By Rep. Duane Sauke, District 25B
Serving as a freshman legislator on the House Capital Investment Committee has been both eye-opening and infuriating. I ran for office on a pledge to put my skills into action and get results. During the campaign, I walked my district three times. The message I received from voters in Rochester was loud and clear. Everyone said, DFL and GOP constituents alike, no more excuses. Go to Saint Paul, and get the job done on a bonding bill.
It seemed obvious that the House Capital Investment committee would start the 2017 legislative session with an updated version of the bonding bill from last session. Though it failed, it had passed both the House and the Senate. To their credit this year, both Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Senate moved swiftly with early bills that mostly mirrored last year’s failed proposal. On March 13th, the House DFL introduced an updated version of last year’s bonding bill (HF 2384) of which I am a co-author. HF 2384 was referred to the House Capital Investment Committee and remains there.
This session, the House Capital Investment Committee has met a total of nine times. Nine. That’s not a lot when so much is on the line. It’s not accidental. It’s an overt display of power management. Every day that passes makes it more likely that the 2017 bonding bill will be a bargaining chip in end-of-session negotiations. It’s an approach that failed last time and will again this session unless we directly address the unfinished business from last year.
The solution is evident. Start with an updated version of last year’s bill and build consensus. It is right there in our midst, and delaying for political purposes will lead our state down the same unsuccessful path as last year.
The voters demand better. I demand better as their elected representative. Whose voice will be heard? I encourage every Minnesotan to get involved and contact their elected representatives. No more excuses. We’re in Saint Paul, and we must get the job done on a bonding bill.
– Rep. Duane Sauke
This article was originally published in the Fergus Falls Journal on April 7, 2017.