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The World’s Best Workforce 2015
Published On: 15th January 2015 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

The start of the 2015 session is now in its third week and I must admit the pace is much slower this year than in the past.  Last year, the second year of the biennium, saw a start date of February 25 with early committee deadlines and election year politics as part of the mix.  Schedules filled up fast and committee agendas kept things moving from the very start.

With the capitol renovations going on around us and shorter committee time slots, we have seen a much more relaxed pace to start the 89th legislature.  I serve on the same committees as last year, Commerce, State & Local Government, and Education finance and policy.  Because bills are just getting introduced and working their way out of the revisors’ office, committees have not been running at full speed yet.  It will only be a matter of weeks and days before we wish we had the extra time we enjoy now to meet with constituents and interest groups with their legislative concerns and agendas.

One committee, Education, has had several meetings so far.  This morning we heard a progress report on the World’s Best Workforce legislation, which was passed into law in 2013. The legislation was designed to ensure all school districts in the state were making strides to plan for continuous school improvement addressing 5 goals.  Those goals include:

  1. All children are ready to start kindergarten
  2. All 3rd graders can read at grade level
  3. All achievement gaps between students are closed
  4. All students are ready for career and/or post-secondary education.
  5. All students graduate from high school

The report this morning was encouraging.  Administrators from Anoka- Hennepin, St. Paul, Bloomington, the Dept. of Education and others reported a great start to this initiative.  In many instances, these goals became a part of a district’s strategic plan.  A parent and community meeting requirement as part of the bill has seen positive discussions allowing better communication and more innovative planning going forward.

Stakeholders were generally upbeat about the World’s Best Workforce’s initial rollout.  We hope to see these best practices and models around the state shared to help our schools meet our future workforce needs.  As our population ages; as skilled worker jobs remain unfilled; as we wrestle with high achievement gaps, especially in our urban districts, we hope the blue print met with great optimism today will be the roadmap to help Minnesota develop, indeed, the world’s best workforce.

 



2015 Session
Published On: 9th January 2015 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

Welcome back.  For several years I wrote about my experiences at the state Capitol on my website, “Mr. Dahle Goes to St. Paul.”  I am planning to crank it up again as we start the 89th session of the Minnesota legislature.  Look to this site to hear what is going on at the State Capitol and my thoughts and analysis of the session, the legislative process, and my daily experiences as a State Senator.

The Senate gavel came dropped at noon on Tuesday, January 6.  Newly elected Lt. Governor Tina Smith opened the session.  It will be an interesting two years as we pass the next biennial budget.  While Governor Dayton remains in the Governor’s office, we will be working with a newly elected Republican House.  I am hopeful we can pass a progressive budget with good policy for Minnesotans across the state.

Education is always an important focus of my agenda.  One of the larger slices of the state budget, there are several initiatives for education in the upcoming session.  Yesterday, we heard from over 30 stakeholders in the Education committee that I serve on. They presented their legislative agendas and “wish lists” and priorities for the upcoming session.  In addition, the Senate rolled out its first 6 bills of the session.  Three of the six were education related.  One bill would expand free Pre-K education for all pre-schoolers enrolled in our public schools. This builds on the full funding of all day every day kindergarten we passed in the last session, emphasizing the importance of investing in our children early to ensure success later.  In addition, another bill introduced yesterday would offer tuition free 2 Year College through our MNSCU system.  This is a product of our discussions over the past few years to concentrate on work force development to help the business community’s need for skilled workers.  Another bill would help students “earn while they learn” which would provide academic credit for high schoolers who partner with local employers for vocational training.

I introduced legislation that will extend the Alternative facilities program to all school districts, which will establish a new long-term facilities maintenance revenue program to replace the current alternative facilities, deferred maintenance and health and safety revenue programs to provide adequate, equitable, and sustainable long-term maintenance funding for all school district statewide.  This recommendation was a result of a School facilities financing working group which concluded it’s work this past fall.  This will especially help rural districts in low property wealth districts like Northfield, New Prague, Belle Plaine, and Tri-City United (Montgomery, Lonsdale, LeCenter) schools.

I am excited to get to work for my constituents in Senate District 20 and for all Minnesotans.  Education is just one of our priorities this session.  I will be sharing my thoughts on other initiatives in the days and weeks ahead.



Donate to the Dahle for Senate Campaign and get your Money Back!
Published On: 24th October 2013 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

The Minnesota Political Campaign Refund Program is Back!

As of this past July  2013, the Minnesota Political Contribution Refund program is back.  The Minnesota Campaign Refund program will rebate $50 per voter ($100 per married couple) per calendar year.  Please note, the refund program applies to eligible Minnesota voters only.

HOW DOES IT WORK?  Just send a check to the Dahle for Senate Campaign.  My treasurer will send  a receipt and a rebate application form directly to you.Follow the directions on the form and in a few weeks you will receive your $50 or $100 (married couples filing jointly) from the MN Dept. of Revenue.

This program allows all of us to contribute to our favorite candidate regardless of household incomes.   And hey, after January 1, you can make another donation and get another refund.

