Editor’s note: Republican Spencer Igo is running against Democrat Julie Sandstede for District 7A State Representative. Both candidates were offered a chance to write a column for this edition of MINE.
Mine Our Future Mesabi, the Ojibwe word for giant, for which our great range was given its name. There really is no better word to define our home, communities, and story.
The Iron Range has been the American springboard to creating the country we love and know today. From defending the freedom of the free world in two world wars, to building a nation, then building the city skylines we recognize today and the railroads that connected our coasts.
We the people of the Iron Range are responsible for the amazing feats that have become known as the American Experiment. Our Range is one of the greatest examples of the great American melting pot. Up to 43 different ethnicities left their homes around the world for a better life in the United States and came to a place that has become all our homes.
What did they do when they got here though? They built vibrant and diverse communities around helping their fellow man to conquer a remote and foreign landscape. They became the first Rangers. Then, as they began to make the land theirs, they discovered what would become our legacy, iron ore. The ore that would change the rugged cold land from a place of early settlers from around the globe, to a place with a name that embodies who these men and women were and what they were about to do.
We became the Iron Range.
For over 140 years we have now been mining our great range. Through the good times and the bad, we have continued doing what we have always done, mined. From those first miners, to those still mining today, they all practice what I see as a common theme. They are mining their future. The first miners did exactly what our miners of today are doing. Building our communities, taking care of each other, raising families, and building our nation.
As it is always said, mining is our past, present, and future. Once more cementing the fact that we have been mining our future. We have been mining that future while leading our country and world. There exists no better example of mining than the Iron Range.
Our communities and their partnership with the hardworking men
and women of labor have built relationships and mines that continue to produce the best ore. The companies that mine our range do so in partnership with labor in a way that has elevated and made our communities strong.
Apart from mining with the greatest workforce, we have done so with the utmost respect and awareness for our environment. We have done so because it is our home. We here on the range know there is only one way to mine, and that is the right way. The environmental regulations we have made part of our mining have become the benchmark for the globe.
Don’t just take my word for it, look at the facts.
The cleanest drinking water and most abundant wildlife in the state exists here on our great range. Now we must look to what’s next.
How will we continue to “Mine our Future” on the Iron Range? Well, the answer has always been known to all of us and that is to do what we do best, mine. From the iron in our hills, to the critical minerals of copper, nickel, and more, these are the god given natural resources that we have been tasked with to deliver to the world. Everything that is a part of our modern life and what is needed to build the world of tomorrow is waiting just beneath our feet. We here on the range know our craft, we know our past, and we know our future.
Our hurdle to this task is those who don’t understand who we are and what we are going to do for our world. That is why I have chosen to write this column today. To all of us reading the quarterly MINE Edition, we all love, respect, and support every aspect of mining.
We are not in a fight to educate our neighbors on how we are mining our future, but those outside of our home.
When I was first elected in November of 2020, one of the first pieces of legislation I worked to draft was a resolution with the title of this article, “Mine Our Future”. In the state legislature, a resolution is much different than a bill. A bill becomes law upon passage, but a resolution becomes agreed upon understanding and respect for an issue or an event. That is why I wrote “Mine Our Future” as a resolution, to use a tool to help educate, build relationships, and inspire the passion that we have for our home to other elected leaders from across our state. Mining our future is how we can bring all our best days to reality.
Not just here on the range, the state of Minnesota, the United States, but the world.
That is what is at stake here.
I write this column not to tell the story that I have been telling, but to inspire you reading this that this is our time to stand united in our passion for our home. To deliver what we have in the best place in the world to mine with some of the greatest deposits ever found to man, we must all become one united voice for our home.
There has never been a more urgent and pressing time for us to come together. Like the name of our home, Mesabi, we must all become giants. We must become giants for those that came before us, for our communities, our state, our country, and the future of all our children.
It is time to let the world know that we, the men and women of Minnesota’s Iron Range, the Mesabi Range, are the giants that will mine our future, build the world of tomorrow, and bring our best days to reality.
Will you become a giant?