Editor’s note: A previous version of this letter was published Sunday, Oct. 4, and accidentally omitted Larry Cuffe from the signers upon retyping the submission. We sincerely apologize for this error.
When our Representative, Dave Lislegard, promotes “People, Before Politics,” he delivers.
As the duly elected mayor of our communities, it is often confusing when we make public statements who we are speaking for. In this instance, we are speaking as individual citizens from the Iron Range. We are speaking out in support of Representative Lislegard because we have witnessed first hand his passion for the region and the people he represents, and how his ability to create respectful working relationships in St. Paul has resulted in significant benefits to our respective communities.
There is no better or more enthusiastic supporter of our critical mining industry. As a former laid-off miner, Rep. Lislegard knows first hand its vital importance to our region. He’s been a fighter for tariffs on unfair dumping of foreign steel. Rep. Lislegard is among the strongest advocates for new projects — PolyMet, Twin Metals and Enbridge Line 3, among them — that would help put Iron Rangers to work and boost our economy. That advocacy has taken him to St. Paul to fight for our way of life.
For recreational enthusiasts, Lislegard secured several million dollars to build a world-class ATV trail system from the heart of the Iron Range to Canada, the North Shore, and points west. He fought for and delivered key grants to continue construction of the Mesabi Trail from Giants Ridge to Tower, while leading the charge to build new, exciting mountain bike trails at Giants Ridge and the Minnesota Discovery Center that are attracting a new group of tourists. Importantly, Lislegard delivered the key funding to finish the snowmobile/walking/biking/ATV addition to the new Highway 53 bridge linking our communities.
For infrastructure, Lislegard secured funding from the MN DOT for upgrades on Highways 169 and 53 intersections, millions of dollars to improve our cities’ drinking and wastewater facilities, and the first major increase in Local Government Aid in a decade — sending about $17 million to the Range — under his leadership in the Minnesota House Tax Committee, where he serves as Vice Chair. These efforts have kept our local property taxes down while enabling our communities to invest in the future.
In the special session, Lislegard made sure Iron Range projects are in the bonding bill, which hopefully will pass if others follow his lead by putting partisan politics aside and actually vote on the bill. Those projects include more ATV trail funding, new clean drinking facilities for four of our cities, funding for much needed maintenance of aging public buildings in Eveleth, a regional public safety facility in Virginia, while also trying to double the size of the successful solar plant in Mountain Iron.
We know the prime importance of education. Lislegard helped invest millions of state and Taconite money in schools and facilities in his district — which resulted in new facilities for Mountain Iron-Buhl, Mesabi East, Cherry, and Eveleth/Gilbert/Virginia. Our kids will benefit from these new schools, as will our economy.
Citizens, take note. This is a partial list of Rep. Lislegard’s accomplishments. When you find a good and honest worker, you keep him or her. Let’s keep Dave Lislegard working for our people. Join us in voting for Dave Lislegard, State Representative, District 6B now or on Nov. 3.
Respectfully submitted by:
Citizen Gary Skalko
Karl Oberstar Jr.