations and parades this summer. It is a great opportunity to meet constituents and sample the hospitality and fare each town has to offer. The people are always warm and inviting and, of course, always having a good time. Earlier this month I walked with the LeSueur County DFL in the Bullhead Days Parade in Waterville and more recently, the Cherry Creek Days Parade in Cleveland, Minnesota. We had great weather both weekends and my kids and I had a great time. I especially enjoyed dining on some tasty bullhead in Waterville. I couldn’t talk my kids into sampling the same, however. They settled for the foot long corn dog. Food always tastes better at a community celebration. Northfield hosted its annual “Taste of Northfield” event this past week. They had a great turnout. Needless to say, I was unable to taste everything offered in Bridge Square on a beautiful Thursday evening. This Sunday I will be walking in the Henderson Sauerkraut Days Parade beginning at noon. Following the parade, I will be spending some time at Bender Park and offering a few words of congratulations to the Parade Grand Marshall, Jeff Bertrang. Jeff, born and raised in Henderson, has been promoted to General in the Minnesota National Guard. Congratulations, Jeff. I look forward to visiting with you.
Of course, there are plenty of other community celebrations to come. Kolacky Days in Montgomery, BBQ Days in Belle Plaine, Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield…and a community celebration in Dundas this weekend, just to name a few. Join in the fun. Watch a parade, eat some food, and meet some friends.

Minnesota Political Refund Program Axed

By | Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 20 | No Comments

waterville-paradeDid you know that your financial contribution can qualify for a political refund from the State of Minnesota? But only for a short time. The Governor, as part of his unallotment decision, will be emptying the coffers of the MN Political Refund program. This is unfortunate because it was one way that persons of all income levels could donate to their preferred candidates or political parties. Campaign contributions should not have to rely on Political Action committees or the wealthiest Minnesotans.

This program ends July 1. So time is of the essence. Please consider using the Minnesota Political Contribution Refund program while you can. You can write a check to my campaign committee for up to $50 (or up to $100 if you file a joint tax return with your spouse). Checks must be dated and in the hands of the campaign treasurer by June 30. Within days of receiving your donation, we will provide you with a receipt and a Minnesota Department of Revenue’s Official Contribution Refund Form. Fill out and mail both forms to the department and they will issue you a check for the amount donated up to $50.00, or a $100.00 per couple.refund1

This is a direct dollar-for-dollar refund of your contribution returned to you in the form of a check from the State of Minnesota. Just click on the link on the left that says DONATE. Instructions for a mail-in or credit card donation are clearly outlined. Thanks for supporting my candidacy.

The Governor Unallots

By | Economy, Education, Health Care, Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 20 | No Comments

Property taxes and college tuition will rise, hospitals and nursing homes will see deeper cuts, and school districts may be forced to borrow to make ends meet after Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty enacts his proposed unallotments. Pawlenty announced his intentions to drastically reduce funding for aid to cities and counties, cut funding for nursing homes, and to shift nearly $1.8 billion in school funding at a press conference this afternoon.
Unallotment is a little used power that was put into law in 1939 that allows the Governor to cut funding for state expenditures. It was originally designed to aid in fixing small, unanticipated budget deficits. The power has been used only six times in 70 years, with Pawlenty using it three of those times. The Governor’s proposed $2.7 billion unallotment is larger than all five of the previous unallotments combined and nearly 10 times more than the largest.
The Governor’s proposed unallotments include:
• $300 million in Local Government Aid and County Program Aid, primarily used for local public safety and essential services
• $1.77 billion K-12 education funding shift that may cause some schools to have to borrow to bridge funding
• $51 million decrease to the renters’ refund program resulting in a tax increase for renters
• $236 million reduction of health care, including eliminating the General Assistance Medical Care program, which provides health care for the sickest and poorest Minnesotans, one and a half months sooner than would have happened as a result of Pawlenty’s line-item veto
• $100 million cut to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the University of Minnesota
• $33 million in cuts to most state agency operating budgets
The cuts to aid for cities and counties are particularly troubling. Cutting LGA (Local Government Aid) is likely to lead to increases in property taxes and cuts to local police and fire departments and additional basic services. The State has a budget deficit, but the problem seems to keep getting passed on to local governments. In addition, reductions in funding for hospitals and our higher education institutions will mean additional private and public sector job losses throughout the state. It doesn’t make sense to cut even more jobs when our state is struggling with high unemployment.

