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News Advisory
Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities
Contact: Julie Liew
jlliew@flaherty-hood.com
651-259-1917

Rural voters sent a loud message last fall that they felt left out and left behind. State legislators should be deeply concerned about the lack of progress on rural priorities.

Who: Sara Carlson, Mayor of Alexandria and CGMC President; Dave Smiglewski, Mayor of Granite Falls and CGMC Vice President; Craig Clark, Austin City Administrator, and other Greater Minnesota city leaders

What: Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities Press Conference

When:  11 a.m., Thursday, May 11

Where: Press Conference Room B971, State Capitol basement

Each year the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities honors legislators, city officials and others who had a particularly strong positive impact on Greater Minnesota during the preceding legislative session or during the course of their careers. This year’s award winners were honored during our annual Legislative Awards Dinner, which was held July 21 in Austin, Minn. To see photos of the award winners, visit our Facebook page.

The 2016 CGMC Award winners are as follows:

Legislator of Distinction Award – Awarded to legislators who played key roles in the CGMC’s policy success or advancing CGMC priorities during the preceding session. Can be awarded to legislators from all parts of the state, and legislators can be awarded in more than one program area.

Legislator of Distinction- Tax Policy
– Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL- Clearbrook)
– Sen. Lyle Koenen (DFL- Clara City)
– Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL- Dilworth)
– Rep. Paul Anderson (R- Starbuck)

Legislator of Distinction- Economic Development
– Rep. Pat Garofalo (R- Farmington)
– Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL- Duluth)
– Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL- Owatonna)

Legislator of Distinction- Environment
– Rep. Paul Torkelson (R- Hanska)

Rural Leadership Award – Awarded to legislators who helped advance CGMC priorities in several program areas during the preceding session.
– Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL- Cook)
– Sen. Kent Eken (DFL- Twin Valley)

Excellence in Service (Elected Officials) – Awarded to CGMC elected officials who demonstrated knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the preceding session and/or an extended period of time.
– Mayor Cliff Barth, Breckenridge
– Mayor Mike Poellinger, La Crescent
– Council Member Audrey Nelsen, Willmar

Excellence in Service (Appointed Officials) – Awarded to CGMC city managers/administrators or city staff who demonstrated knowledge, leadership and active participation in CGMC program areas over the preceding session and/or an extended period of time.
– City Clerk/Administrator Josh Malchow, Slayton
– City Manager Blaine Hill, Morris
– City Manager Chad Adams, Albert Lea
– Director of Public Services Roger Avelsgard, Breckenridge

Jack Murray Award for Distinguished Rural Leadership (retiring elected officials) – Awarded—upon their retirement from public service—to CGMC mayors and elected officials who have made special contributions to the CGMC over a multi-year career. The award is named after Jack Murray, former mayor of International Falls, who was instrumental in the CGMC’s formation.
– Council Member Sandra Means, Rochester
– Tim Strand, former mayor, St. Peter
– Council Member John Young, Hawley (posthumous award)

Friend of the CGMC – Awarded to individuals (not legislators or CGMC city officials) who were especially helpful to the CGMC during the preceding year.
– Jeff Freeman, Executive Director of the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority

Minnesota Legacy Award – Awarded—upon their retirement—to legislators who have demonstrated unfailing commitment and made extraordinary contributions to Greater Minnesota during their legislative careers.
– Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (DFL- Plummer)
– Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL- Mankato)
– Rep. Kim Norton (DFL- Rochester)

President’s Award – Awarded to the outgoing CGMC president.
– Mayor Robert Broeder, Le Sueur

A PDF version of this press release is available here.

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2016
Contact: Julie Liew, jlliew@flaherty-hood.com

Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson elected CGMC President

ST. PAUL—Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson was elected to serve as president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) July 22 at the Coalition’s three-day summer conference in Austin. As president, Carlson will help direct efforts to inform state legislators on issues unique to Greater Minnesota, such as Local Government Aid (LGA), economic development, transportation and environmental policy.

Carlson was elected by fellow mayors and city officials from across the state to lead the CGMC, long considered one of the most active, high-profile organizations to represent rural communities at the State Capitol.

“Sara has proven to be a strong leader for our organization, her community and Greater Minnesota,” said Tim Flaherty, executive director of the CGMC. “She has been an active member of the CGMC Board of Directors for several years and demonstrates a deep commitment to ensuring that residents and businesses in Greater Minnesota have as many opportunities to thrive as those in the metro area.”

Le Sueur Mayor Robert Broeder, whom Carlson is replacing as president, echoed Flaherty’s comments.

