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Your City - Your Business: Rally shows solidarity in opposition to foreign steel imports

I was ready. My speech was prepared and all but committed to memory. I was eagerly anticipating being a presenter within the Stand up For Iron Ore Community Rally. My excitement was amplified because this was to be a truly unique occasion: labor ...

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I was ready. My speech was prepared and all but committed to memory. I was eagerly anticipating being a presenter within the Stand up For Iron Ore Community Rally. My excitement was amplified because this was to be a truly unique occasion: labor leaders joining hearts and hands with iron mine owners and operators, politicians, laborers and their families, railroad and shipping executives and even a few Chamber executives.
We were coming together to emphasize the fact that a healthy iron ore mining industry is paramount to the overall health of the Iron Range, Duluth and the region. Our audience for this display of unity was the U.S. Department of Commerce and representatives from the departments of Defense and Interior.
These representatives were there at President Bush's request; their mission was to determine if domestic iron ore and steel producers are being seriously harmed by steel imports. Rally organizers intended to illustrate unequivocally to these representatives that the unbridled importation of foreign steel is driving U.S. producers of iron ore and steel out of business. Organizers wanted the visitors to see, firsthand, that northeast Minnesota cannot survive without a healthy iron ore industry.
The rally used powerful logic to support its contention that the importation of foreign steel must be curtailed. Testimonials from Congressman Jim Oberstar, John Brinzo (CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.), Sen. Paul Wellstone, Davis Helberg (executive director of the Duluth Seaway Authority) and others appeared to have a decided impact on the federal representatives.
As it turned out, the time allocated for my presentation was pre-empted by other speakers, who eloquently conveyed the need for a healthy domestic iron ore and steel industry. Still others, like Davis Helberg, illustrated the ways in which the Port of Duluth-Superior and its fellow North Shore ports function as economic appendages of the Iron Range. He demonstrated clearly that our success as an international port is dependent on the Iron Range's iron ore shipments.
At the conclusion of the rally, I left the event as I had entered it -- excited to be a part of an unprecedented gathering of labor leaders, business leaders and elected leaders. I left, too, with a deeper understanding of the vital economic ties between the Range and Duluth. Finally, I left filled with the pride that comes from being a member of this regionwide community called northern Minnesota.
David Ross is the President and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of
Commerce.

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