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News


05/04/2017

STAFF MEMBERS OF FIRST DISTRICT U.S. REPRESENTATIVE TIM WALZ WERE IN FAIRMONT ON WEDNESDAY. THEY WERE IN THE AREA TO HOLD A DISCUSSION AND HEAR FIRST HAND THE THOUGHTS AND IDEAS ABOUT HOW REP. WALZ CAN CONTINUE TO ADVOCATE FOR IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA.

THE FIRST TOPIC TOSSED OUT WAS JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AREA-BUT THAT SOON TURNED TO TALK ABOUT THE LACK OF WORKERS TO FILL JOB NEEDS IN THE THIS PART OF THE STATE. THE GROUP OF CONSTITUENTS RANGED FROM CITY, COUNTY, STATE EMPLOYEES TO LEADERS IN EDUCATION, AGRICULTURE, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, VETERANS SERVICE AND HEALTH CARE PLUS A COUPLE OF FAIRMONT HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.

THE THOUGHT ON WORKFORCE SHORTAGE WAS THAT THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH BESIDES JOBS TO KEEP PEOPLE HERE AND THAT THE TREND A COUPLE OF DECADES AGO WAS THAT EVERYBODY NEEDED A COLLEGE EDUCATION TO GET A GOOD JOB. NOW THE NEED IS FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES TO BUILD THE WORKFORCE WITH HIGHER PAYING JOBS.

THE TOPIC SWITCHED TO HEALTH CARE AND THAT TOOK THE MAJORITY OF THE DISCUSSION TIME AS DISCUSSION WENT BACK AND FORTH ABOUT THE BEST WAY TO MAKE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR THE MOST PEOPLE. THE QUESTION WAS ASKED IF HEALTHCARE WAS A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE TO U.S. CITIZENS AND SHOW OF HANDS LEANED TOWARD IT BEING A RIGHT. SOLUTIONS RANGED FROM A LARGER RISK POOL TO SINGLE PAYER FORM OF HEALTH CARE PLUS PROMOTING HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAMS FOR EMPLOYEES AT WORK. MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS CAME UP FOR DISCUSSION AND THE OVERRIDING THOUGHT THERE WAS MORE FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDING TO BRING BACK MORE STATE MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS TO TAKE AWAY THE BURDEN FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT, HEALTH CARE FACILITIES, THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.

EDUCATORS PRESENT MENTIONED THAT THE TOP THREE CONTRIBUTORS TO AT RISK STUDENTS ARE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY AND FAMILY LIFE SITUATION.

CONGRESSMAN TIM WALZ IN THESE ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS IN VARIOUS COMMUNITIES WAS TO REACH OUT TO LOCAL LEADERS ON FEDERAL ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT THEM AND THEIR COMMUNITIES THAT COULD BE ACTED ON IN THE NEXT 18 MONTHS. MR. WALZ WAS UNABLE TO APPEAR IN PERSON DUE TO HIS BEING IN WASHINGTON, D.C. WHERE CONGRESS IS FACING SOME IMPORTANT VOTES THIS WEEK.


ROD HALVORSEN
© 2015 KSUM KFMC


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