Duluth and SLC Days Event Kicks Off in St. Paul

Updated: March 13, 2018 10:54 PM

The annual lobbying event that helps drive progress in the Northland has kicked off in St. Paul. About 500 leaders have gathered at the state capital, for the 21st annual Duluth and St. Louis County Days.

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We caught up with county commissioner Frank Jewell before he left town Tuesday morning. "It's a wonderfully festive time. It's the time to tell the stories of Duluth and St. Louis County. And to do it in a rousing fashion. Legislators notice," he explained.

This year, he believes the story is going to be focused on money to repair the Depot, to open up more mental health crisis beds, and provide upgrades at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center, known as NERCC.

Duluth's mayor Emily Larson sent an email about her priorities during these days. She said that she's committed to building support for the transportation sales tax to fix the streets, and funding for the District Energy Project. That project would convert steam to a closed hot water loop system for the downtown area.

Plus they'll be supporting efforts that are important to Duluth's allies, like Glensheen and the Mental Health Triage Center.

She and others have been having face to face meetings with lawmakers during the day. Senator Erik Simonson, of Duluth, sent a statement on Tuesday, "Every year, my fellow Duluthians set a remarkable example of how to engage state lawmakers in a way that is civil, respectful, and fun. It is my pleasure to welcome everyone to the Capitol."

Then on Tuesday evening, there's a reception designed to promote interaction and networking. And that can mean the difference between getting something done, or having to try again next year.

"It's not just the connection to legislators," explained Jewell. It's often times the connections to other people from the area. All of the sudden, you're like, I didn't know that! And then you become supportive of their project and their idea."

There is also a legislative breakfast on Wednesday morning.

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