This month, leaders, businesses, and institutions from the City of Duluth and St. Louis County, MN descended on the Minnesota Capitol to advocate for our region with the Duluth & St. Louis County at the Capitol Days events. It was a powerful couple of days that would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work from the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce staff: Aubrey Hagen, Christina Johnson, MBA, Kathleen Privette, Lori Steinbach, and Martha Bremer. They are the best.
Additionally, board chair Daniel Fanning, policy chair Renee Mattson, and military affairs committee chair Jennifer J. Cady played large roles in the effort. Finally, this effort is due in large part because of our sponsors – THANK YOU!
Our legislative advocacy targeted investments and public policy beneficial to our region. This included:
- Support of Northeastern Minnesota’s bonding requests
- Replenishing the UI Trust Fund to avoid a tax hike on our small businesses
- Frontline worker pay
- Support for broadband investment to deploy modern technology that will bring us closer together and open new doors for economic activity, education, and community health
- Workforce development initiatives including: investment in early childcare and education; equity and inclusion efforts; and housing
- Investment in marketing Minnesota’s business and economic environment (Launch MN program through MN DEED)
- Public safety
- Funding to modernize the infrastructure at the 148th Fighter Wing
- Updating airport property tax policy
- Incentivizing economic development opportunities
- Healthcare provider initiatives
- Arts and entertainment economic expansion
In the long-term, our success very well could be measured by investments into our region. Yet, in the short-term, if success is measured by our ability to deliver an inspirational, aspirational, and attainable vision; if success is measured by unifying our voice; and if success is measured by the palpable joy people experienced during the Grand Reception (which felt like a reunion masquerading as a networking and advocacy event), then I’d say we succeeded.
Big thanks to our Legislative Breakfast speakers: Mayor Emily Larson, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, County Board Chair Paul McDonald, Representative Liz Olson, and Congressman Pete Stauber. Each of your remarks were appreciated and hit important notes.
To capstone the event, we were able to honor the legacy of Senator David J. Tomassoni. He has given more than 30 years of fierce advocacy for the people, places, institutions, businesses, and values of NE MN. We are forever grateful to you. Your son, Dante E Tomassoni, was gracious in accepting a lifetime legacy award on your behalf.
Thank you to everyone who joined our efforts. While we will continue our work at the Capitol this session, we can’t wait for you to join us again next year!
Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce
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Video created by Story North Productions
What is Duluth & St. Louis County at the Capitol?
The Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol Days is the largest regional advocacy event in the Minnesota. The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce works with the City of Duluth and St. Louis County, along with several community stakeholders, to bring the voice of Northeastern Minnesota to elected officials. Together with a unified voice, the event aims to share community challenges, strengths, and how we seek their support during each legislative session.
This event traditionally attracts 500 people from Northeastern Minnesota. Throughout the day, Duluthians and Northeastern Minnesotans meet face-to-face with legislators from all over Minnesota. The same evening, legislators and their staff join the contingency at an informal reception designed to promote continual dialogue. As a result of this event, lawmakers at the Capitol hear about our region’s legislative initiatives directly from voters.