Join us on Tuesday August 7, 2012 at the new DFL Office in downtown Northfield for a chance to see our new digs. This event will also be fundraiser for Senate candidate Kevin Dahle. The new office is located at 504 Division Street S. join us between 7 and 9 pm!
It has been a busy stretch here the last few days. Yesterday morning I was on the road by 5:30am headed to Arlington for the Town and Country Farm Breakfast. Brad and Jackie Odenthal hosted a great event, serving eggs, sausage, fruit and pancakes. It was a pleasure to visit with the folks of the Arlington area. I didn’t have time to hear the polka band which was just beginning to warm up as I was on the road again by 7:30am headed for Marshall, Minnesota.
The American Legion Boys State is held in Marshall for the 4th straight year and I had the pleasure to speak to the 360 young men in attendance. Representative Ron Shimanski and I spoke about Minnesota Political parties and state government. I gave them my Civics lesson on the importance and responsibility of citizenship and fielded some great questions on several issues from these young leaders. It was exciting to once again be a part of Boys State having served as a Boys State Counselor for 10 years. It is a great program and I was honored to speak to the group. Director Mike Bredeck, the staff, and counselors do a great job with this program each and every year. Boys State recently celebrated 60 years in Minnesota.
Today I door knocked in Waterville. I enjoyed visiting with constituents on numerous issues including education, funding for nursing homes, and even the Minnesota Nurses Association strike. Tonight I will be headed to Cleveland for the Cherry Creek Days celebration parade beginning at 5:30pm.
This past Thursday I attended a meeting of the Highway 169 Corridor Coalition held in Belle Plaine. The mission of the group, which started a couple of years ago, is to bring attention to the needs of the corridor from Mankato in Blue Earth County to Bloomington and Edina in Hennepin County. In the spring of 2009, the U.S. Highway 169 Corridor Coalition was officially established to advocate for the corridor.
US-169 is a robust, multi-modal transportation corridor that is important to the state and the communities along the corridor. Challenges to its ongoing success include relieving congestion, especially near I-494, identifying US-169 as an important regional transit corridor, enhancements to important connections between rail, road, and transit within the corridor, safety, economic development along the route, and connecting the metro area to important SE Minnesota markets and businesses.
The coalition includes members from nearly all of the communities along the corridor and meetings include mayors, city council members, county engineers, county commissioners and administrators, Region 9 Development Commission representatives, and others with a vested interest in the corridor. On this particular evening, Senator Claire Robling, Representative Mike Beard, and I took questions about how we can cooperate in finding ways to move Hwy 169 projects and priorities forward. As legislators, we can assist with efforts to secure funding through federal dollars, the state general fund and bonding, county and city funding, and cooperative efforts between private and public entities at all levels.
There is great interest in the communities along the corridor to see projects completed. These projects include interchanges, bypasses, and reconfiguring of access and frontage roads. Cities like LeSueur see new upgrades such as the LeSueur Hill interchange as a way to promote economic development, increase employment, promote safety, connect the community, stabilize access to other highways, and support increased mobility along the corridor. Currently, as part of its efforts to ensure the continuing viability of US-169, the U.S. Highway 169 Corridor Coalition is building on extensive studies and plans that have already been completed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
To learn more about the coalition: http://www.us169corridorcoalition.com
The DFL convention came to a close last night shortly before midnight with Margaret Anderson-Kelliher securing the endorsement after a spirited battle for delegates. I returned home this morning, a bit weary but energized as well. The candidates were extremely passionate in speech after speech offering insight about what we could do as a state with new vision in the Governor’s office. When not working the crowd myself, I sat with friends and neighbors, District 25 delegates, for much of the day. One of those delegates, an eighteen year old and former student in my Civics class, experienced his first State party convention. Others had years and years of convention experience. Delegates had different ideas about who the next Minnesota Governor should be. Four of us sitting in close proximity, all cast different votes for different candidates: Rybak, Kelliher, Marty, and Thissen, eventually settling in on the two candidates left standing. When Rybak conceded at around 11:30pm we all shook hands, donned our Anderson-Kelliher buttons, headed into the Duluth evening knowing there would be much work left to do.
Growing up, the Public Library was always one of my favorite stops when headed downtown. It provided a lot of fond memories. I recall the joy in reading every one of the books in the Hardy Boys series. Having completed that goal, I even started reading the Nancy Drew mysteries (although I never shared that with the neighbor kids). Signing your name to the library card was always a source of pride and satisfaction. Seeing classmates, neighbors, town folks both young and old, gathered at the library was a comforting part of my childhood, an experience I will happily pass on to my own children.
Yesterday, I attended the grand opening of the Lonsdale Public library. Judging by the number of people in attendance, you knew that this brand new facility, with both library and a beautiful new community room, was a popular and welcome addition to their town. Neighbor to the Three Links Care facility, it provides a great space for citizens of all ages to come together to share not only the joy that books can bring, but a reason and opportunity to visit and share time with each other.
While the Northfield Carnegie Library will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this April, the brand new Lonsdale library becomes only the 2nd new library to be built in Minnesota in the past year. That is a great accomplishment. Whether brand new or a century old, the town library strengthens a community through literacy, providing access to information, intellectual freedom, and fostering lifelong learning and enrichment.
At a time when community budgets become strained due to economic realities, we need to do whatever we can to support these valuable community assets. The services, programs, and resources, and memories they provide are too valuable to take for granted.