Apr 17, 2019 | By: Rachel Johnson

Gov. Tim Walz And MN DEED Commissioner Visit Baxter

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz visited the Brainerd Lakes Area as part of his administration’s “Community Prosperity” tour. The governor traveled with Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. They held a roundtable to discuss the future of local economic and community development.

“We were asked from BLAEDC here, our local economic development company, if we’d be willing to host the governor’s visit here,” said Tom Haglin, Lindar Corporation Owner and CEO. “To have a roundtable discussion, talk about what the state can do for entrepreneurs.”

Governor Walz has been traveling around the state on a “Community Prosperity” tour.

“We’re out here to listen to the successes that are happening and then listen to the entrepreneurs and what we can do to incentivize them,” explained Gov. Walz. “Get the feedback from them to make sure that all parts of Minnesota are vibrant.”

Earlier today, Gov. Walz, the Minnesota Speaker of the House, and the DEED commissioner, stopped in Duluth before heading to Baxter.

DEED, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, is the state’s economic development agency. They promote community, workforce, and business development throughout the state of Minnesota. The group spoke with local stakeholders about what hinders or promotes economic growth in greater Minnesota.

“Innovation isn’t something that just happens in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Innovation is something that happens in Marshall, in Brainerd, in Austin,” said Rep. Melissa Hortman, Minnesota House of Representatives Speaker.

“It’s not just the Twin Cities where innovation is happening. There are start-up companies and entrepreneurs across the state,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove.

Some roadblocks to growth that were addressed were housing, childcare, and incentivizing young people to stay and work in the area.

“Having skill sets up individuals that we can employ, that we can hire here. We’re willing to do training and teach, but we have to have a good foundation,” added Haglin.

The group brainstormed what would incentivize business growth and economic development in the area.

“I think what communities now understand is we have to amenities in our communities like really good schools, like opportunities for arts and sciences and outdoor activities,” added Gov. Walz.

“States that invest in a space see growth and it’s an urgent time when states who want to grow need to lead in innovation, so we really want the government to be a partner in that and help businesses that are younger and more in that start-up phase start to grow,” said Grove.

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