Last week, I was joined by my colleagues House GOP Leader Kurt Daudt from Crown, MN and Rep. Tim O'Driscoll from Sartell and had the chance to show them around District 09B.
We started off in Long Prairie, where we met with District Superintendent Jon Kringen. Discussion focused on things the legislature can do to ease the burdens that numerous Department of Education mandates have on school districts in Greater Minnesota. Later on, we stopped in a 3rd grade classroom to see the district's new iPad program in action.
It was fascinating to see first-hand how much technology has changed and impacted learning in the classroom even in just the past several years. Schools in the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle District and all across the state have done incredible work bringing 21st century technology into the classroom and using it to keep students engaged and excited about learning each day.
For lunch we visited Taqueria Chavez, a wonderful Mexican restaurant on Main Street in Long Prairie. We visited with Long Prairie Mayor Don Rasmussen, a representative from the local Chamber of Commerce, and the local economic development director. Conversation centered around the business climate in Long Prairie and other towns of similar size in Greater Minnesota, and how actions by the legislature have impacted business and jobs.
We also talked about how tiered water usage would impact Long Prairie, which is home to a meat-packing plant that is one of the region's largest water consumers. Local officials underscored the need to prevent a return to a tiered system which penalizes companies that use more water (examples include the meat packing plant, hospitals, and nursing homes) and would hurt businesses that provide hundreds, if not thousands of jobs in our area.
After lunch, we drove to Little Falls to IWCO Direct to tour their factory. IWCO employs about 500 employees right here in Little Falls. IWCO was founded back in 1985 with just 30 employees and has grown to one of the largest direct mail companies in the nation, sending out more than 1 billion pieces of mail each year.