Roger Reinert is a Duluth resident.
- Member for
- 3 years 9 months
As human communication continues to evolve, researchers and others have remarked on how these changes affect society. I have noticed this evolution myself in the way constituents choose to make contact. I average around 100 or so emails per day during a legislative session. The overwhelming majority of these are form emails. In that dynamic, even emails with a personal note and a few details about an issue will grab my attention. In the digital age, what stands out most is a handwritten letter and the personal effort it represents.
Perhaps until Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leaves office, Minnesota should change the signage along our shared border to, "Open for learning." Four years ago, our neighbors to the east went through a very tumultuous period following Walker's proposal to end collective bargaining in the state. It appears they may be headed in that direction again. Last week, Walker announced his budget proposals that included $300 million in cuts to the University of Wisconsin system, which comprises 13 four-year and 13 two-year campuses.
Last fall, Duluth Mayor Don Ness shared with us that he would not be seeking a third term. Since then, many have encouraged me to give the idea of running for mayor serious thought. It is not a pursuit one should take lightly, and I spent a good deal of time in thought, prayer, conversation and reflection. The city of Duluth is headed in a very positive direction. We repeatedly make national top-10 lists for great places to live, visit and recreate. More importantly, as a community we have a strong sense of who we are, a belief in where we are headed and an optimism about our future.
This past spring, the Duluth Public Library launched the very first seed library in the state, an innovative way for neighbors and community members to share one another's plant seeds through a central hub. This summer the exchange went off without a hitch. Two hundred people exchanged around 800 seed packets.
It's an exciting time to be a Duluthian. Many grew up in a time of economic stagnancy, or worse, in a city in decline. But as the state's economy roars back to life, Duluth businesses and residents have been leaders of the pack. This enthusiasm has included a focus on West Duluth and the St. Louis River corridor. We already have much to love and appreciate because we are situated on two bodies of water, Lake Superior and the St. Louis River.
Millions of dollars are lost as grain and other commodities wait for shipment on Minnesota rail systems that continue to experience significant backlogs. The problem isn't a new one, and commodities aren't the only thing riding the rails to be affected. Amtrak passengers also feel the pain caused by rail shipping delays. The addition of oil cars originating in North Dakota clearly has been a factor. At a joint Minnesota Senate and House hearing last week, legislators heard these complaints from a long line of power companies, farmers, steel industry executives and Amtrak officials.
As the last glorious days of summer melt into autumn and families settle back into their school routines, now seems an apt time to talk about Duluth Public Schools and the many educational changes that are going into effect at all Minnesota schools this fall. As a progressive city that has a strong history of investing in our schools, I'm pleased to say many of these changes have already been implemented at Duluth schools.
“When a crisis confronts the nation, the first question often asked by policymakers is: ‘What naval forces are available and how fast can they be on station?’” – Admiral Carlisle A.H. Trost As many Duluthians know, I have been an actively serving member of the United States Navy Reserves for several years and am proud to have been recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander. So it should be no surprise that I am thrilled Duluth has been chosen as one of only six cities in the country to host a Navy Week in 2014. Navy Week Duluth will take place Aug. 18-24.
Lately, Minnesota has been heaped upon with economic honors. Most recently, the Minneapolis- St. Paul region’s 4 percent unemployment rate in May was ranked the lowest among U.S. metros with a population of 1 million or more, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Significant, given where other parts of the country remain.
Coming off our newly minted status as the “Best Town” in America, according to Outside Magazine, I am looking forward to getting a street-level view of our gorgeous city this weekend at Grandma’s Marathon. You can feel the excitement in the air as the weather warms up and Duluthians come out in full force to enjoy the glorious summer months and mingle with the thousands of tourists that descend to take in Duluth and the North Shore. This weekend will not be my first Grandma’s Marathon race. As many of you know, I am an avid runner and always look forward to racing on my home turf.