ST. PAUL, MINN – Dozens of plaid-clad Bemidji residents descended on St. Paul capitol grounds on Wednesday for the 10th annual Bemidji Day on the Hill. As one of the most brightly colored days on the hill, legislators, staff and Bemidji residents all enjoy donning their red and black buffalo plaid accessories for the day. Senator Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids) welcomed the contingent to the capitol, alongside other local legislators Rep. John Persell (DFL-Bemidji) and Rep. Dave Hancock (R-Bemidji).
“I feel honored to represent an area that is so enthusiastic and invested in the legislative process. Bemidji Day on the Hill has become so popular, all legislators enjoy being part of the day,” said Senator Saxhaug. “I’m also doubly excited this year, as I’m carrying several bills this session that will greatly help the Bemidji area.”
Saxhaug also presented his Rural Career Counselor bill to the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on Wednesday. The bill aims to address gaps in the labor force by bringing together students, businesses and schools. The legislation hopes to connect young people to the jobs available in their own communities by creating nine new career counselors at workforce development centers scattered across the state. It also includes an annual appropriation of $10 million to the Minnesota Youth Program for employment and career counseling to young Minnesotans. The bill is a bipartisan measure supported by members of the Rural Task Force.
“We know that businesses across Greater Minnesota are struggling to find the skilled labor they need to expand and grow. This legislation is directly aimed at helping to address this workforce development need,” said Saxhaug.
On Tuesday, Saxhaug presented legislation to the Senate E-12 Policy and Budget Committee about a modest funding proposal for the Bemidji-based Headwaters Science Center. Headwaters staff was also on hand to testify and explained that the non-profit center served more than 4,000 Northwoods students, primarily K-4 students. The Center, which is asking for a total of $100,000 in grant money for 2016 and 2017, says school districts in the region are hungry for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming, and Headwaters offers a great, local opportunity for that learning to take place.
“Bemidji and surrounding communities truly appreciate this kind of education and opportunity. The small price tag Headwaters is requesting will make a big difference in the lives of thousands of North Central Minnesota students,” said Saxhaug.
Senator Saxhaug can be reached at Sen.Tom.Saxhaug@senate.mn or by calling his office at (651) 296-4136.