Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A budget crisis awaits Minnesota lawmakers as they get to work on the 2013 legislative session next Tuesday.
Returning Senators and House members will be joined by a number of fresh faces, including new District 7B representative, Erik Simonson.
"I think you would be a fool not to be nervous," Simonson said. "This state faces huge challenges ahead of us, but yet with any challenge comes a unique opportunity."
The DFL house member and Duluth Assistant Fire Chief will be among the many tackling the state's $1.1 billion deficit this session. He says there will be no way to discuss anything in the 2013 session without tying talks back to the budget.
"There is no way of getting around that," he said. "That will be a key issue."
Simonson says education will be an important factor in that conversation.
"The number one thing Minnesota needs to invest in is public education," he said. "Public education always ties back into the economy, ties back to jobs, ties back to the prosperity of Minnesota. So investing those dollars into public education will be key."
He said the state needs to have a long-term budget solution, but it won't be solved this session or this biennium.
"Discussions have to less about policy and more about resolving the budget crisis."