You can also Donate on-line.  Click on the Donation tab at this site.

Thank you so much for you past and continued support.  I am proud to serve all of you in the Minnesota State Senate!

Kevin

Dahle for Senate, 2311 Greenfield Drive East, Northfield, MN 55057



The Recount Begins
Published On: 28th November 2012 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

The Minnesota State Senate District 20 recount begins Wednesday, November 28 in those counties that make up the Senate district.  Rice County will be the site of the first recount, beginning at 8:30am on Wednesday morning.  LeSueur County will do its recount on Thursday, November 29, and Scott County will finish up on Friday morning.  Each county will finish their recounts the same day they start.  We should know the results of the 3 county recounts by noon on Friday, Nov. 30.

Every person 18 years of age or older who is a United States citizen residing in the State of Minnesota for more than 20 days prior to an election has a constitutional right to vote.  It is imperative that those observing the recount keep in mind that we are protecting a constitutional right that each citizen and qualified voter has in this state.  Nothing is more important to a democratic system of government.

The notion that the state ultimately must respect the intent of the voter is derived from this constitutional right of the voter.  A voter exercising his or her elective franchise has a right to express their choice.  Having a vote on a ballot count need not depend on exactly following the rules or format that a state legislature, Secretary of State, or some election official prescribes.  Hence, the touchstone and the biggest factor of voting in Minnesota is that if the voter intends to vote for a candidate, that intent will be honored.   

The Minnesota State Canvassing Board met today, November 27, certifying the results of the November 6 election across the nation and state. That certification also triggered the automatic recount since the Senate District 20 race ended within the one half of one percent difference in the final vote tally.  The uncertified Election Day results: Kevin Dahle: 20, 628 votes or 50.03%.  Mike Dudley: 20,550 votes or 49.84%.

The County Auditor acts as the chief Recount official in the counties represented in the Senate District.  Each ballot box, sealed since election night, contains ballots, envelopes, voter registration sign in sheets, lists for absentee ballot voters, and the “tape” from the night of the election for optical scan counting equipment and other materials used on Election Day.  The Recount official will begin by opening the boxes, reviewing the summary statements and comparing them to the numbers on the tape.

The 41,000 plus ballots are then counted precinct by precinct.  At each table there will be a Recount official and a re-counter for each candidate.  The Recount official will open the sealed envelopes containing the ballots and recount them by hand.  The Recount official begins by assembling ballots for Dahle, Dudley, other write-ins, blank ballots, and defective ballots.  It is during this time that any ballots may be challenged by observers from either candidate.  Challenges may not be automatic or frivolous and the challenger must state a basis for the challenge.  Those ballots that are challenged will be marked by the Recount official indicating the precinct number where the ballot is from, the name of the person challenging the ballot and the basis of the challenge.  Eventually, all challenged ballots will be forwarded to the State Canvassing Board (SCB).  The final fate of the challenged ballots will be made by the SCB at their meeting in December.

After the Franken-Coleman recount, the Emmer-Dayton recount, both statewide recounts involving millions of votes, we learned the importance of having a voting system in place that is based on efficiency and integrity.  We also learned, once again, how important every vote is in determining who will represent us at all levels of government.  Our system of choosing a representative government, a republic works. We are confident that this recount will reaffirm that principle.



Politics Matters
Published On: 6th November 2012 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

A few weeks ago, I sat in on an adult forum at a local church where several dozen people gathered to discuss a timely topic: Civil Discourse in Politics Today. Participants shared their views on the current state of politics and the stream of negative ads and opinions that flood our airwaves, mailboxes, and social media.  We shared ideas about what positive and productive civic discourse would look like.  In our descriptions we repeatedly used words like respect, objectivity, and trust.  There was a general sense of yearning that we move toward greater civility in future elections and our fervent hope that, in this regard, we have not reached a point of no return.  There was a consensus that when Election Day arrives it will be met with relief.  It is on this day when votes will be cast and we commence with the peaceful transition of power.  We will feel good about exercising our civic responsibility and ready to take a break from what has been dismissed as, “politics as usual.”

After this long campaign season of promises, positioning, and partisanship, there are those who have made the decision not to vote.  This disheartens me.  They say that their vote does not matter.  They say that the current state of politics has caused them to turn their back on the process.   I would urge each one to consider this excerpt from Bill Moyers from his book Moyers on America: a Journalist and His Times. This former White House Press Secretary aptly describes why politics still matter:

America faces what scholar James Davidson Hunter describes as “the never ending work of democracy:” the tedious, hard, perplexing, messy, and seemingly endless task of working through what kind of people we are going to be and what kind of communities we will live in.  Politics is the work of democracy and it encompasses practically everything that we can and must do together:  how we educate our children, design our communities and neighborhoods, feed ourselves, and dispose of our waste, care for the sick, elderly and poor, relate to the natural world, entertain and enlighten ourselves, and defend ourselves.  It also affects what values we seek to defend, what roles we are chosen for us by virtue of our identity, and what roles we create for ourselves.

Politics matter.

Your vote matters.
Please, Vote.



Vote Kevin Dahle 2012