By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While legislative leaders have their priorities, so do the people they represent.

Three different communities told WCCO’s Esme Murphy what matters most to them.

In Blaine, the park and ride by Interstate 35W was packed, and at a nearby shopping center, Randy Mickelson said he’s worried about high taxes.

“We are one of the highest-taxed states in the union,” Mickelson said. “That is obviously something that needs to be looked at.”

Mickelson says he also supports a top campaign promise of Gov. Tim Walz, legalizing recreational marijuana.

“I think it’s about time and it’s obviously money the state can bring in. Other states are doing it already. It’s just a matter of how we control it,” Mickelson said.

In north Minneapolis at Breaking Bread Cafe, residents told us they would like to see the legislature work on affordable housing and more affordable health insurance.

Despite working, none of these three Minneapolis residents have health insurance.

“Yeah, we work hard, we pay taxes as well,” Maurice Wallace said.

But he still doesn’t have the money for health insurance.

Tess Montgomery says she would like to see a paid maternity leave law.

“Right now, you get six weeks unpaid,” she said. “They have to require six weeks, but they don’t have to require to pay you.”

And they all agree the lack of affordable housing is an issue.

“I am paying 50 percent of my income for rent,” Montgomery said.

At the U of M, housing costs are also a concern.

Student Amy Lochli said, “Some areas around the school, it’s, like, $600 for a shared room.”

Rising tuition and mounting student debt is another issue.

“That’s a really big concern,” Lochli said, “A lot of my friends are really worried.”

The legislative session runs through May 20.

Esme Murphy

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