Mr. Dahle Goes to St. Paul

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Let’s Reclaim Our Voice!

November 01, 2011 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 25

Just about a year from now, we will cast votes for the President, a U.S. Senator, numerous county and city offices, and a new Minnesota legislature.  I am announcing my plans to, once again, run for a seat in the Minnesota Senate.  This election is not about getting my “old seat back.”  This election is about reclaiming a voice for Senate District 25 and all Minnesotans.  The current party in power in the Minnesota legislature fails to listen.  This past summer’s government shutdown proved they are more concerned about their party platform than the constituents who elected them.  I worry about the tone of today’s politics and our basic priorities.

We talk about recession…yet ignore the needy

We talk about test scores…while ignoring educational funding.

We talk about wanting quality health care, yet over 400,000 Minnesotans go without.

We talk about local control, yet we starve our cities and counties.

We talk about Republicans and Democrats yet we forget about Minnesotans

I believe the basics include a job, a quality education, affordable college, a clean and healthy environment, equality for all, and a right to grow old with dignity.

We are facing a critical time in Minnesota.  We can no longer allow extreme political agendas to divide us — the success of our state and our communities depends on our ability to find common ground on many critical issues.

We can do this together.  When we stop working together… government ceases to work. Again, let’s make Minnesota proud!

Thank You for Your Support

December 01, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 25

I have received so many cards, letters, emails, and conversations on the street and by phone….from people who have wished me well and thanked me for serving and representing them these past 3 years. It has been a pleasure being your Senator. I never took such an important job for granted and I always kept my constituents’ interests close to heart. I thank you for allowing me such a fantastic opportunity. Have a joyous and happy holiday season.

Your Vote Matters

October 31, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 25

In a few days, voters will cast their votes for elected officials all across Minnesota.  I want to express my sincere thanks to the many voters across district 25 who have placed their confidence in me and the work I have done in the Minnesota legislature.  I have tried to run a dignified campaign, focusing on my own accomplishments and my solutions for a better Minnesota.

We are at the threshold of making an important decision that will impact generations to come.  That decision is whether we invest in humanity now for the benefit of the future…or do we invest in roadblocks and finger-pointing to satisfy a short-term political need?  Do we meet the challenges before us to create a greater Minnesota or do we leave it for our children to sort through the challenges ignored by their parent’s generation?

I believe in possibilities.  I believe together we can meet the challenges and maximize the opportunities that lay before us. What will break the people of District 25 and Minnesota is not adversity – we’ve been here before.  What will break our spirit is thinking that tomorrow is going to be just like yesterday. If we think that government cannot change that which is broken, we lose interest, we lose faith, we lose the people…but worst of all, we lose the future.

Thanks again for placing your confidence in me.  I want to continue to work with you as your Senator in the Minnesota legislature.  I appreciate your support and your vote on Tuesday November 2.

Investing in Minnesota

October 22, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Economy, Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 25, Le Sueur County, Rice County, Scott County, Sibley County

I received a call today from a man in LeSueur.  I had knocked on his door last weekend, and he told me he was fed up with the “crap” that the Republican Party was shoving in his mailbox and that I had his vote.  He was probably referring to the negative ads citing spending for gorilla cages, polar bears, or sculpture gardens, all part of a recent capital investment bill.  While I am not inclined to acknowledge what my opponents are up to, I will gladly provide some context to this piece of legislation.

The Senate’s version of the Capital Investment Bill is developed following hundreds of meetings that are held around the state.  By the time it is heard on the Senate floor, it is a wide-ranging piece of legislation, which includes investments in public infrastructure throughout Minnesota.  While it is easy to cherry-pick one or two items out of the hundreds included in these investment packages and criticize the vote, a look at the bigger picture reveals an investment in Minnesota while preserving past investments made by our citizens.

One could vote against the Como Zoo, the Ordway Theater and the sculpture garden in Minneapolis. But to do so, one would have to also vote against millions of dollars in investment for education, the environment, health care, our veterans, and the creation of more than 10,000 jobs.  In and near my own district, the bonding bill included money for parks and trails, the Minnesota Valley Regional rail line,  correctional facilities, and the deaf and blind academies.  I staunchly support job creation via projects like these, no matter where in Minnesota they are located.

