Support Grows for Nolan Measure to Boost Social Security
The urgent need for Congress to pass my bill to provide the nation’s 59 million Social Security recipients with an emergency, one-time 3.9% Cost of Living Adjustment is about to become more evident. The Social Security Administration is soon expected to announce its 2017 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). And whatever the amount, it probably won’t be nearly enough to compensate for the fact that seniors received NO increase at all in 2016.
That’s why our Fair COLA for Seniors Act has the full-fledged endorsement of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the leading advocacy group fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare.
Our measure is especially important here in the 8th Congressional District, where we have more seniors receiving earned benefits – over 163,000 – than any of the other seven districts in Minnesota. Social Security benefits across our region total about $1.9 million every month and average $1,281.00.
The one-time 3.9% payment coincides with the average salary increase the heads of America’s 350 largest corporations received from 2013 to 2014. Moreover, the bill directs that future cost of living adjustments be based on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). This calculation most accurately reflects the comparatively higher portions of their income that retired people generally pay for health care, housing and transportation.
In addition, because inflation often hits seniors hardest, and because more than 50% of all Americans lack any significant retirement savings except Social Security, I have cosponsored legislation to guarantee that lower-income recipients receive a cost of living increase of at least 3% cost every year.
As I have said many times before, we have plenty of time to fix what needs fixing without resorting to risky Republican privatization schemes that would turn Social Security over to billionaire Wall Street bankers, along with billions of dollars in management and administrative fees to boost their profits even higher. While we continue to fight privatization and ensure the integrity of Social Security for generations to come, our Fair COLA for Seniors Act would provide more fairness for the system and give seniors a well-earned boost.
We will keep you posted as events proceed. Meanwhile, I want to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact any of our offices listed below or send me an email.
Life House and SOAR Career Solutions Change Lives in Duluth
Life House Executive Director Maude Dornfeld explained to Senator Klobuchar (left), Mary and me how Life House and SOAR Career Solutions work together to help young people turn their lives around.
As Senator Amy Klobuchar and I saw firsthand last Wednesday in Duluth, a helping hand from a caring community can transform the lives of people seeking a new direction away from troubles and challenges. We began the day with a visit to SOAR Career Solutions and Life House – facilities that are helping hundreds of people get off the street, find homes, train for good jobs, address mental health, alcohol and chemical dependency issues and, in some cases, turn their lives around after being incarcerated. Earlier this year, I joined Senators Klobuchar and Franken in announcing a three-year grant totaling $636,000 federal grant to support and expand the services SOAR, Life House and the Duluth Workforce Center provide for our region.
SOAR actually started out as a YMCA program in 1980 to help homemakers acquire the skills necessary to enter the workplace. Over the years, the program has expanded to help people from all walks of life train and revamp their careers to become carpenters, truck drivers, engineers, aircraft maintenance specialists and a long list of others.
Meanwhile, since 1991, Life House has been serving homeless youth and young people living on the streets with unconditional support, counseling and mental health services. Life House also provides safe housing to sexually exploited and trafficked minors as they look to move beyond victimization toward better times ahead.
Pitching in With Sen. Klobuchar at a Brand New Habitat for Humanity Home in Aurora
Always happy to lend a hand for a good cause!
Over the past 21 years, across 14 communities, Northern St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity has partnered with scores of local businesses, hundreds of volunteer builders, and eager homeowners who supply 200 hours of “sweat equity” to construct 75 safe, warm, energy efficient houses. Every one is a remarkable success story, and last week Senator Amy Klobuchar and I were in Aurora, rolling up our sleeves to help put the finishing touches on the brand new home soon to be occupied by Jessica and Travis Olson-Keller and their young daughter, Aleea.
On average, Habitat for Humanity builds five homes a year in our region. Administrative costs are incredibly low, and volunteers do the work with building materials supplied by local businesses. The future owners supply a small down payment and obtain a mortgage with affordable monthly payments. The adults in the household must work at least 200 hours each on the project. In addition to the Olson-Keller home, Habitat for Humanity has broken ground on homes in Virginia and Chisholm. Hats off to everyone who helps make this wonderful program possible!
