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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Minnesota Legislature: Kiel likes bonding bill, worries about rural Minn.’s voice in St. Paul

  • Seeking a third term, she details areas she wants to focus on
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  •     Minnesota District 1B State Rep. Debra Kiel (R-Crookston) visited the Times office this week to discuss the recently wrapped up 2014 legislative session.    
        The capital investment/bonding bill came out to $846 million, which included $10 million for the University of Minnesota Crookston's new wellness center.    
        "Investing in a new, state-of-the-art wellness center will not only add to what the university has to offer, but it will also promote healthy living in the student body," said Kiel in an email.    
        While approved funding for projects in northwest Minnesota made Kiel happy, she worries that "metro legislators don't quite understand how rural Minnesota works."    
        "We need to work on a balanced approach for all of Minnesota, not necessarily 'one size fits all'," added Kiel.    
        One example she used was controlled day care services.     
        "The rules and regulations that day care providers have to abide by now can be detrimental for smaller communities," explained Kiel. "We have a lot of experienced providers who might find it difficult to keep up with all the changes. They might just end up getting out of the business all together."    
        Another example was MNsure.    
        "I'm disappointed that we didn't adapt more with MNcare," said Kiel. "There are people out there who are really confused about this new health care. Some people might not be going to the doctor when they need to now, haven't received a bill or are confused with their bill. There are those that lost good insurance coverage too."
        
    Future focus areas   
        Rep. Kiel will be running for another term with the Minnesota House of Representatives and she has a couple areas she would like to concentrate on in her campaign and, also, if she's re-elected to a third term.    
        "Agriculture is the second largest business in Minnesota," explained Kiel. "There are only six farmers in legislature and I'm the only female farmer. We need to make sure we are providing safe and secure food for our citizens, so agriculture is an important topic for me."    
        Assisted living for seniors is another hot topic for Kiel.    
        "We are seeing an expansion in Dementia units across the state," said Kiel. "I remember when my grandparents lived in an assisted living apartment on Woodland Avenue in Crookston. There are a lot of seniors out there that need assistance, but want to remain independent. We need to plan better for our seniors."    
    Page 2 of 2 -     Rep. Kiel will begin her town hall meetings tour starting next week in Erskine and Fertile. She will visit Crookston's City Hall on Friday, June 6 from 8-9 a.m. in the Council Chamber room.

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