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State Relations UPDATES

November 20, 2015

Greater Minnesota outreach visits continue

Over the past four months, University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler and University leaders traveled across Greater Minnesota to raise awareness of the University's statewide impact. Read the press release on the visits.

President Kaler's most recent visits were to Northeast and West Central Minnesota. In Hibbing, President Kaler and Dean Leon Assael met with Senator David Tomassoni to showcase the partnership between the University and Hibbing Community College in providing a training location for forth year dental students. President Kaler also met with Representative Jennifer Schultz at the Duluth campus; Representative Mary Franson and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen in Alexandria; Representative Paul Anderson in Starbuck; Senator Torrey Westrom and Representative Jeff Backer in Morris; and Representative Jim Knoblach in St. Cloud.

President Kaler presents capital request to Minnesota Management and Budget

On Monday, October 26, President Kaler presented the University's 2016 capital request to Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner Myron Frans and members of his executive budget team. This meeting marked the beginning of the bonding bill process, providing an opportunity for the University to present its pressing capital needs, from which the agency will make its recommendations to the governor.

Throughout the summer and fall, President Kaler and other University leaders have presented the capital request to legislators, staff, and stakeholders. The governor is required to release his 2016 bonding recommendations to the Legislature by January 15. The Legislature reconvenes on March 8.

Senate staff visit the Twin Cities campus

On October 27, Minnesota Senate staff visited the Visible Heart Lab to learn more about University research. Dr. Paul Iaizzo, director of the lab, and his research students showed their current experiments, which explore topics such as pericardial delivery of various drugs to minimize arrhythmias, new prototype devices, and new procedures for implantation.

Peggy Flanagan elected to House, Senator Barb Goodwin and Representative Ann Lenczewski announce retirements

Peggy Flanagan elected to House, Senator Barb Goodwin and Representative Ann Lenczewski announce retirements

On Tuesday, November 3, a special election was held to fill the House seat left vacant by former Representative Ryan Winkler. Peggy Flanagan (DFL) won with 96.4 percent of the vote. Representative Flanagan has a bachelor of arts degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota and works in nonprofit management.

Senator Barb Goodwin (DFL) of Columbia Heights announced that she would not seek re-election. She will finish out her second term as vice chair of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Judiciary Budget Division.

Representative Ann Lenczewski (DFL) of Bloomington announced that she will retire from the Legislature likely in December. She served nine terms and was the DFL lead on the House Taxes Committee.

They join Senator Dave Brown, Senator Julianne Ortman, and Representative Kim Norton, who have already announced they will not seek re-election.


OCtober 20, 2015

Board approves 2016 Capital Request

On October 8, the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents voted to approve President Kaler's proposed capital request plan for the 2016 legislative session. The request includes six projects: Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR); Duluth Chemistry and Advanced Materials Sciences Building; Health Sciences Education Facility; Plant Growth Research Facility; Academic and Student Experience Investments; and Pillsbury Hall Renovation. Governor Dayton will make his bonding bill project recommendations in January, and the Minnesota Legislature will begin preparing its bonding bills when it reconvenes on March 8, 2016.

Read a summary of each of the six projects.

Bonding tours are underway

Both the House and Senate capital investment committees, as well as officials with Minnesota Management and Budget and the Governor's Office, have spent the last several weeks touring bonding project proposals throughout Minnesota. These tours have included several stops at University of Minnesota campuses, allowing the University to show firsthand the importance of its 2016 capital request.

The following tours have taken place:

The Senate Capital Investment Committee will tour projects on the Twin Cities campus on December 15.

Greater Minnesota legislative outreach

This summer and fall, President Kaler and University leaders have traveled to legislative districts across Greater Minnesota in an effort to raise awareness of the University of Minnesota's statewide impact. During these trips, the president has met with legislators, alumni, and community members to foster connections and learn how the University can better serve these communities. To date, visits have included stops in Duluth, Winona, Crookston, Willmar, Morris, Austin, and Albert Lea. The president will visit Willmar, Marshall, Alexandria, Morris, and St. Cloud in the coming weeks.

Additional campus visits

The Office of Government and Community Relations hosted several campus visits for legislators and staff throughout the summer and fall. The purpose of these visits is for participants to learn more about the work of the University and interact with University faculty, leaders, and students.

The first of the visits, on August 12, focused on the health sciences. Legislative staff visited the Community University Health Care Clinic; the Stem Cell Institute; the Clinical and Translational Science Institute Van; the School of Dentistry Simulation Lab, where they were able to drill on artificial teeth; and finally the Visible Heart Lab, where they could hold a 3D-printed heart.

The second visit, on September 9, highlighted Twin Cities campus facilities in St. Paul. Legislative staff received a tour of the Veterinary Medical Center, the Vet Diagnostic Lab, the Vet Isolation Labs, and the Aquaponics Research Space and ended at The Raptor Center.

On September 29, state legislators from the committees on higher education and health and human services visited the Medical School for an event titled "Project Medical Education." Legislators were invited to step into the shoes of a medical student by learning about the admissions process, participating in a mock white coat ceremony, learning about the curriculum and training in the first four years, and continuing on to residency where they shadowed a medical school student and resident on hospital rounds.

On October 6, legislative staff visited the Duluth campus. They toured the campus, participated in a virtual reality classroom experiment, and visited the NRRI facility.

The Legislative Action Network at the State Fair

The Office of Government and Community Relations hosted a Legislative Action Network booth for four days at the State Fair this year. Over 300 people signed up to join the Legislative Action Network, so they can receive action alerts to show support for the University at the Minnesota Legislature.