Rep. Jeff Backer (12A) – Legislative Update 2/14/15

Dear Neighbors,

Another week at the Capitol has come to a close. Much of legislators’ work has continued to take place in committee as only two bills have been voted on and passed by the entire House body. Nevertheless, there are still important things taking place in St. Paul.

Governor Gives Pay Raises to Political Appointees

Late last week, we found out that Governor Dayton handed out double-digit taxpayer-funded pay raises to members of his cabinet. Most of the governor’s cabinet were already receiving six-figure salaries. The pay raises range from 19% to 58% with one of the governor’s appointees receiving an $84,000 raise from his previous salary.

The governor was given the power to unilaterally hand out raises without approval from the legislature thanks to a law passed in 2013 by the DFL majority.

Most Minnesotans have not seen that sort of pay raise recently, if ever. It is troubling to think that the governor would use taxpayer money to give such generous raises to his political appointees.

My colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that your tax dollars are spent in a responsible manner and that the governor will not be able to unilaterally approve such lavish pay increases without legislative approval ever again.

Constituent Visits and Meetings

On Wednesday evening, I attended the annual MCCL legislative dinner. It was great to be a part of this event for a cause that is extremely important to me—protecting the unborn.

On Wednesday morning I attended a breakfast held by the Minnesota Association of Townships. Township boards are the building blocks of grassroots government. I was happy to talk to some township supervisors from district 12A.

This past Tuesday, I was fortunate to attend the MN Soybean Growers Association dinner reception. I was happy to visit with soybean farms from all over the state, including Dale Blume from the Herman area.

On Monday morning, on my way to St. Paul, I stopped by the Herman Legion where I met with about 35 Herman residents. We discussed a variety of issues including, roads, school, agriculture, and what we can do to grow business in Herman.

Grant County Engineer, Tracy Von Bargen, stopped by my office to discuss transportation needs for Grant County.

Big Stone County Engineer, Nick Anderson and Rep. Jeff Back

Big Stone County Engineer, Nick Anderson, came to St. Paul to share his thoughts on roads and bridges in Big Stone County and how we can address those needs. I agree we need to looking at the State of Minnesota putting a higher priority on roads and bridges in Greater Minnesota.

Douglas County Commissioner, Jim Stratton and Rep. Jeff Backer

Douglas County Commissioner, Jim Stratton, stopped by my office to discuss aquatic invasive species issues and pre-school education.

History of Traverse County Highlighted in Star Tribune

Last weekend, the Star Tribune ran an article that highlighted Traverse County and the history involved in establishing Wheaton as the county seat. You can read the article here.

Upcoming Town Hall Events

Sen. Westrom and I will be hosting a series of town halls on February 20th. We encourage all to attend these events and voice their questions, comments, or concerns on issues affecting our area and state.

8:30-9:15 am
Elbow Lake Library
117 Central Avenue
Elbow Lake, MN 56531

10:45-11:30 am
Breckenridge City Hall
Council Chamber
420 Nebraska Avenue,
Breckenridge, MN 56520

12:45-1:30 pm
Wheaton Library
901 1st Avenue North,
Wheaton, MN 56296

2:30-3:15 pm
Ortonville Library
412 2nd Street SW
Ortonville, MN 56278

4:45-5:30 pm
Morris Public Library
102 East 6th Street,
Morris, MN 56267

Staying in Touch

If you are planning on being in St. Paul this session, please feel free to contact my office by phone at 651-296-4929 or via email at to set up an appointment. I would love to meet with you and talk about ways we can make Minnesota better. Again, it is an honor and privilege to represent you and your family for the next two years. I am here to be YOUR voice in St. Paul and it is a responsibility that I take very seriously.

Thanks and talk to you soon,