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Reader's view: Duluth area well represented in St. Paul

Wednesday and Thursday, March 29-30 were Duluth and St. Louis County days at the state Capitol. You were well-represented in St. Paul with a great delegation led by Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, David Ross from the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, and St. Louis County Board Chairman Frank Jewell.

I was proud to reaffirm our administration's support for Northeastern Minnesota's legislative priorities. Gov. Mark Dayton and I continue to advocate for the Duluth District Energy project, the Minnesota Duluth Advanced Sciences building, and the Duluth International Airport project in our public works bill.

We also understand the importance of local government aid to Minnesota's regional centers. We have proposed an additional $30 million to help city and county governments provide essential services like police protection and snow removal.

During our meeting, I highlighted how our proposed investments in education would help prepare students in the Northland for good jobs and opportunity. Our budget proposal would provide Duluth public schools an additional $7.4 million in funding to hold down class sizes, maintain facilities, and expand access to early learning. Outside of Duluth, public schools in St. Louis County would receive $10 million more under our budget proposal.

I encourage all Minnesotans to contact our office at (651) 201-3400 with any questions or concerns. We're always eager to hear from you, especially as the current legislative session enters the home stretch.

The St. Louis County legislative delegation — including Sen. Tom Bakk, Rep. Rob Ecklund, Rep. Mary Murphy, Sen. David Tomassoni, Rep. Julie Sandstede, Rep. Jason Metsa, Rep. Mike Sundin, Sen. Erik Simonson, Rep. Jennifer Schultz, and Rep. Liz Olson — also is a great asset. These lawmakers do a tremendous job advocating at the state Capitol and are a great resource for any questions.

Tina Smith

St. Paul

The writer is lieutenant governor for the state of Minnesota.