DNT DEBATE: U.S. Senator Tina Smith is an Effective Senator for Greater Minnesota

ST. PAUL [9/18/20]–U.S. Senator Tina Smith has proved she fights for all Minnesotans–and that includes Greater Minnesota. Sen. Smith across party lines to get things done, and her record on health care, agriculture, broadband, and mental health services prove just that.

She has a deep understanding of issues impacting farmers, agriculture, and steelworkers, and she’s had over a dozen of her bills and provisions signed into law. She has also traveled across the state to hear about the challenges these communities face and how she can better fight for them.


The COVID-19 Stimulus Included Two Bipartisan Pieces Of Legislation Senator Smith Introduced To Fund Rural And Telehealth Grant Programs. “On March 25, the Senate passed a coronavirus relief package that included two bipartisan pieces of legislation Senator Smith introduced to reauthorize rural and telehealth grant programs. In May, Smith introduced the bipartisan Tele-Mental Health Improvement Act to improve access to tele-mental health care as demand spikes during the coronavirus pandemic. In June, Smith introduced the Health Care at Home Act, which is cosponsored by Klobuchar, to provide telehealth parity for mental and physical health services. This month Senator Smith also introduced the bipartisan Home-Based Tele-mental Health Care Act to establish a tele-mental health demonstration program for people in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations.” [KTOE, 6/17/20]

Sen. Smith Bill To Create A “Rural Health Liaison” At USDA, Whose Job Will Be To Focus Federal Health Efforts On The Needs Of Rural America, Was Included In The Farm Bill And Signed Into Law. “On healthcare, Smith has focused on rural needs. She has taken a leadership role on the bipartisan Senate Rural Health Caucus, meeting with rural hospital CEOs, health providers and patients in Minnesota about their challenges. She worked with Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota to create in the Senate Farm Bill a ‘Rural Health Liaison’ at USDA whose job will be to focus federal health efforts on the needs of rural America.” [S. 2894, 5/22/18; H.R. 2, 12/20/18; DL-Online, 11/1/18]

Crop Life: The Farm Bill Funded Smith’s Efforts To Help Younger And Non-Traditional Farmers Get Started In The Business. “Smith authored and championed several measures in the Senate Farm Bill, including her legislative roadmap for the energy title of the Farm Bill, her provision to expand access to much-needed broadband in rural communities and tribal areas across the country, and a provision to create a U.S. Department of Agriculture ‘Rural Health Liaison’ who will work with other federal health officials to address rural America’s unique health care needs. The bill also funds Smith’s efforts to help younger and non-traditional farmers get started in the business, and it responds to her call to preserve the Sugar Program which supports thousands of jobs across the Red River Valley in Northwest Minnesota.” [Crop Life, 10/25/18]

  • Brainerd Dispatch: “Smith Urges Vets, Non-Traditional Farmers Use USDA Grants To Get Into Farming.” [Brainerd Dispatch, 7/18/19]

Duluth News-Tribune: Smith’s Bill To Deploy Broadband To Rural And Tribal Communities Through The Community Connect Grant Program Was Included In The Farm Bill And Signed Into Law. “Congress is approaching the end of this year’s session and the farm bill is still being discussed, but Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., is confident it will be passed.  ‘Getting a final farm bill passed before the end of the year is so important. Minnesota farmers need the certainty this bill is going to provide. I’m optimistic we’re going to get that done,’ Smith said.  One feature of the bill is a Community Connect Program that would help spread broadband access to rural and tribal communities, according to Smith.  ‘It will help to get funding to rural parts of the country to expand broadband. It’s a really important step and we need to do a lot more to expand broadband,’ Smith said.” [Duluth News-Tribune, 12/6/18; S. 2654, 4/12/18; H.R. 2, 12/20/18]

Sen. Smith Introduced A Bipartisan Bill On Rural Health Day To Recruit And Keep Doctors In Rural Areas. “Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith will release a bipartisan bill on Thursday on Rural Health Day to recruit and keep doctors in rural areas.  She says many med students don’t learn or train in rural areas, so the idea in working in one may not occur to them.  Smith believes if they can train in non-metro areas, they’ll stay working there.” [KVRR, 11/20/19; S.2902, 11/20/19]

Sen. Smith Supported Loan Forgiveness For Mental Health Providers Getting Out Of School To Attract Them To Practices In Rural Minnesota. “During her KMRS Early Morning Show interview, U.S. Senator Tina Smith expressed her concern for the mental health of farmers. She said she has heard from many in the farm community as she tours around the state, and has offered up a bill in Congress to address part of the problem. According to Smith, her bill ‘would help to make better mental health services available in public schools.’ This, she said, would reduce some of the physical barriers as well as the stigma that persists for those in rural areas reaching out to get some help.  Smith also suggested loan forgiveness for mental health providers getting out of school to attract them to practices in rural Minnesota.” [KMRS/KKOK, 6/7/19]

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