News from Representative Tom Emmer
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Dear Friend,

Welp, there goes fall – it was great while it lasted! As the snow resumes and the roads get slick, I hope you and your family remain safe during the winter conditions. Over the last week, my team and I have remained hard at work to protect Minnesota’s seniors, secure drug free communities, foster youth sports, and raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. Read on to learn more!


Protecting Aging Americans

During this public health crisis, our seniors have suffered immensely. Senior living communities tried to protect their residents by keeping visitors out and enhancing personal protective equipment and safety measures. However, due to the spread of the virus, our aging citizens are still at risk.

These facilities have estimated a total loss of $15 billion. In many cases, this is due to the sharp decline in occupancy rate. However, these facilities have only received 1.7% of the original Provider Relief Funds available, while hospitals and nursing homes have received 83%.

In order to support the 908 senior living facilities and their residents in Minnesota, I wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urging the Administration to use unallocated funds from the Provider Relief Fund to provide Assisted Living Facilities support to procure wide-spread testing and personal protective equipment for residents and staff. Their ability to administer long-term rapid-testing and future vaccinations has become nearly impossible with the current losses.

Read the letter here.


Ensuring Drug Free Communities

One of the ways Congress can help our communities is by keeping them safe and healthy. One way to do that is by keeping our youth drug and substance free. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control invested $125,000 through its Drug Free Communities (DFC) program for the Sherburne County Substance Use Prevention Coalition.

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The coalition will use the funds to assist in their mission to prevent youth substance use and abuse. Far too often we see our young people struggling with prescription drugs, vaping, alcohol, or other dangerous substances – as a community, we are called to support and guide them to overcome these struggles. I have long supported funding for drug courts to ensure those struggling with drug abuse get the help and treatment they need to recover. I am pleased to see this great investment in our community’s future.

Read more about this important announcement here.


Supporting Youth Sports

As a father of seven and a former hockey coach, I have seen the incredible impact youth sports can have in the development of our children. As a Representative from the State of Hockey, and a member of the Congressional Hockey Caucus, I am committed to ensuring our youth can get back to the games they love and the teammates they miss.

Earlier this year, I wrote to Congressional leadership to request further funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to support institutions that allow for the flourishing of youth sports. They have been dramatically disrupted by this crisis, and as a result, many organizations will be closed permanently or face bankruptcy unless they receive financial assistance. Countless lives have been changed by youth sports, and they’ll be needed long after this crisis subsides.

Last week, I also joined the Congressional Youth Sports Caucus to continue to find ways to collaborate with my colleagues who want to see youth sports grow and thrive. I am proud to be a cosponsor of the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, which will allow Americans to use pre-tax medical accounts to cover physical activity related expenses, including gym memberships, youth league registration fees, personal trainers, and equipment expenses.

Being healthy takes effort, but it shouldn’t cost you a fortune. I’ll continue to find unique and diverse ways to support youth sports and the future generation who benefit from the team building, partnership, physical activity, and personal growth sports offer.


Raising Awareness and Eradicating Alzheimer’s and Elder Abuse

In November, we recognize Alzheimer's Awareness Month – a time to spread awareness and understanding of this cruel disease. As the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s presents a significant challenge that our nation must address. You can read a Presidential Message on Alzheimer’s Awareness Month here.

Recently, I voted for and the House passed the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, which widens the responsibilities of the Department of Justice Elder Justice Task Force Coordinator to include providing guidance material, training, and promoting best practices concerning Alzheimer’s related issues.

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Elder abuse is far too common, and for those struggling with Alzheimer’s – enough caregivers are hard to find. I am the author of the Senior abuse Training and Offense Prevention (STOP) Act, which would create a specialized grant program to support law enforcement, first responders, and existing community efforts to combat elder abuse.

The STOP Act would create a grant program to support various activities regarding the prevention, identification and eradication of elder abuse, ranging from training, multidisciplinary coordination, and even new divisions dedicated to addressing elder abuse. The grants would be administered and awarded by the Department of Justice on a competitive basis, and supplement their existing law enforcement programs. A portion of the awarded funds would also go towards measuring the effectiveness of the effort to combat elder abuse.

I am committed to ensuring our seniors have the support they need to age with dignity. Read more about my work for seniors here.


Epilepsy Awareness Month

This month, we recognize another disease that affects over 3.4 million Americans. As the 4th most common neurological disease in the nation, epilepsy remains misunderstood by many. Since 1 out of every 26 people will be diagnosed with this illness, we should all take the time to understand the impact and learn seizure first aid.

During Epilepsy Awareness Month, I encourage you to utilize these resources to better understand this condition that many Americans experience:

  • To better understand epilepsy, visit here.
  •  A helpful glossary of terms on this condition can be found, here.
  • For information on seizure first aid and safety, visit here.
  • If you are a caregiver to someone with epilepsy, there are resources for you here.
  •  If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Epilepsy Foundation’s Helpline 24/7 by calling: 1-800-332-1000. You can also ask a question online here.

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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