Former and current state leaders receive awards – Albert Lea Tribune


Former State Senator Dan Sparks and State Representative Jeanne Poppe received the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities Legacy Award on July 29 at the Coalition’s Summer Conference in Alexandria. The Legacy Award is given to retired lawmakers who have had a particularly positive impact on cities in Greater Minnesota during their legislative careers, according to a press release.

Dan Sparks

Sparks, an Austin Democrat, served five terms in the Minnesota Senate from 2003 to January 2021. Throughout his nearly two decades in the legislature, Sparks has consistently supported the coalition and rural communities, the statement said. He is the author or co-author of several pieces of legislation related to CGMC priorities such as local government assistance, housing and economic development, successfully securing state funding for new and existing programs that have helped strengthen communities and businesses in Greater Minnesota. He has listened intently to city leaders and has always been open and receptive to exploring creative solutions to problems facing cities in Greater Minnesota.

“Sen. Sparks was a huge advocate for Greater Minnesota,” said Greg Zylka, Mayor of Little Falls and chair of the CGMC. “Whenever we asked him to sign a law or help get a hearing, he was always eager and willing to help.We are grateful for her years of hard work and legislative service on behalf of her district and all rural communities.

Poppe, a Democrat from Austin, served eight terms in Minnesota House from 2005 to January 2021. Throughout her years in office, she has been a staunch supporter of helping local government, community and technical colleges. and other key programs and institutions that strengthen Greater Minnesota. cities. As chair of the House Agriculture Committee, she was particularly engaged in issues that impact agriculture and agribusiness, which are the backbone of many rural communities. In recent years, Poppe has also drafted legislation to provide additional public funding for drinking water infrastructure grant and loan programs that help cities cover the costs of much needed repairs and upgrades to their facilities. water supply and sanitation.

Jeanne Poppe

“Representative. Poppe was extremely dedicated to improving and strengthening rural communities,” Zylka said. “She has always listened to the needs of her constituents and worked hard to find solutions to the issues facing her district and the entire Greater Minnesota faces in. We are grateful for his years of service to the Legislature.

Dornink receives the Legislator of Distinction award from the CGMC

District 27 State Senator Gene Dornink has been recognized by the Greater Minnesota Coalition for his positive impact on environmental issues in Greater Minnesota.

Dornink, a Republican from Hayfield, is serving his first term in the Minnesota Senate.

The Legislator’s Award of Distinction is presented to lawmakers who played a key role in advancing CMMC policy during the previous legislative session, the statement said.

Dornink Gene

As a newly elected lawmaker, Dornink has emerged as a leader in the push for additional public funding for municipal water supply facilities. This session he was the Senate chief author of a bill to provide $ 100 million in state bond funds to the Public Facilities Authority to support its infrastructure grant and loan programs. sanitation and drinking water. As communities across the state prepare for costly repairs and upgrades to their facilities, funding through state grants and loans is critical to ensure cities can continue to provide drinking water without having to impose massive tariff increases on residents and local businesses. Although the Legislature did not pass a bail bill this year, Dornink’s advocacy helped pave the way for a significant investment in water infrastructure in 2022, the statement said.

“Although new to the Legislature, Senator Dornink quickly recognized the importance of state support for sanitation and drinking water infrastructure,” Zylka said. “He has been very engaged with local leaders on this issue and strives to help not only communities in his district, but communities across the state. “

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