Iron Rangers Speak to the Capitol

By KBJR News 1

August 30, 2011 Updated Aug 30, 2011 at 9:21 AM CDT

MOUNTAIN IRON, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon holds office hours in Duluth a couple of times a month. This week, Iron Rangers get the chance to voice their ideas and concerns about business in the region.

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon is taking notes and hearing first hand from residents on the Iron Range.

Its part of the "Bringing the Capitol to Greater Minnesota" tour.

"It isn't always easy to give up, first of all just to pick up, leave a job and go down to the capitol for a day or two," Prettner Solon said. "There are a lot of arrangements that need to be made. For some people its long distance and so I figured we can bring the capitol to the people instead."

From labor and industry to natural resources and economic development, those who spoke at the meeting raised questions while lawmakers listened.

"They are hands on politicians and that's what's so important," Wendy Brown, a Mountain Iron resident said. "That's why the Iron Range gets out and votes."

Creating jobs and economic growth doesn't happen over night.

But creating an environment where businesses feel comfortable will lead to investment and job growth, according to Commissioner Mark Phillips of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

"Especially in the rural economies, usually you don't anticipate very often big outside influence, meaning some company coming from outside the state and landing," Phillips said. "So what you are looking for is what's driving the local economies and what could the state do to encourage local business to expand."

"Listen to the people, listen to business workers, leaders, students and see what's on their minds," Commissioner Tony Sertich of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board said. "We can do our best job when we know what's going on the ground and so we'll have an ear open for this entire tour."

The Lieutenant Governor along with officials from the I.R.R.R.B. will visit hospitals, mines and schools on the Iron Range Tuesday.

Prettner Solon held more than a dozen private meetings with local officials at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board office this afternoon.

The Iron Range is the fifth stop on the state wide tour.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch