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Minnesota Legislative Special Session on Pause

Late last week, news broke that negotiations for a special session between legislative leaders and Governor Walz have stalled. For now, there will be no special session to address deep needs across the state for taxes, public projects, education, public safety and health and human services.

Especially disappointing, this includes providing permanent funding for Minnesota's aging services caregivers at a time of deep financial strain on our sector driven by a pervasive workforce shortage of 23,000 open positions.

We join the thousands of stakeholders shocked that politicians are willing to leave so much unfinished, particularly for long-term care workers who have carried the burden of the pandemic over the last two years. However, we should remain proud of our effort to reach lawmakers during the 2022 session: Over 11,000 contacts from LeadingAge advocates were sent to Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan and the legislature this spring. We had news and media coverage in print (Star Tribune, Mankato Free Press, MPR, Edina Sun Current, Duluth News Tribune) and on TV across the state (Almanac, KAAL-TV). Even now, legislators continue to field questions from the press on what they will do about 450 settings at risk of closure.

Where do we go from here? First, LeadingAge Minnesota continues to engage with lawmakers to bring the back to the table; time is of the essence for our caregivers and our settings.

More than that, though: we move forward. Fifty-one legislators retired this year, representing over 500 years of cumulative experience. Between retirements and incumbents who may not win re-election bids, up to one-third of state lawmakers coming to St. Paul could be new. Add to that new district lines after the once-a-decade redistricting process.

We must look forward and build champions for seniors and aging services, and we do so by engaging with candidates who will be on the ballot in November. These candidates must know us and see us as a vital part of their districts. Stay connected to LeadingAge Minnesota. We will be producing voter education and candidate education toolkits for members to leverage over the 2022 election season.

In the meantime, if you'd like to submit a letter to the editor expressing your disappointment to your local paper, we have samples  you can consider personalizing. Be sure to consider your local paper's submission requirements like word count limits and the deadline when submitting. You can also reach out to Libbie Chapuran, Director of Communications, for assistance with placement.

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