We're in the final days of this year's legislative session, and as negotiations continue for what will be Minnesota's budget for the next two years, I wanted to highlight the important investments we made in the DFL House, and our pathway ahead.

The House's budget proposal is the product of numerous values-based conversations my colleagues and I have had with Minnesotans all over the state. We're taking our jobs seriously and addressing issues head-on, not burying our heads in the sand and hoping Minnesota's issues resolve themselves. These are smart, responsible investments in the things Minnesotans care about.

One of the highlights of our proposal in the Minnesota House is our E-12 Education budget. We increased per-pupil funding over the next two years at schools all over the state, something my colleagues in the Senate failed to do adequately in their proposal.

In Cloquet Public Schools, the House budget would see a $526 increase in per-pupil funding, and we'd see similar increases all over our community. We're also ensuring our students are preparing themselves for the future by delivering greater access to courses that award college credit or develop technical skills.

As a member of the Jobs and Economic Development Committee, I had a hand in crafting our budget as it relates to Minnesota's workers. A provision I'm particularly proud to have authored is the funding for the Helmets to Hardhats program, which would help to recruit, retain and support our service members for apprenticeships in the construction trades.

Other investments in Minnesota's workers include the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, which would grant Minnesotans the time off to care for their loved ones and themselves, and wage theft prevention and enforcement, which ensures an hour's pay for an hour's work.

Another component of our House budget I was able to help build were the investments that came out of our Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee. We're tackling long-term environmental issues such as combating the emerald ash borer, managing aquatic invasive species and controlling the outbreak of chronic wasting disease.

We're also planting 1 million trees over the next four years and investing in the management of our parks and trails, as well as our fish and wildlife. The great outdoors is one of the richest resources Minnesota has to offer, and it's incredibly important that we preserve and protect it for future generations.

We're currently waiting on a budget agreement from Gov. Walz and House and Senate leadership. As budget work continues this week, I hope you'll join me in calling on the Senate to embrace the House's proposals of putting patients above the profits of drug companies, protecting our elections, making post-secondary education more affordable and investing in safe and reliable roads.

Minnesotans didn't send us to St. Paul to play political games, but to produce a budget that delivers on the things they value. There's a lot of work to get done in the time we have left, but I am working diligently to complete the work you sent me here to do.

Rep. Mike Sundin represents District 11A in the Minnesota House of Representatives.