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State of the State address disregards crisis facing seniors & long-term care

Patti Cullen, CAE
By Patti Cullen, CAE  |  April 21, 2023  |  All members

Gov. Tim Walz gave his State of the State address Wednesday night before a joint session of the Minnesota Legislature, and just like his last address, and addresses from past governors, seniors were not mentioned at all—clearly not a priority focus. The focus of the speech was children and families, gun safety, union jobs, and successes so far.   

Here is an excerpt from the media message we sent out Tuesday in anticipation of the speech:

It’s not too late for Governor Walz to act on behalf of suffering seniors, families, and caregivers. Our state needs his leadership to make meaningful investments in long-term care this session and avert the worsening workforce shortage in long-term care settings… During the State of the State address tomorrow, we will be watching for remarks from Gov. Walz on these topics: Access to long-term care… the long-term care workforce crisis… [and] seniors losing access to care in their communities.

The governor chose to focus on the successes of the session so far and the family-friendly initiatives that have been clearly his budget priority this session. A few excerpts:
  • Three months into our second term, I’m proud to say that the state of our state is strong, and it’s getting stronger with every investment we make in our people and the futures they’re working so hard to build.
  • Some other governors want to put bullies in charge of your healthcare. We want to put bullies in their place. That’s why we protected gender-affirming health care and established an iron-clad right to reproductive freedom.
  • We’re going to bat on behalf of our families to make Minnesota the nation’s best place for our children to grow up. That means cutting the cost of childcare by thousands and investing billions more in our education system.
  • We’ve got a gun safety bill on the table—and we’re going to get it passed. And if anyone in America doubts that we can take meaningful action to protect our kids, I’ve got two words for you: Watch us.
  • Together, we’re not just showing the people of our state that we’re capable of delivering on our promises. We’re showing the American people just how much promise is contained in the progressive vision shared by so many.
  • Let’s get to work building a state we’re proud to raise our kids in, start new businesses in, and proud to brag about. We have the resources and the shared vision—and for the first time in half a century, we have the political will to get it done.

With about a month to go in the legislature’s annual session, Gov. Tim Walz speech was his appraisal of their accomplishments to date and a roadmap around the remaining work. The legislature is about to hit the home stretch of the budget-setting session. Governor Walz noted before the speech he wants the next budget to focus on reducing child poverty, improving schools, and delivering targeted tax cuts. The DFL majorities in both chambers are aligned on the overarching goals even as they differ over some of the details. 

Our response to the State of the State was sent out to the media last night immediately after the speech. Here is what we said:  

Governor Tim Walz Disregards the Crisis Facing Seniors and Families
Aging services are deeply disappointed that Governor Walz once again ignored the severe shortage of senior caregivers.

A workforce shortage that is driven by inadequate state funding and that restricts care options for Minnesota’s largest constituency deserves state action. At the very least, it deserves recognition in the Governor’s address.
State leaders are well aware that their inaction is worsening the senior caregiver shortage. What’s more--today’s blatant omission of this critical issue gives us little hope that Governor Walz takes it seriously.

With five weeks left in the legislative session and an historic budget surplus, Governor Walz still has the time and money to deliver on his “One Minnesota” promise. On behalf of Minnesota seniors and their families, we urge him to take this seriously. 

Patti Cullen, CAE  |  President/CEO  |  |  952-851-2487


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Care Providers of Minnesota is a non-profit membership association with the mission to Empower Members to Performance Excellence. Our 900+ members across Minnesota represent non-profit and for-profit organizations providing services along the full spectrum of post-acute care and long-term services and support. We are the state affiliate for the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, and with our national partners we provide solutions for quality care.

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