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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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Thanks to the residents of Coon Rapids for Northstar progress

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Peter Bodley Editor, Coon Rapids Herald 4101 Coon Rapids Boulevard Coon Rapids, MN 55433 Re: Letter to the Editor Dear Editor: I am proud that the Minnesota House of Representatives has – finally! – voted to fund Northstar Commuter Rail! This is a great moment for Coon Rapids and we should celebrate our victory. The credit for this historic vote goes to the residents of Coon Rapids and the rest of the Highway 10 Corridor. Residents banded together and formed citizen-lobby groups – the All Aboard groups came together in communities from Coon Rapids to Elk River and beyond. Others wrote letters to elected officials and local newspapers. Residents demanded that candidates for city, county and state office support Northstar. It's a great day in Minnesota when our public servants listen to the people and respond! As your state representative, I pledged to work with Republicans and Democrats to get the job done for our area. I am so proud to be part of the strong leadership and the team effort put forth by Republican and Democrat lawmakers to get some funding for Northstar passed in the Minnesota House. However, it is important to recognize that the process is not over. The Senate bonding bill fully funds Northstar at $37.5 million. The Governor's budget fully funds Northstar at $37.5 million. The House bonding bill partially funds Northstar – allocating $10 million. The ball is clearly in Speaker Sviggum and Governor Pawlenty's court. It is time to let them know that we are grateful to them for getting on board and supporting Northstar but we need their continued leadership. In order to get the job done, the House/Senate Conference Committee must fully fund Northstar at $37.5 million and the Conference Committee's bonding bill must pass in the Minnesota House. We have come too far to risk losing $132.5 million in federal dollars for Northstar by failing to get the job done in the Minnesota House. Please write and call Speaker Sviggum and ask him to appoint House conferees who support Northstar and ask the Governor to lead the Republican House Caucus to fully fund Northstar. Thank you for all your hard work so far. I am proud to work with you advocating for Northstar. Let's encourage Speaker Sviggum and Governor Pawlenty to continue to exercise their leadership to get the job done! Sincerely, Melissa Hortman State Representative District 47B – Coon Rapids and Brooklyn Park