Having our collective voice heard at the CapitolIt is the largest and the most ambitious annual community gathering at the Minnesota State Capitol. It was also the first of its kind when it began in 1997. Other communities have attempted to replicate its boldness and its effectiveness — but to no avail. I am speaking of Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol.
By: David Ross, for the Duluth Budgeteer News
It is the largest and the most ambitious annual community gathering at the Minnesota State Capitol. It was also the first of its kind when it began in 1997. Other communities have attempted to replicate its boldness and its effectiveness — but to no avail. I am speaking of Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol.
For the 15th consecutive year, Northlanders will soon converge at the Capitol with one goal: to have our collective voice heard by Minnesota’s elected officials. Last year, 500 community members gathered in St. Paul to advocate for issues and initiatives important to our Northland communities. We will do so again Wednesday, Feb. 29 and Thursday, March 1.
We have the opportunity to be architects of Duluth’s future by advocating for state legislative funding support for our region’s construction of public building projects. Our region’s needs are many. The state’s resources are inordinately limited. This is our shared challenge — ensuring state senators, state representatives and the governor are fully aware of our region’s funding needs.
This year, we will advocate for state support to assist in funding these needed public building projects: the Duluth Transit Authority’s regional multimodal transportation center, UMD’s American Indian learning center, Duluth’s Wade Stadium renovation, St. Louis County’s corridor along Kensington Drive from Kennedy Memorial Drive to Hoyt Lakes, along with the Arrowhead Regional Correction’s Northeast Regional Corrections Center improvements.
We will also encourage decision-makers to ensure that the Duluth Seaway Port Authority receives support for its intermodal project. Additionally, we will advocate for our region to receive a fair allocation of the state’s wastewater infrastructure fund. Finally, Lake Superior College is requesting funding to support the preservation, remodeling and modernization of its beautiful campus.
While the state’s financial challenges are many, we are optimistic we will secure funding support for some of our proposed projects. We have a track record of success. Thanks to support from the legislature in 2009 and 2010, Duluth’s International Airport will soon have a new passenger terminal. Recent legislative support allowed for the recent opening of Lake Superior College’s new health and science building. State funding also made possible the construction of the DECC’s AMSOIL Arena.
In conclusion, Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol is a bold and ambitious initiative that brings out the best in individuals and the best from our community, bringing us together at the same time. It is an ideal combination. Contact us at the Chamber at 722-5501 or duluthchamber.com if you would like to learn more about how you can join us as we have our collective voice heard at the Capitol.
David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.