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HUBBARD COUNTY DFL: For economic boom, return to DFL roots

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Gov. Tim Walz has received a lot of abuse from Republicans lately. The billboards, signs and

printed face masks are everywhere: “Rocks and Cows!” “Recall Walz!” “My governor is an

idiot!” “Governor Walz—Northern MN is trying to see things from your point of view! (complete

with an obscene image.)”

What did he do to merit this kind of abuse? There seem to be two major complaints. First, the governor has used his emergency powers to impose a mask mandate and restrictions on the size of indoor gatherings to fight the pandemic.

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Second, he has allowed the Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) to appeal the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approval of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement.

Both of these actions are well within the governor’s constitutional mandate, but local

Republicans have taken a page from their party’s obstructionist handbook to score political

points with their base.

District 2A Rep. Matt Grossell blames Walz for “killing our Main Street businesses,” while 2B Rep. Steve Green “blasts Gov. Walz for again obstructing the Line 3 project.” State Sen. Paul Utke recently joined the retribution against Walz by voting for the ouster of Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley.

If the governor had allowed the PUC’s decision to stand, would our so-called representatives

stop their attempts to thwart his leadership on everything? Absolutely not. They all voted against

the bonding bill, which would have provided construction jobs this year for area workers. They

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would have only boasted how they made the governor knuckle under to their demands.

As president, Joe Biden has pledged spending $2 trillion to decarbonize our economy, which

would create hundreds of thousands of construction jobs – the kind of spending that would kickstart the economy on the road to recovery post the COVID-19 crisis.

A huge sector of our area’s economy is construction jobs. It would be nice to share in the economic boom that construction and clean-energy jobs would create. These jobs would be locally based and permanent, unlike the temporary, low-level jobs that a Line 3 replacement project would create.

Expecting Utke, Grossell and Green to reach across the aisle and seek bipartisan solutions to

our problems is a false hope. The only hope for economic improvement in our area lies with the

voters themselves. Until we send legislators who craft bills that benefit their constituents economically – rather than blindly following their party leaders’ obstructionism – and form majority coalitions to get things done, our local economy will continue to suffer. Until the rural legislative districts in northwestern Minnesota return to their DFL roots, we are going to remain stuck in the economic doldrums.

Editor’s note: Both the Hubbard County DFL and Hubbard County Republicans are invited to write columns for the Enterprise’s Opinion page.

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