Business Leaders, Citizens Lobby for NE Minnesota Projects

By KBJR News 1

February 13, 2013 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 6:29 AM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Legislative priorities critical to Duluth and St. Louis County topped the agenda at the State Capitol on Wednesday.

They come in droves; leaders, citizens and students for the 16th annual Duluth & St. Louis County at the Capitol event.

"It's people power and it's good to see what really happens at the capitol, working with people from all walks of life," said Scott Yeazle, a Duluth resident.

In the past, the lobbying effort has helped secure financial foundations for the new Duluth International Airport terminal and other projects in the works like the DTA Transportation Hub and the ATWater Group Corporate Tower.

"We're here to say thanks, in many cases, for all the support we've received in the past," said Roger Wedin, the director of policy & education at the Duluth Chamber.

While It's non-bonding year for the legislature and with a tight state budget, there was still room to talk about the future.

"We're here to advocate for additional state money to put aside in waste water investments, in the state and nationally, we haven't invested enough," said Marianne Bohren, the executive director of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District.

Possible future projects discussed in one session with a lawmaker included funding for Wade Stadium and the NorShor Theater.

Mayor Don Ness also thanked lawmakers for the financial support they provided following last June's devastating flooding.

Leaders from outside St. Louis County also used Wednesday to their advantage to lobby for funding.

"It goes beyond Duluth and St. Louis County, it's really the region, the arrowhead region that we're representing here," Two Harbors Mayor Randy Bolen said, recalling a statement made last year by Sen. Roger Reinert.

St. Louis County and Duluth at the Capitol continued Wednesday with a Grand Reception at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, followed by a legislative breakfast with the Governor Thursday morning.

Kevin Jacobsen
Twitter: @KevinJacobsen
Facebook: @KevinJacobsenKBJR