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A collaborative local voice

Elected officials are accustomed to multiple competing special interest groups concurrently lobbying them on behalf of individual state bonding requests. Most often, these interest groups have opposing and conflicting requests of these elected officials. There are old, tired rivalries, business vs. labor and government vs. private sector, which elected officials must navigate during each legislative session.

Imagine how atypical and encouraging it was for our elected officials to witness the collaborative effort recently embraced at our "Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol" gathering.

On March 23, 470 of our brothers and sisters from St. Louis County gathered at the Capitol to host 85 state legislators and their staff for an evening reception. Showcased at the reception were 54 exhibits which highlighted various projects and initiatives from throughout beautiful St. Louis County. It was an enjoyable way to educate our elected officials regarding our region's bonding requests, as well as our shared accomplishments.

The following morning, 270 of your neighbors gathering for a breakfast program that included remarks from Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Tom Bakk, Mayor Emily Larson, Rep. Jason Metsa, Sen. Roger Reinert, County Commissioner Steve Raukar and Duluth City Council President Zack Filipovich.

These elected officials expressed their collective appreciation for the collaborative approach employed by participants involved in Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol. Our requests for state bonding were cooperatively made from one source, community and business leaders from St. Louis County.

It was readily apparent at the Capitol that Duluth and St. Louis County are committed to working together as well as with our partners in St. Paul. We recognize that a strong Duluth is good for St. Louis County, just as a strong St. Louis County is good for all of Minnesota.

We ended our time at the Capitol by thanking our state partners for their past support. Our region has been abundantly successful generating state bonding support for local projects. Our collaborative appeal for additional state bonding is reason to look forward to positive outcomes this legislative session.

David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751 or dross@duluthchamber.com.

David Ross

David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751.

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