PLAID POWER: Bemidji lobbying contingent visits St. Paul
ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton was warned before he signed a 75th birthday card for Paul Bunyan that the 4-foot-long pencil wouldn't work well inside. "There's a lot of things that don't work inside the Capitol," Dayton retorted, seemingly joking. W...
ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton was warned before he signed a 75th birthday card for Paul Bunyan that the 4-foot-long pencil wouldn't work well inside.
"There's a lot of things that don't work inside the Capitol," Dayton retorted, seemingly joking.
Wednesday marked the seventh annual Bemidji Day at the Capitol, which featured 50-some Bemidji residents traversing the grounds of the Capitol and State Office Building wearing their trademark red-and-black plaid.
Dayton marked the day by signing the Paul Bunyan birthday card and a certificate in honor of the statue's 75th birthday this year. At his request, Lori Paris, the president of the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, explained the history of Paul and Babe, mentioning that Paul Bunyan himself was modeled after the then-mayor by tripling his dimensions.
"It's a good thing Dave (Larson) wasn't mayor then," quipped Sen. John Carlson, R-Bemidji, referencing the current Bemidji mayor, who stand more than 6 feet tall.
Most of those who took part in the annual daylong trip were repeat one-day lobbyists. But there were a few, such as Lorrie Richardson, who were first-timers.
Richardson said she decided to get involved because of the current opportunities facing communities, including the MAGIC Act, which aims to allow Minnesota counties to try innovative ideas before enacting them while also increasing the accountability.
Emily Olson, the vice president of the Bemidji High School Student Council, said she made her second straight trip to the Capitol because she wanted to again take part. Whereas last year she was a little unsure how the day would go in small groups with adults, rather than keeping the high school students all together, Olson said she was looking forward to doing that again.
"I really like being with the adults. It was fun to sit and listen to them, to hear what they had to say," she said.
This year's Capitol agenda had fewer meetings with individual legislators, about 50, but instead featured appointments with Brenda Cassellius, Department of Education commissioner; Paul Moe, Department of Employment and Economic Development deputy commissioner; and Myron Frans, the Department of Revenue commissioner.