The COVID-19 crisis before us is real and something not seen in modern times. It is not a time to panic, but rather be thoughtful and deliberate in every action we make.

The decisions we make today, both individually and collectively, will impact our lives tomorrow. This pandemic is evolving minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day. All indicators point to this getting worse before it gets better. Our understanding of the full impact this will have on our society remains unclear.

This is why we have seen unprecedented protocols put into place by not only Gov. Tim Walz and the state of Minnesota, but our city governments across the Iron Range. These steps can seem too reactive, but they are designed to flatten the curve of this pandemic and limit the devastation of the coronavirus when it eventually arrives locally and peaks in Minnesota.

Minnesota's Legislature is now on-call to potentially consider new steps to address COVID-19 or assist Minnesotans who may be impacted. We're continuing to work on measures to prohibit price gouging, deliver assistance for child care providers, ensure that hourly educators and other school district workers receive compensation and more.

This rapidly-evolving situation has changed our focus at the Legislature, but this crisis is impacting nearly every other issue we work on including education, child care, support for nursing homes, resources for first responders and our ability to ensure Minnesotans can get the health care they need. Our proactive decisions today will impact the results we experience tomorrow and in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting daily life in our state in ways that would have been unthinkable just a matter of months ago. Public health officials are working around the clock to respond, and state lawmakers and Governor Walz are working closely together to slow the spread of the illness and ensure Minnesotans who may become afflicted are able to receive the care they need. Minnesotans are also experiencing real economic uncertainty as a result of the crisis. We're working to address these challenges, too.

But there's reason for optimism. Minnesotans, especially those of us on the Iron Range, are resilient people. We will weather this time of uncertainty, this time of unprecedented challenges and rise above it all when the pandemic passes.

It is simply what we do as Minnesotans and Rangers.

During this time, I urge you to take this situation seriously. Stay home. Wash your hands. Distance yourself socially. And don't panic. If we flatten the curve in Minnesota as these measures are designed to do, we can show the nation and the rest of the world how to overcome the challenges we face with compassion and a strong sense of community.

In the Legislature, we will do everything we can to support our industries, businesses and all Minnesotans and minimize the impacts of the coronavirus that have influenced our everyday lives so much in the last week. We will also work diligently to pass needed projects for our communities through a bonding bill that will improve our cities, keep our workforce on the job and keep our businesses open.

That's the commitment I'm making now. One Minnesota. One Range. One Voice. That's how we will get through this unprecedented time together.

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