Another successful Legislative Action Day is in the books! On Wednesday, more than 115 city leaders from across Greater Minnesota traveled to St. Paul for our annual “day at the Capitol” lobbying event. Thank you to everyone who joined us!
The day kicked off with a welcome from CGMC President and Willmar City Councilor Audrey Nelsen and a legislative update from CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson, followed by presentations on our top issues (bonding, water infrastructure, environmental concerns, child care, the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program and housing) by CGMC staff.
We were excited to have several distinguished guests address our members at the event. First, Gov. Walz made a brief appearance in which he stressed ongoing support for Local Government Aid, as well as the importance of passing a large bonding bill that addresses critical needs such as wastewater infrastructure, transportation and higher ed facilities. He also alluded to some bills floating around the Legislature related to building and zoning, noting that he does not support legislation that would take away a local government’s ability to make those sorts of decisions.
Following the Governor, there was a panel discussion featuring Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake), Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) and House Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu (R-North Branch). Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) was originally slated to appear, but she was unable to attend.
Among the three legislative leaders, there was general support for a bonding bill, but there were differing opinions on how large it should be. There was also disagreement regarding transportation, with Sen. Kent arguing that the state cannot solve its transportation issues through bonding alone, and Rep. Neu countering that the state cannot rely on taxes to resolve the issue either.
The Governor and legislative leaders also made it clear that COVID-19 was top of mind, noting that they will continue to listen to state health experts, monitor the situation closely and make decisions as the crisis warrants additional response.
After lunch, CGMC members spent the rest of the afternoon meeting with legislators and talking about the issues that are most important to Greater Minnesota communities. The lobbying packet that was given to CGMC members and shared with legislators can be found here.
As is CGMC tradition, the day was capped off with a legislative reception and dinner at Mancini’s, where a bipartisan mix of more than 50 legislators representing both rural and urban districts mingled with CGMC members over a meal of steak or walleye.
You can see more photos from Legislative Action Day on our Facebook page.