On Tuesday, January 5 the 2021 Legislative Session will begin with the inauguration of the new class of 67 senators. The Senate has announced new safety protocols allowing the option of a remote or in-person inauguration process for new senators, which will comply with Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.
In response, the inaugural class of DFL Senate Members released the following statement:
“In just under one week, each of us will take our oaths of office to serve as Senators for our communities, who have put their faith and support in us to serve as their elected representatives. It is an honor and a privilege to have this trust put in us to serve them.
Earlier this week, we released notice of an outdoor, socially distanced ceremonial swearing in. The plan followed the Stay Safe guidelines in place in Minnesota by allowing each of us to individually be sworn in on the steps of the Capitol with only our families present. We created this plan because the original description of the day we were given did not guarantee mask wearing or provide a safe environment for us or our families. We are appreciative of Senate Secretary Ludeman and his staff at the Senate for taking steps that will allow each of us and our colleagues to be sworn in safely, while also giving the opportunity for Minnesotans and our communities the opportunity to participate remotely.
This will be a momentous day for our state. For the first time in Minnesota’s 162-year history, the incoming class of the Senate will include a woman from our indigenous community and a member of our Muslim and Somali community. On Tuesday, we take an important step forward in creating a Senate that looks more like the people it represents.
It is also an unprecedented time. We face the daily challenge of a pandemic that has taken far too many lives, sadly including one dear to the Senate itself. The public health and safety concerns demanded of each of us must be taken seriously to ensure our family, friends, neighbors and the most vulnerable of our community are kept safe. We also call on our colleagues in the incoming Senate Majority to take further steps necessary to ensure this session is an open and transparent process that guarantees the right of every Minnesotan to fully participate and make their voices heard, including full remote participation, and requiring of masks when in the Senate chamber. Minnesotans deserve this commitment, and we will fight to make it a reality.
Our original announcement did not provide enough details about the safety precautions we had in place, and those that seek to divide us used it as an opportunity to distract from the important work we have been elected to do for the people of Minnesota. We reject that premise and will be holding a joint, virtual press event on Tuesday afternoon to highlight some of the vital issues we will be focusing on in this session.
On Tuesday, we will be sworn-in to begin our work as Senators. While some of us will be sworn-in remotely and others will be sworn-in at the Capitol, each of us will do so safely and in a manner that ensures the safety of our family, our friends, and our community.”