Grand Rapids Listening Tour: What we learned

When we left for Grand Rapids last Friday, I think the three of us weren’t quite sure what to expect. We wanted to talk to locals about what they were thinking, how they viewed St. Paul and the issues that were on the top of their minds.

Grand Rapids Listening Tour: The first step

On Friday we kicked off our listening tour up north by leaving St. Paul behind and caravanning up to Grand Rapids. We hail from Shoreview, Edina and Duluth, and we’ve chosen to leave our districts for a few days to begin talking to voters across Greater Minnesota.

DFL Legislators to hold Public Town Hall in Grand Rapids

St. Paul, Minn.—Sen. Jason Isaacson (DFL-Shoreview), Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina), and Sen. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) will be visiting Grand Rapids Saturday March 25. Along with taking a tour of the city, lead by local leaders, the three legislators will hold a Public Listening Session at the Sawmill Inn. All members of the public are invited to attend and share what issues they would like the State Legislature to focus on during the second half of the legislative session. All are welcome, this event is open to the press and public.


Who: Sen. Jason Isaacson (DFL-Shoreview), Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina), and Sen. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth)

What: Public Town Hall and Listening Session

Where: Sawmill Inn 2301 Highway 169 South, Grand Rapids, MN 55744

When: 10 AM – Noon Saturday, March 25, 2017


Sen. Simonson and Duluth elementary class to tour National Guard-run STARBASE

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The job growth rate for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-related careers is growing at a faster pace than most other careers in the U.S. It’ why STEM classes are championed in our public schools – and why Sen. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) is planning to attend a tour next week of STARBASE, a program designed to educate and inspire youth in STEM, funded by the Department of Defense and the Minnesota National Guard.

Sen. Simonson will be joined by other Duluth-area leaders as well as students and teachers from Lowell Elementary. Students will be participating in Mars Rover Programming where they use an engineering design process to design an autonomous programming solution using EV3 software to clear rocks and debris from Mars surface.

Simonson is authoring a bill to help fund STARBASE’s expansion into Duluth. Part of the request would help fund programming for students in grades 4-6.

STARBASE has several locations throughout the state and is planning to open a Duluth location on the 148th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard. Duluth students will learn scientific and engineering concepts integrated with math and technology – and will be able to transform concepts and ideas to physical applications. They will also explore careers and interact with members of the Minnesota Air National Guard and local scientists and engineers to see firsthand how STEM skills are used in the modern workplace.

Tour details are as follows:

  • Friday, March 24 from 10:15-11:00 a.m.
  • 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota National Guard. (4680 Viper St, Duluth, MN 55811)

Sen. Simonson broadband bill moves forward in Senate committee

A small town mayor, an IT professional and a rural county administrator were among the nearly half dozen Minnesotans who traveled long distances to speak in support of Sen. Erik Simonson’s (DFL-Duluth) bill to invest $100 million into broadband grants.