ST. PAUL, Minn. — A joint panel of House and Senate members which was recently formed to examine unemployment issues on Minnesota's Iron Range met for the first time Thursday at the Capitol. Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, is a member of the new Iron Range Unemployment Legislative Working Group and issued the following statement:
"A number of forces have combined to set back our state's mining industry and put many people on Minnesota's Iron Range out of work," Lueck said. "We are going through the ins and outs of extending unemployment insurance benefits for steelworkers and that is a big part of the issue. As someone who grew up in a mining family, I sympathize with the tough hand many folks have been dealt.
"There also are a number of larger, underlying issues that need to be addressed for the long term. There are projects ready to go right now in our region that would give the local workforce a shot in the arm, but the state is dragging its feet on the process. A top priority should be to move those proposals forward, helping families on the Iron Range and lifting our area's economy."