By Michele Bachmann
As 2013 draws to a close and Minnesotans ring in the New Year, let’s take a moment to look back on all that happened over the past 12 months.
It is a true honor to represent Minnesota’s Sixth District, and I spent the year crisscrossing Central Minnesota meeting with constituents, listening to their comments and concerns, and answering their questions.
I enjoyed holding Coffee with Your Congresswoman events in every corner of the district — from the Matthews Family Restaurant in Circle Pines to the Caribou Coffee in St. Cloud to the Egg-cetera Café in Waconia and towns in between. Held in local coffee shops and diners, they were a great opportunity for informal conversation with constituents about the top issues of the day.
In 2013, my casework staff helped our disabled veterans cut through the VA backlog and get the benefits they’ve been promised, assisted with the immigration and naturalization process, and ensured our seniors receive Medicare and Social Security. In total, more than 300 constituents were helped through specific casework needs.
My Minnesota staff and I organized or attended more than 700 meetings with teachers, business owners, community organizations, law enforcement, elected officials and others from across the Sixth District.
Each day my office receives feedback by phone call, letter, and email, and every constituent who writes in hears back from me. To date, more than 20,000 responses have been sent to constituents.
And thanks to telephone town halls, more than 30,000 constituents across the district had the opportunity to ask me questions on the topics that mattered most to them and their families.
One of the most important tasks of a legislator is to respond to the issues their constituents find most important. For the Sixth District, the expansion of the I-94 corridor was a top priority to ease congestion, enhance safety and grow our economy.
At the beginning of the year, I brought together a bipartisan group of legislators, business owners, mayors, and community leaders to hold a press conference at the State Capitol highlighting the need to expand I-94 from Rogers to St. Cloud. In November, I was thrilled when Governor Dayton announced, that using the Corridors of Commerce funds, a down payment on this expansion became a reality.
Construction on another important local transportation project — the St. Croix River Crossing — began this year. In May, I was honored to join other Minnesota and Wisconsin leaders to break ground on this vital new project to relieve congestion and improve interstate commerce. I met with the project managers in December, and I am happy to report that everything is currently within budget and on-schedule.
And when the St. Cloud and Anoka-Blaine Regional Airports were notified that their contract towers were slated for closure, I urged the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider, and worked to advance legislation that reversed the FAA’s decision and kept our air transportation system operating safely.
On a national level, the House of Representatives spent 2013 focused on passing free-market bills on job-creation, energy production, education, agriculture, and more.
Obamacare’s numerous failures and broken promises also took center stage, and my bill to repeal the President’s healthcare law passed the House in May. With each passing day the Obamacare train wreck keeps unraveling, and we must continue fighting to scrap this government takeover and replace it with patient-centered, market-oriented solutions.
As the New Year rolls around, we still have plenty of work to do, but I am optimistic about what the future holds.
While I am not running for re-election in 2014, I am committed to working harder than ever this year to represent the great people of Minnesota’s Sixth District and help create a better future for our children and grandchildren.