Weigh in on local issues on Township Day

Minnesota's townships will hold their annual meeting on Tuesday, March 14.

Minnesota's townships will hold their annual meeting on Tuesday, March 14.
Enterprise file photo

Citizens have an opportunity to get directly involved in local government.

Minnesota's townships will hold their annual meeting on Tuesday, March 14.

Residents are urged to attend Township Day and voice opinions about local issues with other residents.

In addition, many of the state’s townships hold their officer elections on Township Day.

“Township Day 2023 will put grassroots democracy on display. We encourage all residents to show up, express themselves and weigh in on topics like their tax levy and local elections,” said Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) executive director Jeff Krueger.


“If you live in a township, please participate in your township’s annual meeting on Tuesday, March 14. You can find the location and time by checking the published notice in the local newspaper, township website or by contacting the township clerk.”

Townships represent “an extraordinary form of local government. Township Day annual meetings are your chance to participate in grassroots government,” concluded Krueger.

Direct democracy in action

Several townships in Hubbard County held elections in Nov. 2022, but no candidates filed for the vacant supervisor, clerk or treasurer seats.

Kim Tomlinson is Hendrickson Township’s new clerk. “I recently moved to Hendrickson Township and thought it would be good to get actively involved in my new community,” she said. “Fortunately for me, I’m retired and have time. For many others, like our previous clerk, the workload of a full-time job leaves little time for outside activities, let alone community involvement. That’s how I got here.”

Tomlinson said her husband nominated her.

“In any case, I truly appreciate the opportunity to serve my small community, even in a small way,” she said. “In the future, we may all look back and wish we had been more involved when times get tough. That is how folks made it through hard times, like the Depression. A good base of local contacts and knowing what is going on in our town. These are things you don’t learn on the nightly news.”

Minnesota’s diverse townships

There are approximately 918,256 township residents in 1,777 townships in Minnesota. Townships exist in every area of the state, including the metropolitan area. Some, with populations of more than 1,000, function in much the same way as a small city, says MAT. While many townships remain rural agricultural centers, others host a variety of residential, light commercial and industrial development.

The Township Day tradition

According to MAT, the tradition of a town meeting has roots in colonial America. New England town meetings gave citizens a way to exercise local authority. Those meetings were especially important in the development of democracy because it emphasized problem-solving through group efforts.


Grassroots democracy

Townships were the original form of local government in Minnesota, established in the 1800s when Congress ordered a survey that divided the Minnesota territory into 36-square-mile tracts of land. Today, the term “township” generally refers to public corporations governed by a local board of supervisors and created to provide services to residents.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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