The following statement was issued this morning by Timothy Strand, Mayor of St. Peter and President of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities:

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is excited to be joined by gubernatorial candidates Mark Dayton and Tom Horner for a forum on rural issues at our annual summer conference, Thursday, August 19, at 4:00 p.m. in Winona. We look forward to hearing how their visions for improving the economic viability of our communities fit into their overall solutions for bridging the state’s $6 billion budget gap.

There is no better opportunity to explain why you will be a champion for rural Minnesota than by debating the other candidates for governor in front of the mayors, city council members, and city staff that make up the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. That is why we are disheartened that Rep. Emmer has declined this opportunity. We hope Rep. Emmer reconsiders his invitation and joins Mark Dayton and Tom Horner in an open and honest conversation on the issues that will affect the 2.4 million Minnesotans living in greater Minnesota. We also hope Rep. Emmer reevaluates the message that his absence at this critical forum sends to greater Minnesota communities.