This will be my last email update for a time.
Due to a 60-day rule which applies to election years, I will be unable to send out email updates after today until early November. Although I won’t send these updates, you can still contact my office and I’ll be sure to get back to you. If you need any assistance in the coming months, please feel free to reach out; I’m always here to help.
Reflections On My First Term
As I write my last update of the summer, I can’t help but reflect on my first two years at the Capitol. Working as part of our Republican majority, and within divided government, I am pleased to say we have been able to counter, and in some cases reverse, anti-development, job-killing policies and practices at the state level that were becoming the trend. We prioritized budget surpluses to pass significant, middle class tax relief, invested in roads and bridges statewide, and increased funding for schools around the state. And we stopped the double-digit increases in health care premiums experienced by many Minnesotans.
Personally, I authored our rural broadband bill, passed long-awaited IRRRB governance reforms, and a Sustainable Forest Incentive Act bill that served as the vehicle for an out-of-court tax settlement with Blandin Paper Company that saved local taxpayers millions of dollars.
I was able to author and pass funding for several local projects through the bonding bill. This past session those projects included $1 million for Cohasset to match other funding to complete the Tioga Recreational area, $500,000 for radio infrastructure through Itasca County that is critical to the continuation of Northern Community Radio based in Grand Rapids, and $2 million for the Grand Rapids Armory renovation.
It’s truly been an honor to be your voice at the Capitol over the last two years. I appreciate the confidence you have placed in me. Now, back home in the district…
Chippewa Capital Mineral Lease Reinstatement
We received good and bad mining news last week as Governor Mark Dayton announced that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reinstated the mineral leases for Chippewa Capital Partners, LLC. for the former Essar Steel site. This good news was followed by the announcement that the DNR may pull the leases for ERP’s operation of the former Magnetation plants which now appear to be going into bankruptcy. My hope, shared by many, is to see construction continue at the Nashwauk site and the final realization of value added iron product being produced in Itasca County, bringing more good-paying jobs to the region.
On Wednesday, I attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Itasca County Family YMCA for a fabulous new Outdoor Courts Project that includes three 4-square courts, a full-size basketball court, and six pickle ball courts. I spoke to the large crowd gathered for the event from the perspective of the area legislator and also on behalf of the IRRRB who was a financial partner in the project. These new facilities are free, open to the public, and a wonderful addition to the community! Kudos to all involved and especially to community leader Bob Holycross who spearheaded this project from the beginning to the final ribbon-cutting.
I am having so many good opportunities this summer to meet with local groups and provide updates from the legislature. Last week, I spoke to the local members of the Minnesota Rural Electric Association as part of their district meeting. I enjoyed hearing their questions, and discussing their top legislative issues.
This week I also spoke to the Grand Rapids Noon Kiwanis members and attended a Sarma Supper fundraiser for Bovey Farmer’s Day held at Bovey City Hall which featured the 100th anniversary of Minnesota’s official photograph “Grace.” The supper serves as a fundraiser for Bovey Farmer’s Day held every Labor Day.
And this Saturday, I’ll be participating in a Veterans Town Hall meeting at the Cohasset Community Center. This event includes a noon lunch, followed by a legislative update with a question-and-answer period.
Please Contact Me
Again, although I can’t send any updates, I do hope you’ll call, email, or write to my office so we can connect. It’s an honor to serve you, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a great summer,