Message from the Council Chair

A unified conclusion to a divided legislative session

May 2019

Minnesota has a unique distinction. For the first time in more than 100 years, Minnesota is one of the only states in the nation with divided government. Amidst these differences, Governor Tim Walz stuck to his promise of One Minnesota and ended the session with a bipartisan budget agreement.

Council Chair Nora SlawikTo do that required compromise. And a commitment to servant leadership that prioritizes enriching the lives of people.

It means that no one got everything they wanted. But I am proud of the progress we made in building a prosperous, thriving, and equitable region.

We prioritized people with disabilities by ensuring Metro Mobility will have its own line item in future budget. As demand for Metro Mobility grows, this change will ensure that Metro Mobility doesn’t compete for funding with regular route transit. We also secured additional one-time funding for Metro Mobility to meet the growing demand. Further, more people who need the services will be able to access it, as the legislature approved expanding Metro Mobility service to Lakeville.

We weren’t successful in our push for new transit funding; and while I’m disappointed, I know we continue to see growing, bipartisan agreement on the need to invest new funding into our regional transit system. Despite a lack of new state funding, thanks to our partners at Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Dakota, and Anoka counties, as well as the federal government, we continue to make some progress on building out the regional system we need to remain economically competitive.

We also saw progress for our region’s park system and water supply, including increased funding to support regional park implementing agencies and projects that address emerging threats to drinking water supply.

This is the type of progress we make when we come together as One Minnesota: a result that will improve the lives of all Minnesotans.

I appreciate the commitment to compromise our Governor and legislative leaders demonstrated, and I look forward to continued partnership on making our region a prosperous one.