Gov. Tim Walz announced last week a newly proposed comprehensive climate plan, visited nurses on picket lines, met with members of Taiwan’s agriculture industry to strengthen trade partnerships, announced appointments and received his updated bivalent COVID-19 booster at the state capitol.
On Sept. 16, Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan launched a comprehensive plan to protect the state’s environment and combat climate change. The administration says the plan was created with the input of thousands of businesses, conservationists and climate leaders. Called the Climate Action Framework, it promises to identify strategies to help Minnesotans avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“To maintain the things we love about Minnesota – our pristine lakes, incredible wilderness areas and state parks and outdoor economy – we need to act in a collaborative, bipartisan and forward-looking way,” said Walz. “That’s what this plan aims to do. With input from thousands of Minnesotans, this plan will mitigate the economic, health and environmental impacts of climate change to make Minnesota a great place to live for generations to come.”
On Sept. 11, Walz and Flanagan recognized the 21st anniversary of 9/11 and encouraged eligible veterans to apply for service bonuses made possible by legislation passed last session.
On Sept. 13, Walz and Flanagan visited nurses on the picket lines. According to chiefhealthcareexecutive.com, about 15,000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association walked off the job for three days last week. It was perhaps the largest private-sector nurses’ strike in the nation’s history. Nurses went on strike at 15 different hospitals. The nurses’ union is embroiled in contract disputes with seven different health systems that operate the hospitals.
Also on Sept. 13, Walz and Flanagan, along with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, invited young women and gender-expansive youth from across the state to apply for open positions with the Young Women’s Cabinet, which currently has 24 vacancies. According to the administration, young women and gender-expansive people between the ages of 16 and 24, especially those from underrepresented communities, are invited to apply. Applications are available through the Minnesota Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor and will be accepted through Tuesday, Oct. 4.
“It’s my honor to continue to elevate the leadership of young women across Minnesota,” said Walz. “Every young person in Minnesota deserves a bright future. Through this partnership, we center the leadership and solutions of young women in order to improve opportunities for young people, their families and their communities.”
The Young Women’s Cabinet is composed of 30 young people and youth leaders representing the following communities: African American, African Immigrant, American Indian, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Disabilities, Greater Minnesota, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+. The cabinet ensures that the efforts of the Young Women’s Initiative stay grounded in the lived experiences of young women and gender expansive youth.
During the week, Walz also authorized emergency assistance for 13 Minnesota counties due to damage caused by severe thunderstorms in two weather events which occurred in June and July. On June 20-24, Aitkin, Becker, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, Lac qui Parle, Mahnomen, Morrison, Norman, St. Louis and Todd counties experienced severe thunderstorms, which included damaging winds, heavy rain and flooding. On July 23, Houston and Renville counties experienced damages caused by severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, heavy rain and flooding.
On Sept. 14, the Commission on Judicial Selection announced that it was recommending three candidates for consideration to fill a vacancy in Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District. The vacancy occurred upon the retirement of the Honorable Charles C. Glasrud. The seat will be chambered in Morris in Stevens County. The three candidates included:
Jason Butts, currently the Breckenridge city attorney, since December 2021. Butts previously worked in private practice at Smith & Strege, Ltd. He also worked as a contracted public defender for the City of Wahpeton, North Dakota, and he has previously served on the Richland County Treatment Court. Butts serves on the board of the State Bar Association of North Dakota’s Lawyer Assistance Program, and he previously served on the association’s Board of Governors and Title Standards Committee. Butts is a former councilman for the City of Breckenridge.
Benjamin Pieh is the assistant public defender for the State of Minnesota, serving indigent clients across the Eighth Judicial District. He previously served as a law clerk for Judges Paul Nelson, Dwayne Knutsen and Thomas Van Hon in the Eighth Judicial District. Pieh chairs the 12th District Ethics Committee and serves as a board member for the Prairie Arts Chorale.
Benjamin Wilcox is a partner at Wilcox Law Office, P.A. He serves as the city attorney for Benson and Kerkhoven and as an assistant city attorney in Clontarf, Danvers, DeGraff, Holloway and Murdock. Wilcox serves as a board member for the Robert Sonsteng Foundation and the Southwest Initiative Foundation.
Also on Sept. 14, Walz announced that Minnesotans can now place a third order for four additional free at-home rapid tests through the state’s online ordering program. State residents who have previously ordered the full limit of eight tests from this program are now able to receive four additional tests per household at Order your free at-home rapid tests on mn.gov/covid19. Those who have not yet placed an order can receive up to twelve tests at once while supplies last. The federal government’s free at-home test program was suspended earlier this month.
On Sept. 15, Walz met with members of Taiwan’s agriculture industry to strengthen trade partnerships between Taiwan and Minnesota. Members of the Taiwanese agriculture industry and Minnesota corn and soybean association representatives signed letters of intent outlining Taiwan’s intended purchases of corn and soybean products from Minnesota suppliers. Walz signed as a witness to these agreements. The value of these purchases is estimated to be $2.7 billion in total. Earlier this month, Walz announced that exports of manufactured, agricultural and mining goods from Minnesota were valued at $6.7 billion in the second quarter of 2022, reaching the highest level on record. Minnesota exports grew 12 percent between the second quarters of 2021 and 2022.
On Sept. 16, Walz and Flanagan received their updated bivalent boosters at the state capitol.
Also on Sept. 16, Walz and Flanagan announced appointments to the Board of the Minnesota State Academies, Board of Optometry, Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board, Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commissions and Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) was awarded a $25 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund bridge improvements on I-90 in Austin.