A new addition

I spent this week getting reacquainted with the Capitol after being gone for about a week. I had good reason–my wife, Andrea and I welcomed a new baby boy, Niklas Tyler, into the world on Sunday, Feb. 26. Niklas joins his three sisters and is doing very well so far.

My family has received many offers of congratulations from people all over our district and we’d like to sincerely thank all of you for your kind words and support. Bringing home a new baby is always exciting–and always challenging! Andrea and I appreciate your graciousness very much.

My wife deserves an extra thank you, as she is now at home with the baby while I return to Saint Paul during the week. March is going to be a busy one at the Capitol, which is why it was important for me to get back to work. All committee work must be completed by the end of this month, with the goal of finalizing bills and wrapping up the 2012 session during the month of April.

If there’s one thing a baby brings, it’s perspective. I’ve always said my children were one of the reasons I believe public service is so important, but bringing home a new life is a good reminder of how important this responsibility is. There are many things that need to be resolved at the Capitol right now. We learned last week that the state has a budget “surplus” for the current year, which is positive news that the economy may slowly be recovering. But that report also reminded us that the state still owes Minnesota schools $2.4 billion borrowed to fix previous budget problems. Lawmakers will be facing at least a $1 billion deficit when they return to the Capitol next spring, and we still owe millions of dollars in interest on other past debt.

There are a lot of problems that need to be fixed if we’re going to make sure today’s children have the opportunities that many of us have been able to take advantage of. I had the privilege of growing up in a strong, vibrant state that I love very much. During these past few weeks, I’ve again been reminded how much I want to protect our state’s greatness for future generations. I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in St. Paul, and I look forward to spending the remaining weeks of this legislative session focused on doing right by Minnesotans.

If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact me any time at: sen.dan.sparks@senate.mn; 651-296-9248; Room 19 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.

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Senator Dan Sparks
Dan Sparks represents District 27, which includes all or portions of Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, and Steele counties in the southeastern part of the state.

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