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Fall Travels in Northwest Minnesota
As a statewide organization operated by only three staff, we know that the "statewide" aspect of our identity is vitally important. We love to get out on the road and meet with our members in their districts, towns, and faith communities to hear about the issues they're facing locally and discuss the matters being addressed in St. Paul.
Last week, October 26-28, 2011, the JRLC staff spent three days up in Northwest Minnesota, meeting with groups in Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Crookston, Park Rapids, and Bemidji. We gave briefings on the JRLC issues address this past session, our draft 2012 legislative agenda and what we expect for next session, offered a Children's Sabbath, discussed the new poverty statistics, invited our friends to Day on the Hill, and encouraged leaders to become District Leaders and Key Advocates.
On Wednesday we drove up to Fergus Falls for a conversation with a group of clergy and community leaders, then headed up to Detroit Lakes. Rev. Mark Kuether hosted iCAN for a Children's Sabbath forum, where we discussed the impact of the rising child poverty rate in Minnesota and how this fact is being realized in local communities around the state. To read more, check out this local coverage of the meeting in the Detroit Lakes Tribune.
The next stop was in Crookston, on Thursday morning, where we met with an ecumenical Pax Christi group at the Mount Saint Benedict Monastery.
After an energizing meeting with the Pax Christi group where our conversation focused on the JRLC legislative agenda and priorities for the upcoming session, we drove to Park Rapids and met with a group at a cozy coffee shop.
On Friday morning we got up early and make a quick stop at Lake Itasca to dip our feet in the (very chilly!) headwaters of the Mississippi River. We learned about Mary Gibbs who exemplifies the importance of legislative advocacy efforts. Her work to preserve the headwaters as an historical site have offered generations the opportunity to appreciate the landmark.
After our refreshing river walk in the Mississippi, we headed down to Bemidji where we met with our last group for the trip.
Thanks again everyone, and we'll hit the road again soon!