Tag Archives: Senate

Speed Limits Go Up on Some Rural Highways

Dear Friends,

After several years of working to increase the speed limit on rural roads with my DFL and GOP colleagues, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) has announced a speed limit increase on all of Highway 75, most of Highway 59, and part of Highway 7 to 60 mph. The speed limit will be effective once the signs are installed. You can read MNDOT’s press release on the increase here: http://tinyurl.com/mxnh3y2.

For a lot of people, this will be a welcomed change on these wide open state highways. I have been working with my legislative colleagues for several years to make these changes happen on major roads like this. Last session, I worked to pass legislation (Senate File 1210) that would have created a statewide speed limit increase from 55 mph to 60 mph. The proposal passed both the House and Senate in an omnibus bill, but was pulled out by a conference committee before it would have received its final passage. You can watch my Kare11 interview about increasing speed limits last session on rural roads here: http://tinyurl.com/m8y2w3w.

Over the years, citizens have provided me with input via town meetings, e-mails, and sidewalk conversations to raise the speed limit on state highways. Rural Minnesota families have lots of miles to travel – whether it is for jobs, shopping, or visiting friends and family. The new 5 mph increase seems to be reasonable. Some have even argued that it should be increased to 65 mph, but 60 mph is a good option to try for the motoring public. Furthermore, this speed limit closer aligns with the speed the average driver is already going on these roads.

No matter what the speed limit is drivers need to continue to practice safe and defensive driving. Safety comes first and starts with each individual driver!

I encourage and appreciate citizen input. I can be reached by telephone at (651) 296-3826 or (855) 407-7386, by e-mail at sen.torrey.westrom@senate.mn, or via mail at 107 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

Warm Regards,

Senator Torrey Westrom


Al Franken News


July 1, 2013

Al Franken’s Inaction Causes Student Loan Interest Rates to Double Today

It’s July 1st and Minnesota students woke up to see that college just got even more expensive. College is becoming increasingly unaffordable for the average Minnesotan, and thanks to the inaction of Sen. Al Franken and the U.S. Senate, student loan interest rates will double today, from 3.4% to 6.8%.

Democrats passed legislation six years ago to double student loan interest rates starting in 2012. Al Franken then joined in voting last year to set the doubling to occur on July 1, 2013. That day has arrived.

The issue highlights the stark contrast between the action of Rep. John Kline and the inaction of Sen. Al Franken. Kline recognized the impending deadline, crafted a bi-partisan solution and passed it through his committee and the full U.S. House of Representatives. Franken, in spite of his seat on the Senate Education Committee, failed to even propose a solution to the Senate, in the end offering a last-minute poorly prepared deadline extension with no chance of passing.

“Congressman Kline worked hard the past year to successfully pass a bipartisan solution in the House, consistent with President Obama’s plan, tying student loan interest rates to the market, with a cap,” said Keith Downey, Chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota. “Yet Al Franken rejects this bipartisan solution at the last minute, and four days before the deadline introduces a bill to kick the can down the road, knowing full well it can’t possibly pass in time and that inaction will double the rates today.”

The Republican Party of Minnesota has four questions for Sen. Al Franken regarding Student Loan Rates

1.Why don’t you support the plan put forward by Congressman John Kline and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately lower college loan rates?
2.Do you disagree with President Obama that loan rates should no longer be set by politicians and should instead be connected to a market-based interest rate?
3.Do you really think proposing a bill two days before the deadline to put this problem off for another year is the responsible approach?
4.You have been on the Senate Education Committee for five years – why was that not enough time to come up with a permanent solution?

We are told we should re-elect Sen. Franken because he has “kept his head down” for five years, but college students and their hard-working Minnesota families need two hard-working Senators in Washington D.C.

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Prepared and paid for by Republican Party of Minnesota, Keith Downey, Chair
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate’s Committee