Jan 30

Great Conversation at our Oakdale Town Hall

More than 40 people were able to attend our  town hall on Saturday, January 25 at Oakdale City Hall. The town hall meeting provided an open forum for constituents to ask questions and voice concerns about the 2014 legislative session.

Town hall meetings provide an important listening session for legislators to learn more about Oakdale residents’ priorities and help us be more responsive to our communities needs. It’s an impressive testament to our community that so many people came out on a cold Saturday morning and participated in conversations about issues that matter.

I was joined by my colleagues in the Oakdale delegation Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL – Maplewood), Representative JoAnn Ward (DFL – Woodbury) and Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL – North St. Paul) as well as Oakdale City Council members Stan Karwoski and Kent Dotas.

The forum was a great place for discussion on a wide range of issues including east metro transportation, MNsure, potential anti-bullying legislation and the minimum wage.

I’m heartened by what Oakdale City Council Member Stan Karwoski said about the event:

“I was impressed by the civility of the town hall, the quality of the questions asked and the focus on how we can work together to get things done. Each senator and representative did a good job of taking turns to answer questions in their area of expertise.”

The variety of questions gave each member an opportunity to engage with constituents on what we have been able to accomplish as a group, with a focus on what can be done in the future.

I’m grateful to be part of such a dedicated team as the Oakdale delegation. It’s clear we work well together on successful projects such as the business redevelopment of Tanners Lake and the Oakdale Mall. I’m excited about our future progress.

As we look towards 2014 a major focus of the session will be the bonding bill with approximately $1 billion worth of capital investments in state assets and infrastructure. One critical piece of the bill under consideration is funding for the next stage of the Gateway Corridor, a major project for the east metro.

I will be pushing for the $5 million needed to move the project forward. Progress on Gateway will be a major step toward a region-wide transportation system that will support and improve the metro’s economic vitality.

While the 2014 session will certainly focus on bonding, other important legislation will also be considered. Area resident’s questions and concerns from the town hall meeting will help shape the legislative agenda.

It is important the conversations we had at the Saturday town hall meeting continue. I encourage anyone who has concerns or questions to contact me. The more engaged people are in the process, the better job I can do as a legislator.

For any questions or comments on this or any legislation, please contact my office by phone at 651-296-4166 or by email at sen.susan.kent@senate.mn.

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