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Minnesota to Germany: Renewable Energy Leaders Exchange Ideas

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM
Categories: Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon

Berlin, Germany

Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon and a delegation of Minnesota energy industry officials are in Berlin, Germany for a week to exchange renewable energy ideas.

This week, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon is leading a delegation of Minnesota’s energy industry officials and supporters to Berlin, Germany for a week-long renewable energy conference. The group will meet with their German counterparts to exchange renewable energy ideas with each other. 

Both Minnesota and Germany are front-runners when it comes to alternative sources of energy – including solar and wind power. 

Currently, Minnesota is third in the nation when it comes to wind power generation. Powering Minnesota’s renewable energy push is the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard, which sets a goal of producing 25 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025. Right now, Minnesota is on track to reach to this great goal.

Renewable energy is good for both Minnesota’s environment and its economy. A recent survey from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows our state has roughly 37,000 green jobs – resulting in more than $3.8 billion in annual economic activity.

To build on past success, new provisions passed by the legislature will help expand solar power use – supporting more than 100 Minnesota-based solar energy businesses.  

During the exchange with Germany, the Lieutenant Governor, representatives from state government, industry, academia, and non-profits will meet with the German Ministry of Economics and Technology, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Foreign Office.

Our partnership with Germany is a great way to share ideas and to innovate. Using clean, renewable energy will help us protect our planet and create new jobs for Minnesotans.


Minnesota Honoring More Veterans

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 3:49 PM
Categories: Veterans

Fort Snelling Cemetery 

Fort Snelling has one of the few cemeteries for veterans in Minnesota.

Minnesota veterans lack options for their final resting places. This past legislative session, Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature provided new funding for another state veteran’s cemetery in southeastern Minnesota.

Currently, southeastern Minnesota veterans only have access to the Fort Snelling or Little Falls cemetery sites, both of which are at least two hours away. The lack of nearby options leads many families to bury their loved ones at private cemeteries or churches. Historic Fort Snelling has more than 180,000 internments and will likely reach capacity in the next 50 years, meaning Minnesota needs additional space for veterans soon.

The funding will allow a new cemetery to open during the winter of 2015. Generously, Fillmore County has donated 153 acres for the cemetery – reducing the cost to Minnesota taxpayers. The new site will provide space for more than 50,000 veterans. And there’s definitely a need for the space. Right now, there are over 39,000 veterans within a 75-mile radius of Preston, Minnesota.

The new site also will help businesses in the area, creating new jobs, while honoring veterans. As visitors come to pay their respects, many businesses – such as restaurants, floral shops and hotels – will be able to attract new customers and guests. 

Governor Dayton remains committed to supporting veterans now and in the future. And this new cemetery site will help us remember and honor the sacrifices that American’s armed forces make for all of us.  


An Education Secretary's View of Minnesota

Posted on July 22, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Categories: Education

Governor Dayton and Secretary Duncan at the Education Town Hall
Governor Dayton and Secretary Duncan at the Education Town Hall Meeting

The best ideas to put children on a path to school success rarely come from Washington, D.C.

President Obama has put forward a plan to make high-quality preschool affordable for all children — a vital step in putting young people on a path to a thriving middle class. As I saw firsthand in a pair of visits in the Minneapolis area on Tuesday, that effort builds on the work of states like Minnesota.

The day began at Pond Early Childhood Family Center in Bloomington, where I sat with students who sang a song, recited the alphabet and discussed some of their favorite words. The visit was an inspiring example of great educators helping kids get ready for kindergarten in a setting of joy and support.

Later Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, and other leaders from business, the military, government and the clergy, joined a town-hall discussion at Kennedy Senior High School. At that town hall, parents, teachers, education leaders and others from throughout the state made clear that they have seen the power of early learning — and that they know we must reach many more children.
That understanding did not emerge from Washington. Forward-looking states have led the way — including Minnesota, where Dayton this year signed a bill that invests nearly $200 million in early learning, helping tens of thousands more children attend high-quality child care, preschool and all-day kindergarten.

Minnesota has made a priority of preschool through an Office of Early Learning, a Children’s Cabinet and an Early Learning Council, which together ensure that the cradle-to-career continuum begins with a strong start. In addition, as a winner of a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant, Minnesota is creating systems and infrastructure that offer new ideas to other states.

Minnesota’s work represents real progress for families and children in the face of great need. The state’s new investments will reach about 8,000 children over two years, but that leaves many 3- and 4-year-olds — some 35,000 of them — without access to high-quality early learning opportunities. And that’s why we need to work hard, in Minnesota and across the country, to reach so many more students.

Why? Because of the pivotal role that quality preschool education can play in a child’s life. Studies confirm what every teacher knows: Young children who experience secure, stimulating environments with rich learning opportunities from an early age are better prepared to thrive in school. They reap benefits in high school graduation rates and employment, and are less likely to commit crimes.


Ribbon Cutting: Valley Cartage Moves Headquarters to Minnesota

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Categories: Jobs

Valley Cartage
Celebrating the opening of Valley Cartage's new headquarters in Lake Elmo.

This week, Minnesota’s economy and job market just got even better. Trucking and shipping company Valley Cartage completed a move from Hudson, Wisconsin to Minnesota – the result of a $940,000 economic development package from the state of Minnesota. Valley Cartage’s new headquarters occupies a 26,000 square-foot building located in the Eagle Point Business Park in Lake Elmo.

