Local leaders wrap up trip to the Capitol with breakfast

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 4:04 PM CST
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ST. PAUL, MN -- The 25th annual Duluth and St. Louis County Days at the Capitol wrapped up Thursday with a Legislative breakfast.

The annual event invites city leaders, lawmakers, business owners, and county officials to the State Capitol to discuss the region’s yearly legislative priorities.

“This was really the wrap-up to what has been months of planning, conversation and intention with the chamber, St. Louis county and the city of Duluth to advocate for our region,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson.

This year, leaders focused on legislation that could benefit the workforce and local childcare.

“We think it’s going to create the greatest area to raise children and where we have excellent jobs that pay well. We have economic growth and opportunity. You have safety, we have education, we have health care. And we’re proud of that,” said Matt Baumgartner with the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.

Baumgartner said the event is always important to the city, but this year’s Duluth and St. Louis County Days are especially important.

A state budget surplus of $9.25 Billion means more money available to help the community recover.

Baumgartner believes the support they got this week is promising.

“The stakes are higher this year. We believe what we’re asking for are the right things. And we’ve been met with a lot of support from legislators both locally from our area and statewide,” he said.

According to Larson, the purpose of the event is to keep state lawmakers up to date on the specific needs of the region.

By meeting face to face, lawmakers can hear directly from the source what needs to be done to help communities in St. Louis County.

“We know that we have the right stories and the right information to advocate for the goals of our region,” Larson said.

She’s optimistic their visit did its job.

“We’re really glad that it’s been so successful this year,” she said.

Deb DeLuca with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority says the event brings together different sectors of St. Louis County and hones in on the things that stand to benefit the entire community.

“We are able to advocate collectively for the projects that are important to the region. And it may be the ports project, it may be the city’s project, it may be WLSSD’s project, but they all matter to the region and we get to of course have strength in numbers.”

This year marks the first year the event has been back in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday’s breakfast also featured a tribute to Senator David Tomassoni, who recently announced he’d be finishing his career in the next election after being diagnosed with ALS last year.

Visitors said they admired Tomassoni for his ability to work across party lines to help make St. Louis County a better place.

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