A four-day conference of state legislators from midwestern states and Canada concluded in St. Paul on Wednesday.

Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, who chaired the event, said it attracted 630 people from 11 midwestern states and 4 Canadian provinces.

Speakers included Gov. Mark Dayton, explorer Ann Bancroft, biographer Jon Meacham and author Jonathan Haidt addressed the group.

In his remarks on Wednesday, Dayton focused on the difficulty of governing and trying to persevere in trying to bring about change.

"Only compelling ideas and bold initiatives, championed by strong, deeply committed women and men, can survive the political gauntlets they must travel," he said. "Now more than ever, politics and policy-making are not for the faint-hearted."

He quoted the late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy: "Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their peers, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. It is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change." 

"That's our challenge -- that's our test," he added. "That's the reason you're here -- that's the reason I'm here."


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