News from Representative Tom Emmer
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Dear Friend,

September marks a time to recognize the importance of mental health. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and we should take this opportunity to lend a helping hand to those in our community who need it the most. Every year, 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental health condition. Thousands suffer every day, and much of it goes unnoticed and untreated.

We need to start prioritizing our mental health in the same way we do our physical health. During my time in Congress, I have made it a priority to make sure those suffering with mental illness receive the resources and care they deserve. I am committed to turning the tide on the unacceptably high rates of suicide in our country. This year has presented new challenges for all Americans with the Coronavirus pandemic and focusing on our mental health care is more important than ever before.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24/7 by calling: 1-800-273-8255 or vising this website.

Read on to learn more about my work to increase mental health access…


My Commitment to Ensuring Mental Health Access

Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for the loss of more than 43,000 American lives each year. In Minnesota suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34. No one is immune from mental illness, and I am dedicated to ensuring access for all who require care to maintain their mental health.

Earlier this year, I ensured funding for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) to give states vital resources to provide mental health services for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Suicides within agricultural and rural communities are rising due to lack of mental health care and work-related stress. They have suffered in silence for far too long, but help is on the way.

I also introduced the Expanding Access to Inpatient Mental Health Act, which would eliminate a loophole that limits mental health treatment and harms facilities that help provide it. While the reduction in the number of beds for psychiatric care started as a well-intentioned response to mass institutionalization, it has led to mental health providers being routinely ill-equipped to serve those in need. Under current law, some patients can be forced out of psychiatric facilities, called Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD), for days at a time, with the individuals needs left unmet. This legislation would eliminate the arbitrary 15-day cap for individuals who need to stay longer to receive life-saving care. Read my op-ed for the Star Tribune to learn more.

This month, during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I hope you will remain vigilant about checking on loved ones, sharing resources, and ensuring those around us know that they are not alone.  If you have an idea for how Congress can help tackle the mental health crisis in our state and in our nation, you can share it with me here. I will continue to do what I can to make resources like the ones below available to everyone struggling with mental illness, depression, or thoughts of suicide.

Mental Health Resources: 

  • If you are in need, visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website here for help.
  • Know the warning signs, risk factors and ways to prevent suicide by visiting here
  • For resources related to mental health care during the Coronavirus pandemic, visit my COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Page here.

Crisis Resources:

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255).
  • If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

Remembering and Honoring the McDonald Farm

Recently, I visited the McDonald Farm in Annandale, which has been feeding Minnesotans since 1859. Currently, the McDonald family has rented the farm to a neighboring farm operation, where the farm continues to serve the community as it has for over a century.

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Congressman Emmer learning about the McDonald Farm.

This farm’s original owner was Daniel McDonald, who emigrated to the United States from Scotland. He fought in the Civil War and returned to Minnesota after his service. He farmed the land in Annandale, and then passed it on to his son Joseph.

Ruth Mcdonald Ziedler currently owns this land, the great, great, granddaughter of Daniel McDonald. The family has kept his legacy alive and ensured this land continued to produce wheat, corn, alfalfa, and soybeans that help feed Americans and the world.

Farms like the McDonald Farm are the backbone of our nation’s food supply, and the Coronavirus pandemic has made life more difficult for these farm families. I was glad to see the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) was launched to assist farmers, producers and ranchers. Read more about CFAP and apply below.

ATTENTION: For agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers facing untold losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program was designed to assist you. The application deadline was recently extended until September 11, 2020. Learn more here


Back to Work Child Care Grants Act

A critical component of getting all Americans back to work is finding safe and affordable childcare. It has been reported that 60 percent of childcare centers closed during the COVID-19 outbreak. What’s worse, a third of the childcare workforce lost their jobs. We must do everything in our power to make sure American men and women can find care for their children.

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That’s why I became a cosponsor of the Back to Work Child Care Grants Act. This important bill would allow nine months of childcare assistance for providers to re-open and stay open. While state and local guidelines would be followed, this bill would help ensure more affordable and accessible childcare around the country.

Read more about the bill here.


Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

This month, we recognize Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. As the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s presents a significant challenge that our nation must address.

With more than five million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s, and statistics showing that rates of diagnosis are rapidly increasing, we must invest in a cure. It is estimated that by 2050, the number of people sixty-five years and older with Alzheimer’s will triple. This disease is relentless and its grip on our seniors is deadly. In addition, we do not know nearly enough about this disease, which makes a cure difficult to develop.

When I came to Congress, I knew that Alzheimer’s was a devastating disease. However, it wasn’t until I met a Sixth District resident and Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador, Kanada Yazbek, who struggles with early onset Alzheimer’s, that I was struck by the difficulties this disease presents.

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Rep. Emmer with Kanada Yazbek and her partner John at a Senior Forum hosted by Rep. Emmer in June of 2019.

Due to the advocacy of Kanada and the importance of finding a cure, I have consistently supported funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). During the last fiscal year, Congress provided an additional $425 million in Alzheimer’s research funding.

The NIH is developing a National Alzheimer’s Plan: an effort to establish timelines and milestones for research and prevention goals, including effective treatment of Alzheimer’s by 2025. This effort could save $220 billion and reduce the number of those afflicted by 5.7 million by 2050.

I was proud to co-sponsor the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act, which would ensure support services that are critically important for those living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s could access programs under the Older Americans Act to improve quality of life.

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I also co-sponsored the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, which would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct outreach to health care practitioners regarding comprehensive care planning services that are available under Medicare for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. I will continue to fight for a cure and the funding necessary to stamp out this horrible disease.


Connecting with Local Broadcasters

Last week, I met with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association’s advocacy committee to hear firsthand accounts of how the Coronavirus has impacted their businesses and their ability to deliver you the news you need.

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Rep. Emmer meeting with the Minnesota Broadcaster Association. 

Earlier this year, I launched the Congressional Broadcasters Caucus. As many of you know, I used to be on the radio on KTLK. I have seen firsthand the impact that local broadcast media can have on the community. I created the caucus with my experience in mind.

I know how local radio and television impact the lives of my fellow Minnesotans every day. They go to their local trusted radio and television stations to get the news that matters most to them. I wanted to advocate for local radio and television stations and issues facing broadcast journalism in all its forms.

Since these broadcasters connect you with your community, and provide critical local news and updates, I am committed to ensuring they can carry out this important mission.

Read more about the Congressional Broadcasters Caucus on my website here.


Resources for Small Businesses

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has taken important strides to support our nations businesses facing difficulties and closures. Our SBA Minnesota District Office has been a shining example of how this agency has assisted during this difficult time. They are now hosting a series of virtual trainings to assist small businesses. Learn more below!

Upcoming Sessions:
  • SBA Minnesota Civil Unrest Disaster Assistance Training, September 1, 6 PM; Register.
  • More trainings can be found here.
For more information on SBA programs for the coronavirus, please visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus. Sign up to get SBA updates here: sba.gov/updates.

Until next week, if you are in need of assistance or would like to share your thoughts with me, please write me an e-mail here.

To keep up with what we’re doing in Washington, follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!

Sincerely,
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