Mining has always provided opportunity

Doug Johnson, former state legislator.

My blood boils when I see unfounded opposition to taconite mining or the opportunity for a new needed industry, copper/nickel mining.

As the son of an immigrant, I see mining as an opportunity for families, just as was the case for ours, which means more students in our school and stronger communities.

I also know from experience that mining can be cyclical, but that is not unique to mining.

National recessions have also caused downturns in our wood products industry and weather affects tourism. There is even a reported drop in the number of young people paddling in the BWCAW, as they have more exciting things to do with their electronic devices. Tourism is good, but it doesn’t sustain an economy.

I was born and raised in Cook, where there is no mining.

My dad, born of Swedish immigrants, was a logger and later a truck driver. My mother was an immigrant from Cornwall, England. She, her mother, and siblings followed grandpa from England to work in the mines near Eveleth for a better life.

Mining on the Iron Range was their passport out of poverty.

My life story is no different than other immigrant families who came from Europe to the Iron Range for a better life. We know that mining, logging, and tourism can co-exist, but we need diversity in our economy as well.

The people of the Iron Range blessed me by electing me as Cook’s mayor for five years and 32 years in the Legislature.

During that time, national recessions caused tough times for the natural resources industries on the Iron Range. However, the good times outnumbered the bad times.

I will continue my fight for more mining jobs so other families can have the opportunities I had.


Doug Johnson, who resigned from the Legislature in 2002, remains heavily involved in economic development on the Iron Range.


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