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Rural Minnesota needs rural voice on Agriculture Committee

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dear Friends,

It was an honor and a privilege to take the oath of office on Tuesday and be sworn in for the second time to the Minnesota House of Representatives. One of my highest priorities this session is to be a voice for rural Minnesota. Agriculture is such an important part of our local economies, and we must make sure that rural Minnesota is adequately represented in Saint Paul.

One of the first motions of the 2013 legislative session was made by Representative Rod Hamilton, a rural Minnesota pork producer by trade, to adjust the committee structure to ensure fairness for Minnesota’s agriculture community. Speaker Paul Thissen, a Democrat from Minneapolis, chose to combine the Agriculture Finance committee with the Environment Finance Committee. This is deeply concerning, as the Environment Finance Committee is chaired by a Representative from Minneapolis who has repeatedly voted against Agriculture budget bills that enjoyed wide bipartisan support, and has voted for legislation that disproportionately favors Metro cities and suburbs over Greater Minnesota.

I was proud to stand for rural Minnesota and vote to recombine the Agriculture Finance Committee with the Agriculture Policy Committee, and was disappointed that my DFL colleagues voted down the motion. I firmly believe that combining the two committees would strengthen the voice of rural Minnesota here at the Capitol. The current chair of the Agriculture Policy Committee is Rep. Jeanne Poppe, a rural legislator who has served on past agriculture committees. She understands the issues and challenges facing the agriculture industry.

One in five jobs in Minnesota are related to the agriculture industry—it’s imperative that we keep the best interests of rural Minnesota in mind this session, and that those interests are well represented. I hope the DFL and Speaker Thissen will make the right choice, recombine the committees, and help to strengthen the voice of the greater agricultural community in Saint Paul.

If you are no longer a resident of District 18B following redistricting, you can find out who your new state legislators are by clicking on this link: http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/.

I am always seeking your input and feedback on the important issues facing our district and our state. Please feel free to contact me at any time via email at Rep.Glenn.Gruenhagen@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-4229. Mail can be sent to 241 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, District 18B

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