The move isn’t just good for Valley Cartage; it’s also good for Minnesotans. The move means an estimated 50 new jobs in Minnesota—paying an average salary of $52,000—with an anticipated $30 million economic impact for the state!

Valley Cartage received $500,000 from the Minnesota Investment Fund and $400,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) Job Skills Partnership Program. To celebrate Valley Cartage’s move DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at the company’s new headquarters today.

To make the move a reality, DEED, Washington County, and the city Lake Elmo offered Valley Cartage support to help them cross the river. To help Valley Cartage bring new, good-paying jobs to Minnesota, they received an economic development package comprised of tax abatement, a forgivable loan, job training funds and energy credits.

Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature are committed to creating new jobs for Minnesotans. This year, they provided $8.4 million for the Job Skills Partnership – ensuring this program can help businesses expand and hire Minnesotans.


Defending the Dedicated: Better Supporting Minnesota’s National Guard Members

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 9:02 AM
Categories: Military Servicemembers

National guard family
Photo Credit: Minnesota National Guard.

Roughly 14,000 Minnesotans serve in the Minnesota National Guard. As part of their service, they commit one weekend a month plus an additional two weeks during the summer to the guard. To reduce cost of service, Minnesota and local governments offer public employees serving in the National Guard 15 days of paid military leave each year.

Recently some municipalities have begun requiring their employees serving in the National Guard to take all their paid military leave prior to using any unpaid leave. For state and local employees working a typical Monday through Friday week this doesn’t have any impact on their family budget. 

However for police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians who work overnight or on the weekend they may be forced to use all their paid leave early in the year. This has created a situation where our public servants and National Guard service members then are forced into a financial hardship during their two weeks of active duty service. 

To better support our state and local employees serving in the military, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature clarified the state law. Going forward, local governments won’t be allowed to require National Guard members to take their paid leave first. The new law allows employees to spread their paid and unpaid leave throughout the year so they don’t endure any severe financial hardship.

Simple clarifications like these are just another way Governor Dayton is working to help the women and men serving in Minnesota’s National Guard. Members of our National Guard sacrifice their time for all of us – they shouldn’t have to sacrifice their family’s financial wellbeing too. 


Budget for a Better Minnesota: What's In It For Children

Posted on July 18, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education, Budget

During the 2013 legislative session, Governor Mark Dayton worked with legislators to create a better Minnesota for children and their families.
A student sits with a thank-you note for Governor Mark Dayton. Gov. Dayton worked with legislators during the 2013 legislative session to create a better Minnesota for children and their families.

During the 2013 legislative session, Governor Mark Dayton worked with legislators to create a better Minnesota for children and their families. 

In a recent Waseca County News editorial, the commissioners for Education, Health, and Human Services: Brenda Cassellius, Ed Ehlinger, and Lucinda Jesson, respectively, explained all the ways the budget will enhance and improve the lives of thousands of Minnesota children. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Improving Minnesota Schools 
  • Addressing Child Homelessness
  • Keeping Kids Safe


The Minnesota Dream Act Informational Video

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 1:45 PM
Categories: Education

This video was produced for the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to share and spread information regarding the Minnesota Dream Act. As in how to apply and some things to expect on the application. Video produced by interns: Evan Gruenes, Laurel Schwartz, Alexandra Szajner, Linnea Moat with Governor Mark Dayton's Office.


Honoring Those Who Serve

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Categories: Military Servicemembers, Veterans

National Guard Honor Guard

Photo Credit: Minnesota National Guard. 

Providing military funerals is one way we show our gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the legislature provided new funding for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs’ funeral honor guard.

In recent years, funding for the honor guard has wavered. In 2011, the guard wasn’t funded and was only continued by shifting resources from other Veterans Affairs’ resources. Veterans regularly cite the funeral honor guard as one of the top benefits of military service making continued support for this program all the more essential.


Expanding Early Education Opportunities: Minnesota is a National Model

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 3:40 PM
Categories: Education

Governor Mark Dayton with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Minnesota – drawing attention to President Barack Obama’s proposal to expand funding for early learning programs. 

During his visit, Secretary Duncan and Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius visited a classroom at the Pond Early Childhood Center in Bloomington. Later at Bloomington Kennedy High School, Governor Mark Dayton joined Secretary Duncan and others for an education town hall meeting. 

Under the President’s proposal, Minnesota would receive $38,700,000 in the first year of the Preschool for All program. This funding, combined with a state match, would serve about 4,736 Minnesota kids in the first year alone.

Under Governor Dayton’s leadership, Minnesota already has invested in early education. During the past legislative session, Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature invested $600 million in E-12 education. That includes $40 million for early learning scholarships that will help more than 8,000 Minnesota kids attend high quality childcare and preschool.


Veteran Career Fair Reminder

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM
Categories: Veterans

Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed July to be “Hire a Veteran Month.”  Throughout the month, the Governor is encouraging Minnesota employers to hire veterans, connect military service members with job opportunities, and consider rededicating their efforts to hiring veterans in all twelve months of the year.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is holding a job fair to help connect veterans and employers. More than 1,000 former and current military members and approximately 100 Minnesota businesses with job opportunities are expected to participate.

Minnesota Veteran Career Fair 

When: Tuesday, July 16

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where:  Earl Brown Heritage Center
             6155 Earle Brown Drive
             Brooklyn Center, MN


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