Among the hundreds of other items included in the capital investment bills were funds for the U of M, our state colleges, flood prevention, financing for infrastructure in rural Minnesota, improvements for roads and bridges, early childhood facilities, RIM (Reinvest in Minnesota), and vital dollars for our veterans homes.  The Como Zoo project alone created more than 1,000 jobs.

When this bill was heard in the full Senate, I was part of a bipartisan landslide (57 ayes, 10 nays) that voted to pass it and send it to the Governor for his approval.  The debt service on the bonds for these projects was well within the limits set to maintain our AAA bond rating as a state.  With construction costs coming in under bid, interest rates at all time lows, this was the right time to invest in Minnesota and get people back to work.

I will continue to run a positive campaign and I will continue to welcome a phone call or two from my constituents who are ready to send me back to St. Paul.  I look forward to working with them and for them.

Special Session passes Flood Relief Bill

October 18, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Economy, Environment, Rice County, Transportation

On September 22, 2010, heavy rain across a wide swath of Southern Minnesota caused widespread flooding and property damage across 32 counties.  Federal disaster assistance is expected to cover 75% of the losses, dependent on the damage estimates completed by officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who were on site shortly after the disaster.

Residents and business leaders in the region have been quick to call for state assistance in getting this part of Minnesota on its feet again.  Most critical among the needs are road and bridge repair, school funding assistance to get displaced students back into class, and help for homeowners in need of shelter with winter fast approaching.

Also included in the legislation is language and funding to assist the North Central Minnesota community of Wadena, after a June 17, 2010 tornado caused extensive damage to a number of public facilities there, including the community center, school, and school district offices.

Officials from the House, Senate, Governor’s Office, and various state agencies have met over the course of the past week to craft a bill which provides some state assistance to help homeowners, business owners, and farmers recover, and assist communities and counties in repairing damaged infrastructure.

The bill includes $80.2 million in flood/tornado relief, and is targeted at specific agencies and areas, including public safety, transportation, natural resources, agriculture, employment and economic development, housing finance, education, and human services.  The money comes from the General Fund and some general obligation bonding dollars and trunk highway bonds.

Overall, the flood-relief sections of the bill contain $5 million from the Trunk Highway Fund, $32.5 million from the General Fund, $26 million from bond proceeds, and $10 million from the State Transportation Fund.  The $6.6 million in tornado relief comes in the form of $5.89 million from the General Fund and $750,000 from bond proceeds.

The Governor is expected to sign the bill later today.

Endorsements

October 14, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 25

I want to acknowledge some of the groups that have endorsed me for re-election to the Senate District 25 seat.  I appreciate their confidence in me and the work we have done.  I look forward to working with all of these groups and others as we finish out 2010.

2010 Endorsements – Senator Kevin Dahle SD 25

Clean Water Action

AFSCME Council 5

Sierra Club

Education Minnesota

Minnesota Nurses Association

IBEW

Conservation Minnesota

SEIU

Farmer’s Union Political Action Committee

Democratic Farmer’s Labor Party

United Transportation Union

Greater Minnesota AFSCME Council 65

Minnesota Chiropractic Political Action Committee

Governor calls Special Session

October 06, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Economy, Rice County

The Governor has called for a special session of the Minnesota legislature to be held Monday, October 11.  Governor Pawlenty and key legislators have noted that we are likely to use a similar approach as was taken in 2007 with the Rushford flood.  In that year, heavy rains in mid-August caused a rapid and dramatic rise of the Root River, and numerous homes, farms, and businesses in the Fillmore County community of roughly 2,000 were damaged.

Contained in that bill was a total of $146 million from the General Fund, the Petroleum Tank Clean-up Fund, the Trunk Highway Fund, bond proceeds, trunk highway bonds, and the State Transportation Fund.

Spelled out in the 2007 legislation were specific appropriations to flood relief, the departments of Public Safety, Transportation, Natural Resources, Employment and Economic Development, Education, Human Services, and Revenue, and the Board of Soil and Water Resources, the Pollution Control Agency, the Housing Finance Agency, and the Minnesota Historical Society,.  There was also money appropriated for bond sales.

