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Bemidji area’s issues on the table Wednesday at Capitol

BEMIDJI – When community leaders meet here early Wednesday morning to pack a bus headed for the Capitol, they’ll be treated to pastries from Raphael’s.

By the end of the day, they will have gifted scarves made at the Bemidji Woolen Mills to legislators.

Bemidji Day at the Capitol offers an opportunity for local stakeholders to bring all things Bemidji to St. Paul. On Wednesday, the 50 or so people on the bus dressed in plaid will descend on the Capitol to lobby on local issues. 

“It really has made our statewide legislators aware of what a regional hub Bemidji has become,” said Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce President Lori Paris said.

The trip is now in its eighth year, Paris said. Some previous accomplishments include bonding money for Lakeland Public Television’s new facility and the Sanford Center, Paris said.

Representatives from Sanford Health, Bemidji State University, the Bemidji Area School district, the city and Beltrami County, along with many business owners, will be among those at the Capitol, Paris said.

“So it’s a really diverse group,” Paris said.

The bus will leave Bemidji at 6 a.m. and won’t return until 10:30 p.m. In between, meetings with legislators, Gov. Mark Dayton and three of his commissioners (transportation, revenue and natural resources) are planned.

  “(Legislators) look forward to Bemidji Day,” Paris said. 

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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