Senator Amy Klobuchar and I get instructions from Scott Dane, volunteer at Habitat for Humanity and Executive Director of the Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers, before pitching in to help install some dry wall.
USDA to Buy Another $20 Million Worth of Cheese for Food Shelves
Here in the 8th Congressional District, Morrison County ranks 3rd in the number of Minnesota milk cows - about 28,000 all told.
Farmers across Minnesota and the U.S. got good news last week as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack agreed to our urgent request to help continue stabilizing wildly fluctuating dairy prices brought about by rising imports of cheese and other milk products from Europe. Specifically, in 2017, USDA will purchase another 11 million pounds of cheese, valued at $20 million, for food banks and pantries across the Nation to help families in need through federal nutrition assistance programs. That step will help reduce the glut of cheese in the U.S. market and even out prices.
USDA has also agreed extend the deadline for dairy producers to enroll in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, which provides a financial safety net to participating dairy producers when prices fall below the cost of production.
As I pointed out when Senators Klobuchar and Franken and I joined 57 other House and Senate colleagues in asking Secretary Vilsack to take action, Minnesota has a lot at stake here. According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, some 9,400 people are directly employed by a dairy industry that every year drives $3.8 billion in commerce and business activity in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, trade, finance, real estate and construction. We rank 6th in the number of dairy cows, 8th in milk production and 8th in dairy exports, selling about $322 million in dairy productions around the world annually. Here in the 8th Congressional District, Morrison County ranks 3rd in the number of Minnesota milk cows – about 28,000 all told.
Our Week in Center City
Our Field Representative Rick Olseen held a Congress Comes to You at the Willow River City Hall, where he encountered the Willow River Garden Club organizing pumpkins to place around town. The artwork on the pumpkins was done by Willow River Girl Scout Troop 4124.
Our Week in Forest Lake
We were invited to Forest Lake High School to address students about the 229th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. I spoke with two different classes and had a great discussion on current events and founding father's day. The students all asked very thought-provoking questions.
Coming Up in Minnesota
Congress is in recess and I’ll be on the road this week, traveling hundreds of miles through the 8th District meeting with local business owners, workers, elected officials, community leaders and folks from all walks of life. If you see me coming down the street or having coffee or lunch at a local restaurant, please take time to stop for a chat. I get some of my best ideas from the Minnesotans I’m so proud to represent.
Northern Minnesota’s Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature!
In May 2006, the City of Duluth designated a cultural pathway in honor of Duluth’s native son, Bob Dylan, to commemorate his 65th birthday. Since then, a group of citizens has raised private dollars to create and install 30 street signs to mark the pathway. The 1.8 mile Bob Dylan Way winds through Duluth’s downtown, extending from Michigan Street at 5th Avenue West to 15th Avenue East and London Road.
Congratulations to native Duluthian and Hibbing Iron Ranger Bob Dylan, who last week became the first musician in the 115 year history of the Nobel to win the prize in literature. In announcing the award, the Nobel Committee cited Dylan for “having created new poetic expressions with the Great American Songbook.
So what’s your favorite Dylan song that calls our region to mind? "Red River Shore”? "Girl From the North Country”? "Highway 61"? I’m going with “Something There is About You” from the Planet Waves album.
“Thought I’d shaken the wonder and the phantoms of my youth /
Rainy days on the Great Lakes /
Walkin’ the hills of old Duluth."
Nolan in the news...
Pine Journal: Northland will get new veterans cemetery
Duluth News Tribune: Helping the Twin Ports’ at-risk youth ‘to do bigger and greater things’
Mesabi Daily News: Klobuchar, Nolan visit Habitat Home
Isanti County News: Nolan staff to hold local meetings
Roll Call: Minnesota Delegation Congratulates Dylan
Pine City Pioneer: Rep. Nolan mobile offices
KPVI: Make way for more trail
Grand Rapids Herald: Make Way For More Trail
For more on the issues in this newsletter...
Click here to learn more about our work on Social Security and Medicare.
Click here to learn more about our work on Agriculture.
Click here to learn more about our work on Jobs and the Middle Class.