ST. CLOUD, Minn. – During the 2023 legislative sessions, Senator Aric Putnam played a key role in securing more funding for the three Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in Minnesota, ensuring that youth across the state will have access to more programming that will help prepare them for their futures.
Last week, Putnam was recognized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota as the 2023 Legislator of the Year for his work in supporting local youth.
Putnam, who has been a member of the Minnesota State Senate since 2021, received the award at the agency’s monthly board meeting on Aug. 22. He was presented the award by Board President Alex Schoephoerster and BBBS of Central Minnesota Executive Director Jackie Johnson.
During the legislative session, Putnam served as the Senate Author for a bill that doubled appropriations to the three BBBS agencies in Minnesota to $1 million over the next two years. Putnam, a member of the Jobs Committee, secured other senators to co-author the bill, and invited members of the Central Minnesota agency – including Johnson and current board member and BBBS alumni Isaih Handy – to testify in front of the committee.
The Central Minnesota agency will use the additional dollars to focus on college and career readiness for local youth, including: the Dr. Potter Bigs on Campus Mentoring Initiative, which is now on three campuses; assisting kids to explore career options and post-secondary options; and supporting kids between high school and age 21.