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Lawmakers advocate for Northland priorities at annual Capitol Days

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DULUTH, MN-- Stop talking and make it happen.

That's part of Governor Tim Walz's message for Northern Minnesota regarding the need for more broadband internet.

He and other leaders in St. Paul have spent the past two days focused on our area for the 24th annual Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol Days.

According to lawmakers, this year is all about expanding broadband internet access.

"We certainly learned in this pandemic when kids had to distance learn how totally inadequate our infrastructure was for broadband across the state," said Sen. Tom Bakk of Cook.

Lawmakers like Senator Bakk are pushing for the legislature to take the problem seriously.

"I talked to my own school superintendent in St. Louis County rural schools, and 80% of the households in the St. Louis County school district were undeserved. 80%. Well, that's just unacceptable," said Bakk.

Another topic weighing on the minds of lawmakers is how to transition back to life after the pandemic.

"We have to have a gradual plan for total reopening. We are so close to the end now, and we have to keep making gradual decisions based on science and the national rules that are sent down to us," said Rep. Mary Murphy of Hermantown.

Governor Walz was the keynote speaker at Thursday's event.

He echoed the importance of supporting people who have been impacted the most by the pandemic.

"Let's make sure we come out of COVID and make it right for those who got hit the hardest: our children in schools, our small businesses, and those families, especially those in the hospitality and entertainment industry that was hurt during this, and then let's looks towards the future," said Gov. Walz

As for the issue of broadband, Walz encouraged lawmakers to make getting Minnesotans connected a priority.

"Let's stop talking about border to border broadband and just finish it," said Gov. Walz.

Lawmakers also recognized David Ross for his work leading Duluth's Chamber of Commerce for more than two decades.

If you would like to learn more about topics discussed at this year's capital days, click here.

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Natalie Grant

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