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Minding the Skills Gap

As you have likely heard me mention, manufacturing is one of the two main drivers of our economy here in Minnesota’s Sixth District. My staff and I interact with manufacturers from our district every week. One thing we constantly hear is concern about the ability to fill vacant positions, particularly when it comes to skilled production work.

Somehow, we have gotten to this place where most American students think the only path forward in life or the only way to be deemed “successful” is to go to a four-year university. With this mindset, kids graduating high school are seemingly avoiding two-year colleges, tech schools, union apprenticeships, or other training much to the detriment of the crucial trades that keep our country’s economy humming.
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Big Things Happening in Washington D.C.

Last week was a busy week in Washington, D.C. While the daily news may lead you to believe otherwise, there was certainly more going on in our nation’s capital than the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey. In fact, there were big things happening.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a major financial reform package called the Financial CHOICE Act. This legislation aims to overhaul Dodd-Frank, which was enacted seven years ago. While we can all agree something needed to be done after the financial crash in 2008, what we got was a one-size-fits-all, top-down regulatory regime stifling community banks and credit unions, hurting consumers, and damaging Main Street America. In total, Dodd-Frank handed down nearly 30,000 new regulations that account for almost $40 billion in compliance costs for our financial services industry – costs that have been handed down to you and me. Dodd-Frank wasn’t fixing things; instead, it was making them worse.

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Got Dairy? Minnesota Does!

Most Minnesotans know that our agriculture industry is a huge part of who we are as a state. In much of Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District you typically don’t have to drive more than five minutes or so to pass a farm of some sort. We are the third largest pork producing state, are ranked fourth nationally in soybean exports, and are among the top ten exporters of dairy.

The men and women who work on our farms are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. Often getting up before dawn, working through dismal weather conditions, and rarely taking vacations, our farmers provide nutritious food, good jobs, and necessary revenue to our economy.

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A Sacrifice Not In Vain

This weekend is a special one surrounding a special day: Memorial Day. It is a weekend for us to remember the many brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and liberties. It is a weekend for Americans to show our gratitude to the lives lost defending this great nation and the principles for which we stand.

President George W. Bush once said something that encapsulates this holiday best:

“Their sacrifice was great, but not in vain. All Americans and every free nation on earth can trace their liberty to the white markers of places like Arlington National Cemetery. And may God keep us ever grateful.”

As you enjoy the weekend with your loved ones, be sure to remember what this weekend is truly about. We have so much to be grateful for and celebrate.  Here’s to a wonderful Memorial Day weekend to you!

Investing in Efficiency and Safety

Transportation infrastructure is a crucial component for the future success of our great state of Minnesota and this country as a whole. It has been one of my top priorities since being elected and will remain so. Last week, we celebrated Infrastructure Week to emphasize the critical need to invest in our failing infrastructure throughout the United States.

Investing in infrastructure provides good-paying, long-term jobs and increases the revenue and tax dollars being brought in at both the state and federal levels. It also reduces congestion, improves efficiency and brings numerous other benefits to the American people. Read More