Minnesota is moving in the direction of an economy that works for everyone. Middle class families have a better opportunity to live the American Dream than they did two years ago. There’s a lot more work to be done. Thanks to new policies enacted by the legislature, we’re getting closer to where we need to go.
By working together and across party lines in many instances, state lawmakers restored fiscal stability, made new investments in education, raised the minimum wage, improved laws to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work, made our tax system fairer, expanded access to affordable health care and made a down payment on long overdue improvements to our roads and bridges.
All of those accomplishments are an important departure from the previous decade when government avoided investments in our future. By restoring our commitment to providing high-quality services and ensuring a great quality of life, Minnesota is an even better place to live, work, raise a family and do business.
As we look to the future, we need to focus on ideas and policies that continue growing the middle class.
For example, we froze college tuition for two years and expanded financial aid, but the cost of a college degree is still beyond reach for too many Minnesotans. Many who do go to college are shackled with debt. College affordability and student debt relief must be priorities at the legislature over the next two years.
We made an important down payment on improving our roads and bridges, after years of neglecting our needs, there’s much more to do. Minnesotans deserve a transportation system that can handle the demands of a growing population and economic growth. People need to be able to safely get to and from work. Businesses need to be able to efficiently get their products and services to market. Building a world-class transportation system must be a priority.
We reduced the number of uninsured Minnesotans by nearly half and implemented basic consumer protections that prevent insurance companies from cancelling your coverage when you get sick. However, there are still less than five percent of Minnesotans lacking insurance. Achieving universal coverage must be a priority.
We still have more work to do to assure our waters are clean and safe for drinking and recreation.
We’ve seen employers add tens of thousands of jobs throughout our state, but we need to make sure every single Minnesotan can find a job that allows them to support themselves and their family to the fullest extent possible. Ensuring benefits for employees such as paid sick leave and paid parental leave must be top priorities.
The health of our democracy depends on a thriving, robust middle class. By continuing to focus on educational excellence, living wage jobs, universal, affordable health care, a clean environment and a safe, efficient transportation system, we can work together to build a thriving ‘middle-class economy’ that works for everyone.
If you want to read more about my work on the middle class agenda you can visit: here
Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield), serves Minnesota House District 20B. He can be reached by phone at (651) 296-0171, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by postal mail at 559 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.