“Sara has been an excellent spokesperson for the CGMC on many important issues like LGA, economic development and infrastructure needs,” Broeder said. “At a time when there is so much politics and bickering at the state Legislature, the CGMC is fortunate to have such a smart and pragmatic mayor leading the way for Greater Minnesota.”

CGMC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 88 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota.

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We have a great conference lined up! The annual CGMC Summer Conference will be held July 20-22, 2016, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Austin, Minn. Some of the highlights of the conference will include:

  • A full recap of the legislative session
  • Presentations and speakers on important topics such as labor relations, environmental regulations, and economic disparities & inequality in Greater Minnesota
  • A legislative panel discussion
  • Keynote luncheon featuring Rep. Tim Walz (invited)
  • Options to tour unique Austin sites such as the Hormel manufacturing plant, the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, the new $18M Austin Utilities Energy Park, the recently expanded Hormel Institute and more!
  • An awards dinner honoring legislators, city officials and others who worked especially hard to advance Greater Minnesota priorities during the 2016 legislative session
  • And of course, no stop in Austin would be complete without a visit to the brand-new SPAM Museum!

Check out the full agenda for more information. (Please note this is just a tentative agenda, some items may change as we get closer to the date of the conference.)

The cost for the three-day conference is $275 (not including lodging). To register, please fill out this registration form (also attached) and email it to RSVP@flaherty-hood.com or mail it to:

Coalition of Greater MN Cities
c/o Dana Hogan
525 Park St., Suite 470
St. Paul, MN 55103

If you have any questions about the CGMC Summer Conference, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1917. We hope to see you there!

Click here to see a PDF version of this Action Alert.

The legislature is on Easter Break from March 25 through March 28, and most legislators will be back home in their districts. As action is happening extremely fast during this short legislative session, now is a key time to contact or meet with your legislator to stress the importance of including a $45.5 million increase in LGA funding as part of the final tax bill AND to include $167 million for clean water funding and $21 million for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) grant program in the bonding bill.

Where things stand on key CGMC priorities

The CGMC’s top priority is an increase in funding for LGA. The Senate and Governor have both proposed an increase (the Senate supports the $45.5 million increase that the CGMC is seeking, while the Governor included a one-time increase of $21.5 million in his supplemental budget). However, the House has not changed its position in support of an $84 million cut to the LGA program that targets the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth and a freeze in the LGA appropriation for all other cities.

Another important priority this session is bonding. The CGMC is advocating for $167 million for clean water infrastructure grant and loan programs and $21 million for the BDPI program, both of which were included in the Governor’s proposed bonding bill. The House and Senate have yet to release their versions of the bonding bill.

Take action today!

It is critical that CGMC city leaders contact or meet with your legislators as soon as possible to:

  • Ask them to support a $45.5 million increase in LGA funding as part of the final tax bill.
  • Ask them to support $167 million for clean water infrastructure funding and $21 million for the BDPI program as part of a balanced bonding bill.

Contact info

House Member Directory

Senate Member Directory

Questions?

If you have any questions on the CGMC’s priorities or would like additional information, please visit our website at greatermncities.org or contact Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com or 651-259-1940.

A PDF version of this press release is available here.

For Immediate Release: Feb. 11, 2016
Contact: Julie Liew, jlliew@flaherty-hood.com

Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson Elected CGMC First Vice President

ST. PAUL—Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson was elected to serve as first vice president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) by the organization’s Board of Directors at their meeting on Feb. 2. As first vice president, Carlson will help guide efforts to inform state legislators of Greater Minnesota’s needs on issues such as property tax relief, economic development, transportation and environmental policy.

Carlson was elected by fellow mayors and city officials from across the state to serve in the leadership role for the CGMC, long considered one of the most active, high-profile organizations to represent rural communities at the State Capitol. The normal leadership progression is for the first vice president to serve as president of the organization in the following year.

“As mayor and a small-business owner in a Greater Minnesota regional center, Sara has a unique insight into the issues that impact our member cities,” said CGMC Executive Director Tim Flaherty. “She understands and can clearly articulate the importance of key issues such as Local Government Aid and economic development programs. The CGMC will be well-served by having such a talented, effective leader to promote its goals and legislative priorities.”

CGMC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 86 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition also educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota.

 

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Below is a press release that was sent to media state-wide. A PDF version is available here.

For Immediate Release
Nov. 13, 2015

Contact: Julie Liew
651-259-1917
jlliew@flaherty-hood.com

CGMC: Increasing LGA top priority for 2016 
Group calls on House Republicans to reverse course and support an increase

ALEXANDRIA, MINN.—With the state budget expected to show a $1 billion surplus, city leaders from across Greater Minnesota have set increasing funding for the Local Government Aid (LGA) program as their top priority for the 2016 legislative session.

