State Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary’s Point, and Reps. Kathy Lohmer, R-Stillwater, and Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, participated in a town hall meeting at the Stillwater Public Library Monday evening. The legislators gave an update of the 2013 Session and answered questions from constituents.
Housley, a first-term legislator, highlighted her service on the Commerce Committee and gave a freshman member’s point of view of the session.
“I really enjoyed my first session, though at times, with an all-Democrat majority, it felt like we were playing a lot more defense than to sticking to the task at hand — which was protecting the pocketbooks of hardworking folks of Minnesota,” she said. “My priority was the people of this district and getting things done for them.”
Lohmer filled attendees in on the Affordable Health Care Act and the committees she serves on.
“I was appointed by DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen to the Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs,”she said. “This committee will examine drug abuse issues in Minnesota and will recommend policies to combat the spread of the sale of synthetic drugs across the state.”
Dettmer, a veteran lawmaker, said he focused during much of the session on veteran’s issues.
“With the help of legislators across the aisle, I looked into state policies and ways we can make life better for veterans living in our state. I authored and co-authored many veterans bills having to do with taxes, jobs and helping the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign,” said Dettmer.
All of the legislators mentioned the $2.1 billion of new taxes passed this session.
“All three of us voted no on new taxes for the people of Minnesota. Most Minnesotans are focused on common-sense solutions, but to pass a bill that allocates $90 million dollars to a brand new building just for senators is ridiculous. I think our veterans, our schools and our drug programs need that money more than we need a brand new office building in St. Paul,” Housley said.
“Everyone will be paying more for everything,” Dettmer said. “Groceries, medicine and gas will all cost more due to the warehousing tax. Your electric bills will be more because of additional mandates on utility companies and even your driver’s license will cost more due to increased fees.”
“I’ve already heard from local businesses and friends ready to leave the state because of our tax increases — increases on veteran pensions, increases on income tax and increases on sales and gift tax,” Lohmer added. “Our neighboring states are gaining more from our tax increases than we are. Our residents are relocating.”
The event wrapped up with a question-and-answer period in which the moderator, Kevin Magnuson, was able to keep things flowing and got all questions answered. The legislative update event will be re-broadcast on Valley Access Cable.
Constituents wishing to find out more information about upcoming public events in the area can contact Libbie Krueger by phone at 651-296-4351.