Editor’s note: Republican Roger Skraba is running against incumbant Democrat Robert Ecklund for District 3A State Representative. Both candidates were offered an opportunity to write a column for this issue of MINE.
My father and brothers worked in northern Minnesota’s taconite mines. My fathers father, my grandfather, worked in the underground mine in Ely. He was an electrician and lost his life in the mine when the cable on a lift car broke. My father was five years old. I am a descendent of an Iron Range Miner. I support mining. It is a way of life for many families and something to be proud of. I support those families. In my opinion the current DFL party does not. IT’S TIME for change.
We have been blessed with an abundance of natural resources that helped forge our nation. From iron ore to the timber that built this nation we have managed to mine and log and still have the cleanest air and water in the state. We know what we have up here and we do not want to ruin it. We will mine taconite, copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, gold, titanium, manganese, silver, cobalt, tantalum, niobium and other nonferrous minerals. And we will do it using the standards set by the regulatory agencies. No exceptions. No variances. The mining will meet and exceed the standards. We have mined in northern Minnesota for over 150 years and we still have the cleanest air and water in the state. And we will continue to during and after the mining of these minerals. We have a vested interest to keep it clean. We live here.
Our area is losing population and mining will increase the number of people and families. Our economy will flourish and other industries will settle in. We know this. We just need to quit electing extremists who oppose mining. Any House Democrat who is elected votes for a Democratic speaker. The DFL speaker is not a friend of mining. How many bills that support mining have passed in the last two years? Why we keep electing Democrats who say they support mining and do nothing amazes me. If mining is to flourish in Northern Minnesota we need to elect people who will DO something, not just give lip service. I will do something. We need mining to prosper. It is also imperative we elect a governor who supports mining. That will ensure mining bills that pass the legislative process will be signed into law. We need change.
The current IRRRB Commissioner has done an excellent job leading the agency and is retiring at the end of this year. The Taconite Tax Relief Area is most of Northern Minnesota. The Governor appoints the Commissioner. It is imperative that the next governor supports all mining. The Taconite Production Tax that mining companies pay in lieu of property taxes is spent by the IRRRB. The Commissioner has a lot of power where those funds go. It is important who the Governor is and what he supports. The IRRR Board advises where the funds should be spent. Mining is how the funds are created. We all need to support mining. It is our way of life.
As the Mayor of Ely, currently serving my fourth term, I have always supported mining and the people who work in the mines and businesses that support the mines. I will continue to as your State Representative. I promise to be fair and cautious when setting policy. I believe when we educate those who want to learn about mining they too will see the benefits to our state and we all prosper. Especially Minnesota education.
I have chosen to write about the politics of mining not so much about mining. I will vote to support our working men and women and write a bill to extend unemployment benefits to those currently laid off. It is important that everyone understands that their vote counts. And who you vote for will make a difference in how and where mining occurs in Minnesota. Please choose wisely. It will make a difference.
Please vote for Roger J. Skraba on or before November 8 for Minnesota State House of Representatives 3A. IT’S TIME!