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Candidate's view: Investments like NRRI get us through tough times

I ’m proud to call Hermantown my home and to represent our District 3B at the Capitol. Our region changes all the time, which makes living here so interesting and fulfilling. Conversely, the perpetual beauty of our region inspires those of us who live here and creates a desired destination for our welcome visitors.

Rep. Mary Murphy

There are 134 state representatives who arrive in St. Paul each year with different perspectives. While serving at the Capitol, I have met individuals from all corners of the state. Legislators represent small towns, rural areas, large regional centers and metropolitan cities. We bring the voices of all our constituents to the House of Representatives. Despite our geographic and philosophical differences, we all have one goal: to serve our districts and the state as best as we can.

Legislators are accountable to our constituents, but the interests of the entire state factor into our decisions at the Capitol. We are advocates and custodians for our districts, but we also must consider Minnesota’s diverse and unique economy, weather, geography and population.

Our district has changed over the years, both in letter designation and in geographic makeup. (Every 10 years, after the census is completed, reapportionment occurs and legislative boundaries are altered, changing the physical area we represent.) I’ve always been fortunate to represent committed citizens who believe in government and who share their opinions with me. We’ve endured the bad times and praised the good. We’ve seen decline, growth and renewal.

The antidote to decline is taking action that will make a real difference. During the recession of the early 1980s, I advocated to create the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Over many years, it has proven itself to be a gem in Minnesota’s Northland as a powerhouse of economic development and environmental stewardship. During the past year alone, this organization of top-notch scientists and engineers assisted 123 businesses with technical research and development to help them succeed, and it provided tools for wise environmental decision-making to local, federal and international agencies.

We enjoy abundant natural resources, a well-educated workforce, beautiful shoreline and woodlands, fertile agricultural land, exciting tourist attractions, excellent educational institutions, top-quality health care and stable industries. Supporting applied research that gives real solutions, such as what the NRRI provides, is the type of investment that holds the ship steady in tumultuous times.

While we certainly have challenges, we will meet them head-on. We acknowledge there are still many of our neighbors not seeing the benefits of an improved economy. I feel a responsibility to listen and to continue to act. I have seen great things accomplished when we join together to make Minnesota a better place to live, work and raise a family. As we look ahead, I’m optimistic about the sustained successes of our district and the entire region. I am eager to pursue this quest.

Rep. Mary Murphy is the DFL incumbent in Minnesota House District 3B, which includes Hermantown, Proctor, Rice Lake and several townships that stretch from Midway to beyond the eastern end of Duluth. She wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune.