DFL Governor Candidates Talk Mining, Jobs at Grand Rapids Forum

Baihly Warfield
October 21, 2017 10:54 PM

We have a few months to think about it, but DFL candidates for governor debated the issues in Grand Rapids Friday night, vying for votes. 

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It wouldn't be a debate on the Iron Range without some discussion of mining. On the Polymet project, Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) said he is in favor of smart, safe mining. 

"We need to let the experts with the experience do their jobs," Thissen said. "And if the experts determine that a permit can be issued for this mine, then the governor should not stand in the way of that."

Thissen is a state Rep. from Minneapolis. Fellow candidate and current Congressman Tim Walz agreed. 

"Jobs define who we are," Walz said. "We can follow the science, as we have been. We should make sure the science is the best that we can do. And if the science says it's safe, we should build it."

State Auditor and gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto also sees it through the job lens. 

"Here's the thing about this non-ferrous mining. It's extraordinarily mechanized, and so understanding that, that's part of why we're losing good paying jobs is mechanization," Otto said. 

For jobs in fields other than mining, state Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) said investing in education and health care will bring businesses to Minnesota. 

"I believe that if we invest in our people, and give our people a chance to pull themselves up and be educated and be healthy, that businesses will want to come," Liebling said. 

From state Rep. Erin Murphy's (DFL-St. Paul) point of view, water is a unifying issue. And she said investing in water infrastructure creates employment. 

"They're good jobs. They're skilled jobs," Murphy said. "They're jobs that will last a long time across the state of Minnesota, and it's something that will bring us together."

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is the sixth DFL candidate for governor. He was not at the Grand Rapids forum. 

The Minnesota DFL party will pick its candidate for governor at a convention in Rochester in June. The next Minnesota governor will be elected Nov. 6, 2018. 


Baihly Warfield

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