from Congressman Keith Ellison
am privileged and honored to represent you in Congress. As we wrap up 2012, I want to reflect on
the year’s events and update you on my work on behalf of Minnesota’s 5th District in Congress.
economy is still recovering from the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and my focus
continues to be on creating good jobs for Minnesota families. It’s time we built an economy that
works for people who work for a living. That’s why, as Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive
Caucus, I introduced a budget this year that would create a School and Park Improvement Corps, a Student
Jobs Corps, and invest in an infrastructure bank to put millions of Americans back to work rebuilding
our roads and bridges. Minnesota alone has over 1,400 bridges that need repair, including the Highway
7 bridge over Highway 100.
also introduced the Inclusive Prosperity Act, which would raise billions of dollars from Wall Street
to invest in jobs on Main Street. Just by taxing the sale of stocks, bonds and derivatives by less than
1 percent, we could invest in thousands of jobs in Minnesota and across the country.
housing market crash has made it very difficult for many Minnesotans to find a home they can afford for
their family. Ninety-four percent of Minnesota counties lack any affordable rental housing, and nearly
1 in 7 Minnesotans pays more than half their income for housing. As a member of the House Financial
Services Committee, I have made affordable housing a priority since I came to Congress. This year, I
introduced the bipartisan Preserving American Homeownership Act. The bill would allow struggling homeowners
to qualify for more affordable monthly mortgage payments, ending foreclosure for many Minnesota families
and strengthening the housing market.
and Human Rights
communities in Minneapolis and across the country have experienced difficulty over the last decade sending
money abroad to support their loved ones. The problems became more difficult when many large and medium-sized
banks processing these money remittances terminated their services during Somalia’s famine of 2011.
Remittances make up one-third of Somalia’s economy, and give many Somali families the ability to
put food on the table. I have been working all year on an easier way for Somali families to send
money home. This month, I worked with Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen to introduce The Money Remittances
Improvement Act of 2012 (H.R. 6637). The bill simplifies oversight for money services businesses (MSBs)
and other nonbank financial institutions, and provides financial institutions that collaborate with MSBs
more assurance that the federal and state regulators are coordinating.
also introduced a bill to streamline refugee processing abroad, while taking advantage of that processing
time to provide refugees with English classes and work orientation training. Thirty-four thousand
refugees have come to Minnesota since 2000. The bill strengthens refugee integration into local communities.
In particular, it expands the public-private Matching Grant program, which has been highly successful
in helping refugees become economically self-sufficient.
am committed to protecting Minnesota’s environment and ensuring that our families have access to
clean water. We owe it to our children to address climate change before it becomes irreversible. This
year, I joined Senator Bernie Sanders to introduce a bill that would end the over $110 billion in corporate
welfare that oil and gas companies receive. We can save money and build a safe energy future if we put
people, not fossil fuel companies, back in charge of our democracy.
our air and water also means preventing the spread of Asian carp in Minnesota’s waterways. Asian
carp would push out our native fish populations, destroying Minnesota’s fishermen and women and
ending many Minnesotans’ livelihood. I teamed up with U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken,
and Reps. Tim Walz and Eric Paulsen to introducee legislation that helps fight the spread of Asian carp
in Minnesota’s waterways. The legislation would start the process to consider closing the
Upper St. Anthony Falls Dam to help stop the spread of the invasive species, and require immediate
closure of the dam if Asian carp are found.
many Minnesotans are worried about the deadlines Congress faces and the cuts that could force Minnesotans
to work harder for less. As I write this, I am working with Minnesotans in the 5th District and my colleagues
in Congress to make sure we develop an agreement that meets our deadlines, asks the wealthy to pay their
fair share, and fully protects the security our family members receive from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social
Security. Forty-two members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced a Deal for All this summer
that fulfills these goals, and 102 Members of Congress have joined me in calling for Social Security
to be protected during the negotiations. Earlier this month, I appeared on ABC’s
This Week to discuss the kind of agreement that would strengthen our country.
have a lot of work to do to make sure every Minnesotan who wants a good job can find one. As we approach
the new year, I promise to continue fighting for Minnesota families. You can stay up to date and give
your feedback on the work we are doing on behalf of the 5th District by following me on Twitter and Facebook or
by contacting me through my website. I look forward to continuing
to serve you in Congress.