ST. PAUL, MINN. – Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids) and Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) announced the formation of a rural legislative task force on Friday. The bipartisan panel of eight Senators will work this fall to identify specific needs for rural Minnesota.
“The needs of Greater Minnesota can be very different than those in the metro area,” said Saxhaug. “A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in areas that have a large amount of land and small population density. From the forests of northeastern Minnesota to the farmland in the south, providing economic growth and quality education in rural areas is a much different challenge than in the Twin Cities.”
Added Rosen, “We need to take a serious look at the needs and differences between our rural communities and the seven-county metro area. Whether it is affordable and accessible health care, nursing home access for our elderly that want to stay in their community, or safe roads in rural areas, I look forward to working toward solutions we can implement to help the smaller communities around our state.”
The members include DFL Senators Tom Saxhaug, Kent Eken, Vicki Jensen and Kevin Dahle. Republican members include Senators Julie Rosen, Gary Dahms, Bill Weber and Paul Gazelka. The group will concentrate on topics relating to education, health care and nursing home access, transportation, economic development, and property taxes.
The task force has meetings planned throughout the fall and into December and will identify key issues that impact rural areas. Their goal is to prepare legislation before the Legislative Session begins in January 2015.
The first meeting will be on August 27 at 10:00 a.m. in room 112 of the State Capitol Building.