Cooperation in politics can work
Cooperation in politics can achieve so much. A good example happened last week in northwest Minnesota, and it's hard not to be caught up in the swirl of bipartisan leadership that created it.
The event was the groundbreaking for an expansion at Digi-Key, the electronics component warehouse in Thief River Falls. Over the course of the past few months, the Herald has touted this expansion as great for that city, as well as the entire region.
We have highlighted Digi-Key's commitment to the region. Today, we applaud the many efforts — from both sides of the aisle and from lawmakers throughout Minnesota — that made the great expansion happen in the first place.
It's hard to list all of the lawmakers who pitched in during the legislative session, but as Digi-Key notes on its website, the list of key players includes Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau; Rep. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston; Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks; Rep. David Tomassoni, D-Chisholm; House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown; Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa; Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook; Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston; Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington; Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes; and Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona.
Several of them, including Daudt and all of the lawmakers from northwest Minnesota, attended Friday's groundbreaking.
Numerous Thief River Falls leaders — including Mayor Brian Holmer and the City Council — were instrumental, too. During Friday's ceremony, Holmer thanked the City Council, as well as county and school leaders.
Fabian thanked the Chamber of Commerce and said "the impact this has on our communities up here is absolutely incredible."
Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson — both of whom are Democrats — attended the groundbreaking and applauded the effort it took to make the expansion happen. Lawmakers and Digi-Key thanked Dayton in particular for signing the state's support into law.
On its website, Digi-Key also gives credit to Kevin McKinnon, deputy secretary at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, "for helping craft the initial legislative solution" on behalf of Dayton.
Take a moment to again notice the party affiliations of all of those politicians. It was the work of both parties, and they came together for the common good of Greater Minnesota.
And it was a lot of work. During the past session of the Legislature, Digi-Key was given a sales-tax exemption from the Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program and also a $4 million grant from the Minnesota Investment Fund. The state also provided a grant to the city to help with associated costs.
What does the state, region and city get in return? About $180 million in new state revenue per year and another 1,000 jobs at a business that already employs more than 3,000.
And it happened because leaders steered clear of party politics and their own regional allegiances to craft a unique plan that will provide economic stability in this region for decades.
Peterson told attendees that Washington politicians should pay attention to the cooperative efforts made to bring this project to reality. We couldn't agree more.