Redwood Falls Gazette: Minnesota Secretary of State talks with Redwood area leaders during recent visit
By Troy Krause, 6/22/16
Good things are happening in Redwood Falls.
That was the message Steve Simon, Minnesota Secretary of State, heard this past Wednesday when he spoke with a group of local leaders during a meeting held at Daktronics in Redwood Falls.
Simon, who has made it his mission again this year to visit all 87 counties he serves, talked about the business options available in his office and listened to some of the concerns those at the meeting raised.
“I’m here to let you know what is available to you and to listen to you to find out what else we can do for you,” said Simon.
Anne Johnson, Redwood Area Chamber and Tourism executive director, helped coordinate the Secretary of State’s visit.
“Any time you can have someone in a position like that come to your community and let them know what’s going on is a good thing,” said Johnson, adding making connections not only helps a community tell its story but those who have that influence than can help spread the word.
“What we want to do in my office is make doing business as easy as is possible,” said Simon. “That starts by getting out and finding out what is working and hearing about things that need to be improved. I want to know how we can make things better.”
Simon said the chance to get out of the office and meet face to face with community leaders is one of the parts of his role he enjoys most.
Simon heard about some of the challenges the Redwood area is facing, including housing, childcare and a lack of employees.
Tom Quackenbush of Daktronics in Redwood Falls said the community has been doing a very good job addressing the housing issue, adding it is also good to see all of the business activity taking place.
However, he added, the challenge is finding people to work in the jobs needed in town. After all, he said no amount of housing, childcare or business expansion is going to make a difference if there are no people available to fill the jobs.
Scott Larson of Redwood Falls also raised concerns about decisions being made in St. Paul that paint with a broad brush.
“Just because something works in the metro area does not mean it will work statewide,” said Larson.
Johnson added there is also a concern among small businesses about changes in overtime pay rules.
Simon said what he heard in Redwood Falls is something that is being shared in many of the communities around the state.
He wants the public to know his office is willing to do whatever it can to help address the issues, including passing on the word to others at the state level who can help.