For more information contact: DJ Danielson 651-296-8879
I hope fall is going well for you and your family. Halloween is already upon us tomorrow, and soon trick-or-treaters will be descending on the streets. The arrival of snow already was also difficult to believe! Here is an update from the Capitol.
As you may have heard, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is proposing revised sulfate standards for wild rice. Last week I attended a MPCA public hearing regarding this topic at Mesabi Community College. The current standards are outdated and based on decades old research, but there are many concerns about the research involved in crafting the new proposal. Not to mention, these could be extremely onerous for those involved in mining and the ability to even enforce them is questionable.
Prior to the hearing, I attended a rally with local elected officials, labor leaders, those from the business community and others. As we continue to work on expanding jobs and diversifying our economy, we must recognize that mining is the way of life for many in our region. As with anything in our regulatory environment, it’s crucial that these proposals be grounded in sound science. The MPCA is taking public comment on these standards until November 22, and I encourage you to click here and make your voice heard.
Our area recently hosted the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee as it continued a statewide tour of proposed public works projects for next year’s bonding bill. In communities across the state, public infrastructure is aging, and a bonding bill makes investments in upgrades at higher education institutions, water treatment facilities, transportation systems and more.
In Hibbing, the committee visited the Range Regional Airport, the DNR Drill Core Library, and Hibbing Community College. They also visited other sites such as the Split Rock Lighthouse, Black Beach in Silver Bay, Mesabi Range College and the recently completed Highway 53 project in Virginia. The committee was also set to learn about the proposed Range Regional Health and Wellness Center in Hibbing but the city still needs more time to get this set to go for consideration by the Legislature. I hope a site will be selected soon so this opportunity for our community isn’t missed.
There have been over $3 billion worth of requested construction projects from local governments and state agencies, but the final bill will likely be about a third of this amount. Therefore, it’s important the committee can check out proposals up close. We all have a responsibility to protect our public assets, and in doing so, we can create good jobs as well. It’s important to work together next year to pass a significant bonding bill for our state next session.
As we look ahead to the 2018 session, other legislators and I are facilitating conversations all across the state about our shared values and priorities. As part of the Minnesota Values Project, people from all walks of life have attended and shared so much about themselves and their communities, including the one we had in Hibbing this summer. The conversations have been robust, challenging, moving, and thoughtful.
I invite you to 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.
As development of the former Essar Steel site continues, I attended a meeting on September 13 with the rest of the Iron Range Delegation with Governor Dayton and Tom Clarke, CEO of ERP Iron Ore and Chippewa Capital. This was a good opportunity to hear from the team and learn about their plans and progress. On September 28th I facilitated an informal conversation between some members of the Hibbing and Chisholm School Boards to discuss possibilities for future collaborative programming.
I’ve also had several other recent meetings with constituents, including one concerned about the age of our educational facilities, and representatives from Access North, a provider of PCA services in the community. The IRRRB also met last week. During the meeting, we approved over $4 million of investments in economic development and infrastructure projects. Click here to check out information about the proposals.
Finally, last week I had the opportunity meet with a class of MBA students from my alma mater, the College of St. Scholastica, during the final class of Shelly Robinson’s human resources course. These students, most of whom come from nontraditional academic backgrounds, have diverse backgrounds and many have had to balance family life with school. I was encouraged by their dedication which is a testament to their success and it was an honor to be able to congratulate them. We had a terrific conversation about how they can “be the change” in their lives, communities, careers. While not everyone will run for office, for instance, everyone can make a difference.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any issues, questions or concerns you may have. It’s an honor to be your voice as we work so hard to ensure those things we value most are a priority in our community and in Saint Paul.
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