May 1, 2015
As session wanes, rural legislators urged to follow ‘pathway’ to success for Greater Minnesota
ST. PAUL—With less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session, business and city leaders in Greater Minnesota want rural legislators to know that they still have time to take advantage of a rare opportunity to bring economic growth and stability to the communities they represent.
“Since January we’ve been saying that this is a unique session in that we have a large state surplus at a time when Greater Minnesota’s needs have really been thrust into the limelight,” said Heidi Omerza, a city council member from Ely and president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC). “Now that the session is winding down, it’s time for our rural legislators to grab this opportunity to accomplish important things for Greater Minnesota communities and businesses.”
This week, Omerza and Gary Evans, president of the Greater Minnesota Partnership, the CGMC’s sister organization focused on economic development issues, sent a letter and accompanying chart to rural legislators outlining a “pathway” leading to a positive session outcome for Greater Minnesota. The letter lists increased funding for Local Government Aid, workforce housing, broadband expansion, environmental regulatory reform, and funding for the Corridors of Commerce program and city streets among their top priorities.
“While there have been bumps along the way, the legislature is on firm footing to make progress toward our goals,” the letter reads. It goes on to note that the goals for Greater Minnesota remain “reasonable and achievable” and can be reached by taking a mix of the best that the Governor, Senate and House all have to offer in their respective proposals.
“Our legislators need to know that there is a path they can follow to deliver a good session for their districts,” Evans said, referring to why he and Omerza felt compelled to lay out their organizations’ end-of-session goals in clear detail.
He added, “I’m still hopeful that our rural legislators will work together to make this a successful session.”
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.
The Greater Minnesota Partnership is a nonprofit corporation devoted to advocating for state economic development policies and resources that benefit Greater Minnesota. Its members consist of businesses, chambers of commerce, economic development authorities, cities and nonprofit organizations from throughout Greater Minnesota. For more information about the GMNP, please visit gmnp.org.