Some key outstate players held a conference call and outlined priorities in a session that is already shaping up to be consequential for rural Minnesota.
Bradley Peterson, lobbyist for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities; Dan Dorman, executive director of the Greater Minnesota Partnership and a former state representative; and Marty Seifert, CGMC lobbyist and a former state legislator, laid out an outstate agenda that totals nearly half a billion dollars.
Peterson said the key priorities are local government aid, broadband access, job training, workforce housing and transportation.
They want local government aid of $45 million by 2017, which would return it to 2002 levels (not adjusted for inflation.) They're also asking for broadband access similar to last year's $20 million; job training; a workforce tax credit; and $400 million for outstate transportation, split evenly between local roads and busier arteries they call "corridors of commerce" such as Highway 23.
Given House Republican victories in outstate Minnesota, where they flipped 10 districts, plus Senate DFL Majority Leader Tom Bakk's rural geographic base, many Capitol observers believe outstate is well positioned to do well this session.