For more information contact: Bennett Smith 651-296-6422
A few notes about what has been keeping me busy lately, as many of us get ready for a busy weekend!
Visiting the New Cloquet City Administrator Aaron Reeves
This week I stopped in to welcome new Cloquet City Administrator Aaron Reeves to the community. I look forward to getting to know him and hope city residents will extend a warm welcome to him.
150 Layoffs at UPM Blandin in Grand Rapids
Last week UPM Blandin announced that they would be immediately beginning layoffs of 150 workers at their Grand Rapids production line. Blandin will permanently shut down its “Machine 5” in Grand Rapids by the end of the first quarter in 2018. The “Machine 6” production line that is inside the same mill is expected to keep running and retain about 140 hourly workers.
I have deep concerns about the loss of these good-paying union jobs. It’s a big hit to the local and regional economy, and it comes at the same time as we’re learning that foreign steel imports have gone up under this President and threatening other jobs in the region. I’ll be working to make sure these folks make it through this process and fighting attacks on American workers.
Buy American Bill
Recently, I have been working on legislation that will remove tax exemptions from foreign made vehicles purchased by state and local government subdivisions. One way we can prevent American workers from losing their jobs is by supporting them with the purchases made using our tax dollars. That’s the goal of this new bill that I plan to introduce this session.
Visiting Locally Laid and U of M Cloquet Forestry Center
Earlier this month, State Rep. Mary Murphy and I brought some of our House staff up to see the operation at Locally Laid and the work being done at the U of M Forestry Center. Although the day started out a bit cold and wet, it was a great day to explore. Special thanks to Jason Amundsen and Locally Laid Egg Company, and Andy David and Rachael Olesiak at the U of M Cloquet Forestry Center for the tours and thoughtful discussion.
Jason Amundsen explained how he is able to use stored rainwater and an innovative irrigation system to effectively water crops when needed.
We discussed the impact of logging on Minnesota’s economy and how Sappi, Cloquet is finding new markets beyond paper (like using pulp for fiber for clothing). Rachael Olesiak and Andy David discussed forestry and habitat, best management practices, the future health of forests, and dealing with emerging invasive pests like Emerald Ash Borer and Gypsy Moths.
At over 200 years old, the oldest tree in 3500 acre Cloquet Forestry Center forest.
What do you value?
What would make life better for you, your family and our community? Recently, we’ve been having conversations all across Minnesota asking just that question. For a change of pace, we as legislators have simply listened and facilitated a dialogue about our shared values and future. The conversations have been robust, challenging, moving, and thoughtful. People from all walks of life have attended and shared so much about themselves and their communities.
Now, it’s your turn to join so many other Minnesotans and share what you value and what you’d like to see Minnesota do. Please take this opportunity to fill out a brief, four question survey.
It is a great honor to go to St. Paul to represent you and our communities, and you can always contact me if you have questions or concerns at 651-296-4308 or 800-788-1329 or Rep.Mike.Sundin@house.mn .
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