500+ Duluth, St. Louis County leaders advocate at the capitol starting Wednesday

Duluth and St. Louis County Days
Duluth and St. Louis County Days(Northern News Now)
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 11:48 AM CST
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ST.PAUL, MN. (Northern News Now) - The 26th annual Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol Days kicked off in St. Paul on Wednesday.

The Duluth Area Chamber has partnered with the City of Duluth and St. Louis County to bring over 60 key partner organizations to advocate for various legislative priorities to benefit the northeastern Minnesota region.

Daniel Fanning, the vice president of policy for the Duluth Area Chamber, believes the timing of this year’s Capitol Days works in their favor.

“For us, it is a really unique year in the sense there is a record budget surplus at the state,” Fanning said. “There is a lot of new legislators, and there is a lot of needs in the Northland - everything from housing to workforce needs.”

With Minnesota’s $17.6 billion record-breaking budget surplus, leaders want support on policies including housing, childcare, economic development and workforce development.

“A lot of the priorities are coming off of the pandemic, knowing that we have great employers who are expanding here in Duluth, including Cirrus, Essentia, St. Luke’s and Altec,” Fanning said. “In order for us to meet those workforce needs, we need housing, we need childcare.”

Fanning said local community members are also hoping for a bonding bill for bonding projects in the St. Louis County Area because the bill wasn’t passed last year.

“We are working with the 148th Fighter Wing. Obviously, they do a great service to our community, our state and our nation, and they have some outdated hangars up there.”

To update the hangars, advocates say one of their top priorities is to help obtain a $25 million request.

Community members will be lobbying at the capitol Wednesday with the grand reception in the evening, combining all 500+ Northland voices in one room.

Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol Days conclude with the legislative breakfast Thursday morning at the InterContinental St.Paul Riverfront Hotel.