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Letter: Local volunteers had big impact in St. Paul

Citizen involvement in the legislative process is tremendously important. By working with engaged, motivated citizens, we can produce positive, forward-thinking legislation that truly makes an impact on peoples' lives.

That's why I'm so proud of the legislation we brought forward this year aimed at stopping the spread of invasive species in northern Minnesota lakes. For the past couple years, I have been working closely with a group of volunteers from the Brainerd Lakes Area Invasive Species Task Force, had come together to tackle this important issue. Together, we crafted a bill designed to help educate commercial dock installers on steps they can take to prevent the spread of invasive species as they travel from lake to lake every spring. While the measure was passed by both the House and Senate, it was added to the broader Game and Fish Omnibus bill, which, unfortunately, was vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty.

While I'm disappointed by the Governor's veto, it shouldn't overshadow the efforts of our dedicated local volunteers. Getting the bill approved by the Legislature wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of this volunteer task force, who contributed many hours to seeing this bill through to the Governor's desk. I especially want to thank Clyde Clement from the Pelican Lake Property Owners Association and Molly Zins of Pequot Lakes, Program Director at Minnesota Waters.

Oftentimes it takes more than one year effort to shepherd an idea all the way to through the Governor's final signature so I expect the bill will be reintroduced next year. With your continuing help, I have no doubt of the success of this important water quality initiative.

State Senator Mary Olson

District 4