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Senator's View: Nation must continue working together in 2022

From the column: "I’m optimistic about the year ahead, and I believe there is so much more we can achieve together."

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Dick Wright / Cagle Cartoons

As we enter 2022, and after gathering with our loved ones for the holidays, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on all we’ve accomplished and to look toward the road ahead.

I know we’ve all faced our own challenges. Health care workers have picked up extra shifts, kids have shown so much resilience, and so many moms and dads have been balancing their toddlers on their laps and their laptops on their desks.

On a personal note, we lost my dad this year. He grew up the son of an iron ore miner in Ely and attended a community college in northern Minnesota. He was so proud of our state, and he never forgot where he came from.

Through the tough times, we also saw what we can do when we put politics aside and focus on having each other's backs. We got the vaccine out to so many Minnesotans, we worked to keep our kids in school, and we made real strides in passing bipartisan legislation to address our nation’s infrastructure needs.

Over the years, as I’ve met with business owners, workers, and families in the Northland, I have heard about the need to improve the highways and bridges that connect our cities, upgrade the ports and railroads that link our supply chain, and expand the high-speed internet that connects people in northern Minnesota to the rest of the state and country.

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And this year, we did it. This legislation — supported by all Senate Democrats and 19 Senate Republicans and signed into law in November — is going to make sure we have infrastructure for the 21st century, not the last century. I was especially focused on making sure it included my plans to bring high-speed internet to every zip code.

Here’s what this bill means for northern Minnesota: fewer potholes, less traffic, and faster internet. I am laser-focused on making sure we get funding out the door and into communities across the Northland. That means everything from repairing bridges (including right here in Duluth) to highway projects across the Range and the Arrowhead, upgrading the Port of Duluth-Superior and airports, and continuing to push for rail funding, including the Northern Lights Express.

I’m optimistic about the year ahead, and I believe there is so much more we can achieve together. We can invest in apprenticeships, skills training, and community college to prepare our workers for the jobs of the future. We can bring down health care and child care costs in a real way. We can pave the way toward our clean-energy future.

Yes, we have big challenges, but I’m committed to finding common ground and getting results. In the words of Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, “We can see the lighthouse on the horizon.”

Amy Klobuchar represents Minnesota in the U.S. Senate. She wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.

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U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar

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