“Earlier this week, the House passed a supplemental operating budget for our state. I was one of three House Democrats who voted against this budget, and want to be clear about my reason for doing so.
“My district is comprised of mostly rural areas, and the budget as passed significantly reduces state funding for vital public services in rural counties. I am deeply concerned about the potential effect of these reductions in areas like law enforcement, public safety, public health, and rural hospital services. While there is an ongoing effort to give local governments the tools to make up for these reductions in state funds, rural communities are already facing severe budget challenges and are in no better position to raise taxes than the state. These cuts merely add to their burden, and hurt vital public services.
“However, the budgetary process continues, and I am supportive of efforts to resolve these issues as we move forward and in our negotiations with the Senate. I remain optimistic that I will be able to support a final budget proposal that is less hurtful to our rural counties.”