Economic Development Priorities
The short version of my economic plan is: mining, local business, economic diversification, building infrastructure, and investing in quality of life improvements.
I support miners. I support a way of life that is critical to the economic success of our region, and contributes to our nation’s infrastructure. On the Iron Range, we take pride in what we do. Let’s do mining, taconite and copper nickel, the best way possible. We can bring the message to St. Paul that this is good for all of us. In the big picture, it is good for our environment, after all, the 1200lbs of copper in those wind turbines has to come from somewhere, why not here where we have better labor and environmental standards than other places in the world.
I support organizations such as Better in our Backyard, an organization mostly of people in the mining industry, believes that by Mining in Northern Minnesota, we can bring jobs to our area and keep our water clean.
I live 15 minutes from PolyMet in Pike Township and drink out of a sand point. I have a very vested interest in making sure that PolyMet succeeds. That’s a community interest. I don’t own stock in the company, that’s a conflict of interest. Keeping our waters clean is a priority. I want to keep our hunting, fishing, and drinking water in the best shape possible.
My vision for economic development does not stop at mining, that is just where it starts.
One of the focuses of my economic plan is investing in local businesses that have roots in the community. As a former small business owner, I relate to the struggles that they face and am eager to foster people trying to start or grow their own businesses in the area.
We need to build a diverse economy that can offer jobs to a broad range of people, not everyone is going to work in the mines – like all the people we keep losing to jobs in the cities. I want us to be able to call a lost generation back home to the Range. But in order to do that we have to have living wage jobs for them. A balance of supporting local businesses that grow from within and attracting new industries to the area is important to our success.
Education is part of my infrastructure investment plan. Good roads and bridges are a must, but our infrastructure investment should include education. Whether you’re going into the trades or to become a doctor, it begins with education. I’d also like to see stronger trades programs back in our schools. We’ve got a shortage of people for those industries, and they bring good paying jobs with healthcare and benefits that can support a family. I will work with programs like the Applied Learning Institute to make sure we have top notch programs and the equipment they need.
Family is one of the top reasons why people move to a different area. So how do we bring new families to our area? As I have been out listening to people, quality education, broadband, and child care have been at the top of the list for interests in our communities.
We live in a day and age where industries such as healthcare and technology can be done from virtually anywhere, investment in quality of life elements becomes critical. It comes down to places to eat, things to do, and a sense of community that pulls us together.
It’s going to take a lot of work, but we have a great foundation. I look forward to working across the Range as we come together to build the future, creating an Iron Range where we, our children, and grandchildren can prosper.
Let’s do this together.