Federal Emergency Management Agency have been assessing the damage to homes, farms, and businesses.  Governor Pawlenty has already asked President Obama to declare the region of southeastern Minnesota a disaster area.  The Governor said that there is $235 million available at the end of this biennium that could be used for the flood-relief efforts.  He also mentioned federal funding that was passed over this summer may be used for the 2010 relief efforts.

Last night, Representative Bly and I met with city officials to talk about the pending legislation.  We have been in discussion with city officials, business owners, and residents affected to ensure that the special session and legislation will be able to provide the assistance needed to get our community back on track.

Cannon River Floods

September 28, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Kevin Dahle MN Senate District 25

Northfield and several communities in Southern Minnesota experienced unprecedented flooding due to the heavy rains this past weekend. So many community members, college and high school students and staff, shop owners and neighbors, joined together to help where needed. Sandbagging, distributing food and water, moving furniture and goods… a real lesson in civic participation …people coming together to do their best to hold off Mother Nature. Unfortunately, the river found its way over and around many of the man-made barriers, creating its own path to the Mississippi river leaving several homes and businesses in ruins. The National Guard stepped in early and stayed through much of the cleanup…which continues. City councils, homeowners, and business owners are assessing the needs and deciding what the next step will be. Cities and counties have been declared disaster areas. FEMA is assessing the damages in homes and businesses town by town. Governor Pawlenty has called for a special session to be held sometime around October 7-12. We will do our best, appropriating federal and state funds, to help our citizens and communities get back on their feet.

Ag Forum

September 17, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Economy, Environment, Le Sueur County

This past Wednesday I was part of an Ag forum in New Prague to talk about Agriculture issues affecting District 25.  Independent candidate John Grimm and Republican candidate Al DeKruif were also present at the forum sponsored by LeSueur County Farm Bureau, Pork Producers, Corn and Soybean Producers, and the Dairy Industry.

I am proud of the work I have done for district 25 and greater Minnesota.  The Eminent Domain bill I authored in the Senate and eventually signed into law puts landowners and farmers on a much fairer playing field when dealing with the public utilities such as the CapX2020 project and the pipelines a few years ago.  It was a bipartisan effort that involved a lot of local citizens who have been directly affected by the Public Utility exemption in the past.

I was the chief author of the bonding bill that sent $5 million dollars to the Minnesota Prairie Line railroad, a short line rail that is vital to the ag industry on the western side of my district.

On a broader scale, I believe agriculture policies must be enacted to allow farmers to receive a fair price through open markets.  We need to create incentives and programs that encourage young people to become farmers.  It is critical to maintain Minnesota’s family farm system of agriculture.  Minnesota must be proactive in meeting the growing consumer demand for food that is family farm raised, locally grown, and identity preserved.  We need to promote farming that benefits the environment.  And finally, we need strong local communities that depend on strong local control.  We should protect rural democracy. Local governments must maintain the right to put in place and enforce local planning and zoning ordinances.

Roads, Rail, and the River

August 28, 2010 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Economy, Le Sueur County, Scott County, Transportation

This past Thursday, after a couple of hours greeting State Fair visitors from the Minnesota Senate booth, I headed south to Savage to step aboard a barge for a trip down the Minnesota and Mississippi River towards St. Paul.  The trip was sponsored by the Highway 169 Corridor Coalition as over 100 members made the 3 hour trip. We often think of the Hwy 169 corridor as roads and rail, but we cannot overlook the importance of the river in making this area a truly inter modal transportation network.

The 3 R’s (road, river, and rail) along Hwy 169 are economically vital for funneling freight into the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro Region from the Mankato area and southern Minnesota. This area produces almost half of Minnesota’s corn, soybeans and ethanol, which makes Minnesota third in the nation for production among all states. Other major commodities moving along this corridor include aggregates, clay and sand, hogs, manufactured goods and food products.  The corridor connects major producers of ethanol, biodiesel and their byproducts to markets and refiners along ‘ethanol alley,’ the southwest freight corridor formed by Highway 60 and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The Ports of Savage are important for grain exports via the Minnesota and Mississippi River systems, guaranteeing low-cost, competitive transportation to regional and world markets for Minnesota farmers. The corridor is expected to play a future role in expanding access from western Minnesota agricultural producers to the Ports of Savage via routes capable of bypassing Metro congestion.  This is good news for the communities in my district along the corridor as we work to put together a long range plan of maximizing economic development for the area.