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Last week, staff members (Team Walz) of U.S. Representative Tim Walz convened conversations with First District constituents of Brown, Cottonwood, Rock, Jackson and Martin Counties. The roundtable discussions, held in Springfield, Mountain Lake, Luverne, Jackson and Fairmont respectively, were part of the first swing of the Southern Minnesota Way of Life Tour, Team Walz’s listening tour across all 21 counties of Minnesota’s First Congressional District.

“Thank you to all the southern Minnesotans who gathered with my staff to share their ideas on how to best move this country forward while protecting and enriching the way of life we so dearly love here in southern Minnesota,” said Rep. Walz. “Your input is invaluable to the work I do in Washington on behalf of the First District. I can’t wait to hear more ideas from constituents as the Tour continues.”

Rep. Walz remains committed to improving southern Minnesotans’ quality of life by bringing their voices back to Washington. Among the main takeaways from the constituent input garnered along the first swing of the Southern Minnesota Way of Life Tour are:

Southern Minnesotans love where they live; they love the sense of community and place; they value and support their neighbors and feel valued and supported by them in return.
America’s health care system must be improved; roundtable participants ranked health care a top priority; mental health has to be part of the health care discussion; the high costs of prescription drugs have to be addressed; affordable, high-quality child care and early childhood education are critical parts of a vibrant rural economy.
There are concerns with the state of the workforce and housing; there is a need to continuously align training and skill development with the jobs that are available and pay well; vocational opportunities need to be offered and valued; regional, cultural and community amenities should be promoted to attract and keep workers and professionals.
Public infrastructure needs have to be addressed; water is a public infrastructure priority and should be included in strategic planning.
Southern Minnesotans are fed up with political dysfunction and are searching for common sense to drive problem solving.
More can and must be done to keep and attract young individuals and families to live, study and pursue their career dreams in southern Minnesota.

Building upon the constituent input gathered at Rep. Walz’s recent town halls in Rochester, Worthington, Mankato and Winona, Team Walz launched the Southern Minnesota Way of Life Tour to listen to constituents’ thoughts and concerns, answer their questions, and hear their ideas on how to improve the lives of southern Minnesotans and folks across America’s heartland.

Throughout the Tour, Team Walz is convening conversations with community leaders and local organizations from different backgrounds on federal issues that are important to them and their communities, including but not limited to transportation, public infrastructure, health care, education, workforce development, veterans’ benefits, energy, federal budget, and agriculture. Team Walz is also drawing public attention to the stories behind the special places and unique people who call southern Minnesota home.

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