One of the most common concerns I hear from constituents is about the extreme partisanship of party politics in Washington, D.C. and St. Paul.

Recently, Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) and I introduced a bipartisan Purple Caucus that we will be co-chairing.

The idea of the purple caucus is to bring together members from both political parties to work toward positive solutions for the state of Minnesota.

This will provide members from both political parties an opportunity to bring forward and discuss ideas in a non-polarized venue.

Several controversial issues have been brought forward this session that are very divisive. The intent of the purple caucus is not to focus on issues that divide Minnesotans, but rather focus on issues that unite Minnesotans. I anticipate our discussions will focus on the budget, jobs and the economy.

Visits from local groups

Thank you to everyone who came to visit last week: Houston, Fillmore and Winona counties' Farm Bureaus, Winona and Fillmore counties Soil and Water Conservation Land Stewardship Project, and individuals representing private colleges, the retailers association, dentists and Mayo Clinic Health Systems.

Visit to Winona foodshare

On Friday, March 1, I was honored to participate in the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign kickoff event at Winona Volunteer Services. The food drive is the largest in the state and uniquely Minnesotan.

It was a great opportunity to tour Winona Volunteer Services facilities. If you are interested in organizing your own campaign or would like to donate, visit Winona Volunteer Services at

As always, you are key to helping me understand the issues that affect you. I welcome and encourage you to get in touch with me and share your input, comments and concerns at (651) 296-5649 or email