Primary Seat Belt Law

By | Education, Transportation | No Comments

seat-beltThis week the primary seat belt law goes into effect. While I supported the bill, I have taken a circuitous road to get there.
I’ve been teaching driver education since 1982. At that time, seat belt use was minimal, at best. For example, when I asked my very first class of 35 students, “How many of you regularly use seat belts?” One or two students raised their hand. I asked the same question of my current class of 50 driver education students and all 50 raised their hands. That’s quite a change.
So how did we get to this level of compliance? Seat belt use was not required 30 years ago. It was a good idea, but not widely practiced. Parents were poor role models for their children at the time and most children were not “securely fastened” in the car. When I was an infant, I was toted around in the back seat swaddled in an egg crate box. The box had a lid with a clown painted on it with cutout eyes, bow tie, and buttons, providing ventilation. When I graduated from the egg box as a toddler, I was allowed to stand up in the front seat, while mom or dad’s well placed arm kept me from hurtling toward the metal dash or windshield. Sunning myself in the rear window dash was fun and exciting…and in hindsight, a really dumb idea.
But things have changed for the better. My four year old will be the first to remind me to buckle up if I fail to click it by the end of the driveway. Around 700,000 Minnesotans don’t buckle up. This group accounts for the 200 unbelted traffic deaths that occur on Minnesota roads each year — representing 55 percent of all traffic deaths. Another 430 unbelted crash victims suffer serious, life-altering injuries annually.
Statistics show that states with primary seat belt laws see a 10% increase in seat belt use after passage. That would bring Minnesota’s seat belt use to about 95 percent, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, more importantly; an additional 40 lives saved each year. During 2004¬–2005, all government payer sources, including Medicaid, were charged $83 million for unbelted motorists’ hospital charges. Unbelted motorist injury charges were 78 percent greater for Medicaid than belted motorists (MN Dept. of Public Safety).
To tell you the truth, I don’t particularly enjoy wearing a seat belt. But I have come quite a ways over the years…in the car, in the classroom, and on the road. And if the Primary seat belt law convinces me while encouraging our neighbors, our students, and our children to buckle up, we can all live with that.

The Four-Way Test

By | Event, Scott County | No Comments

rotaryYesterday, I had the opportunity to speak before the Northfield Rotary Club, providing a brief summary of the just completed legislative session. Representative David Bly also shared in the wrap up. The Northfield Rotary is a great group of local citizens who meet every Thursday for lunch at the Northfield Country Club. I want to extend thanks to Doug Crane for the invitation and Laurie Williams, Rotary President and Rick Estenson, President Elect, for their hospitality and fellowship. The Rotary Club, a nationwide service organization, incorporates the Four-Way Test as part of their philosophy of service. Those four questions:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
As part of my presentation, I suggested that politicians and elected officials would do well to consider these four truths in carrying out good government. We should always be truthful in our relations with constituents or fellow legislators. We should be up front and honest as we explain our motives and reasoning behind our votes on issues and policy. People should expect their politicians to be fair and forthcoming in the daily dialogue that guide our decisions.
This past session I was chief author of 32 bills and co-author on an additional 34 pieces of legislation. Many of those bills were signed into law by the Governor. The bills covered a wide range of topics: from energy conservation, transportation, education, commerce and consumer protection, health care, and other topics. Not all legislation can build goodwill or better friendships, but I can honestly say the process, more often than not, can promote a better understanding and consensus among the many stakeholders… even those with divergent opinions. I look forward to working with them again.
I am proud of the many successes I experienced this past session. I would like to think that bills I have authored will indeed be “beneficial to all concerned.” After all, elected officials have an obligation to serve their constituents. Members of community service organizations, such as the Rotary Club, Sertoma, the Lions Club, and others are under no such obligation to serve. But we are all better off because they do. That is the truth.
Bills I have authored this session can be found at:

<a href=”https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/revisor/pages/search_status/status_results.php?body=Senate&search=author&session=0862009&legid=15288&submit_author=GO”>