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