Republican state Rep. Pat Garofalo on Friday is to talk energy at a national American Legislative Exchange Council conference in Missouri.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to address the American Legislative Exchange Council to speak about America's energy future," Garofalo, R-Farmington, said in a statement. "Energy policy impacts all Minnesotans and leaders at the national, state, and local level must focus on maintaining the safety and reliability of our energy infrastructure."

Garofalo has been a Minnesota chair of ALEC, a conservative think tank that has received sharp criticism from Democrats and others for its views and the way it works with the nation's lawmakers. A former House education committee chair, Garofalo has also served on the group's education task force.

In a release, Garofalo described ALEC as: "the nation's largest public-private partnership with well over 2,000 members. The Council is a non-partisan, non-profit group working to advance free-market principles, and brings together members of the public and private sector include legislators, business leaders, and members of the general public."

A few years ago, the New York Times described it as a "stealth business lobbyist," that has "a sophisticated operation for shaping public policy at a state-by-state level."

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