A bipartisan mix of city officials from throughout Greater Minnesota attended the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities’ (CGMC) annual fall conference this week in Alexandria, where the group set its legislative priorities for the upcoming year. Much of the discussion centered on the importance of LGA and need for additional funding to help keep cities strong.

“LGA is absolutely vital to our communities,” said Robert Broeder, mayor of Le Sueur and president of the CGMC. “Many cities rely on LGA to help pay for basic services like police and fire protection and street repairs. Without it, we’d be forced to either cut staff and services or drastically raise property taxes.”

To many city leaders, it appears LGA is currently at a crossroads. Efforts to increase LGA during the last legislative session were ultimately unsuccessful when the Legislature failed to pass an omnibus tax bill. While the Senate passed a bill that included a $45.5 million increase (the amount sought by the CGMC), the Republican-led House passed a separate bill that actually cut $84 million from the program by targeting the amount of aid that goes to the “first class” cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth.

“The bill that passed in the House last spring poses a fundamental threat to the LGA program,” said Hal Leland, mayor of Fergus Falls. “Arbitrarily cutting LGA from Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth does nothing to help cities in Greater Minnesota and erodes the integrity of the entire program. I can’t stress enough how harmful that would be to cities, businesses and residents all across the state.”

With the House and Senate versions of the tax bill still languishing in conference committee, the members of the CGMC have vowed to ramp up their efforts to garner legislative support for an LGA increase. In addition to trying to persuade the House GOP to reverse course on the issue, city leaders plan to work with Senate Democrats and Gov. Mark Dayton to ensure that they prioritize an LGA increase when the Legislature reconvenes in March.

“With the large budget surplus, the state is fortunate to have an opportunity to truly invest in the health of our communities,” Broeder said. “If our legislators won’t support an LGA increase now, will they ever?”

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 85 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota. Visit the CGMC online at greatermncities.org.

 

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Below is a press release that was sent to media state-wide. A PDF version is available here.

For Immediate Release
July 29, 2015

Contact: Julie Liew
651-259-1917
jlliew@flaherty-hood.com

Le Sueur Mayor Bob Broeder elected CGMC President

 ST. PAUL—Le Sueur Mayor Bob Broeder was elected to serve as president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) July 23 at the Coalition’s three-day summer conference in Duluth. As president, Broeder will help direct efforts to inform state legislators on issues unique to Greater Minnesota, such as Local Government Aid, economic development, transportation and environmental policy.

Broeder was elected by fellow mayors and city officials from across the state to lead the CGMC, long considered one of the most active, high-profile organizations to represent rural communities at the State Capitol.

“Bob has served on the CGMC Board of Directors for several years and has proven to be a committed spokesman on issues that are important to Greater Minnesota,” said Tim Flaherty, executive director of the CGMC. “He has been especially active on two of the CGMC’s key priorities, Local Government Aid and economic development, and I am confident that he will be an exceptional leader for the Coalition in the coming year.”

Ely City Council Member Heidi Omerza, whom Broeder will be replacing as president, echoed Flaherty’s comments.

“Always personable and knowledgeable about the issues, Bob is eager and willing to stand up for Greater Minnesota businesses and communities in any way he can,” said Omerza. “The Coalition is in good hands under his leadership.”

CGMC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 85 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota.

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Ely City Councilor Heidi Omerza was elected to serve as president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) Aug. 22 at the Coalition’s three-day summer conference in Rochester. As president, Omerza will help direct efforts to inform state legislators on issues unique to Greater Minnesota, such as property tax relief, economic development, transportation and environmental policy.

Omerza was elected by fellow mayors and city officials from across the state to lead the CGMC, long considered one of the most active, high-profile organizations to represent rural communities at the State Capitol.

“Heidi has served on the CGMC Board of Directors for several years and has made many important contributions to our organization,” said Tim Flaherty, executive director of the CGMC. “With her excellent communication skills and ability to work with a wide range of people, including lawmakers and other state leaders, I’m certain that she will serve the CGMC well over the next year.”

Glencoe Mayor Randy Wilson, whom Omerza will be replacing as president, echoed Flaherty’s comments.

“The CGMC is fortunate to have Heidi at its helm during the 2015 legislative session,” said Wilson. “She has long been a strong advocate for Greater Minnesota and she will continue to stand up for rural communities’ interests as president of our organization.”

CGMC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 85 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Coalition educates legislators about issues important to Greater Minnesota.

(For a PDF version of this press release, please click here.)

CGMC would like to welcome Lake City as its newest member! A former member of the Coalition, Lake City will rejoin the CGMC in 2011 and help strengthen our voice at the Capitol. Please join us in welcoming Lake City!