SMIF Offering “Picture It Painted” Grants

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with Valspar Corporation, is looking for groups or communities who want to spruce up their community, neighborhood, or nonprofit center. Once again, free paint products are available to communities and organizations through the annual Picture It Painted Program (PIP).This year SMIF will give priority consideration to collaborative efforts […]

2009 Legislative Session Begins

Dear Friends, The 2009 Legislative Session officially kicked off on January 6th and while it has been busy, I have enjoyed getting back to the State Capitol to work towards the solutions our District and State need in these trying times. We are at a pivotal time in the history of our state. Minnesota workers, […]

State of the State

The Governor let us know his blue print for the historic budget shortfall. His plan is, “Cut taxes and increase spending.” Sound familiar? I don’t know anybody who seriously believes that we can solve this problem without taxes going up at some level of government. We can’t cut spending deeply enough and make things come […]

Session start and legislative meetings

Tuesday, January 6th I was sworn in for my second term as your state representative. I was fortunate to have my son with me who enjoyed the ceremony and posed for a picture with me after the swearing in. He was curious about why President Lincoln’s portrait decorates the front of the House chamber. I […]

SMIF Announces $100,000 in Available Grants

As part of its effort to invest in economic growth within the region, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is offering $100,000 in incentive grants.  Grants up to $20,000 are available to support collaborative projects or programs in emerging business and workforce areas. Pre-applications for this round of grants are due March 2, 2009 with awards […]

Update on the ILSR Conference

  “It is possible to fight over oil but not over wind and sun!” These were the words of Wilfried (Willi) Voigt, Germany’s former Secretary of Energy, as he presented environmentally friendly energy producing ideas and methods at a conference held at St. Olaf on January 9, 2009. Sponsoring the conference was John Farrell of […]


As House Speaker Kelliher communicated to the Governor: “Budget unallotment is a blunt instrument that reflects the difficult budget crisis confronting our state. It is important to identify the priorities that will ultimately make Minnesota stronger. That is one reason why the House wanted to ensure that resources continue to flow to our classrooms. While […]


Along with the immense financial and emotional toll job losses take on individuals, families and communities, there is a significant economic impact on state government and ultimately taxpayers. Several economists have studied the cost of unemployment on government. The most recent being a 2008 study by Lawrence Summers, the newly appointed Director of the White […]

The Ownership Society and Our Current Economics

The Bush administration promoted a new vision for how we ought to see ourselves in this country called ‘the ownership society’ and it is my belief we have just been witnessing the dark side of what that vision means from the Bush reaction to New Orleans to our current financial struggles all across the country. […]