By Jon Tatting

It’s not every day a sitting United States senator has a poached egg with toast while talking shop at People’s Cafe in downtown Cambridge.

Sen. Klobuchar (center) shares a lighter moment with the group during her visit. Seated with her are Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer, Councilman Howie Lewis and Robert Voss of the East Central Regional Development Commission. Photo by Jon Tatting

Sen. Amy Klobuchar did just that as she and city officials rolled up their sleeves and discussed local economic development and manufacturing for a brief time before she had to move on with her district visit. She met with Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer, City Administrator Lynda Woulfe, City Councilman Howie Lewis, City Economic Development Director Stan Gustafson and Robert Voss and Jordan Zellar from the East Central Regional Development Commission.

Woulfe was pleased to inform Klobuchar that a retail purchase deal recently closed to pave the way for Aldi grocery to break ground in Cambridge. Construction on the anticipated grocery store is expected in the next few weeks, and it’s projected to open by Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Mills Fleet Farm is proposed to open its doors by Oct. 1, Woulfe noted.

Gustafson addressed developments in the manufacturing scene, while talk shifted from the slight growth of residential development to the city’s long range interest in a rail yard. Klobuchar said she would look into the latter issue, particularly the funding of such a project, since she already planned to meet with the CEO of the Burlington Northern Sante Fe rail company this week.

The senator was curious about the local unemployment rate. It’s a little over 7 percent in Cambridge, and the state unemployment rate is about 5 and a half percent, the group figured.

Voss and Zellar, whose interest lies with Isanti and Chisago counties through the East Central Regional Development Commission, talked more about the area with Klobuchar, who also toured businesses in Mora, Milaca and Sauk Rapids last week in support of “Made in America” manufacturing and services. In fact, she’s been highlighting businesses that are creating good jobs, quality products and succeeding in the global marketplace in her travels across Minnesota.

Klobuchar continues to spend much time on economic development and manufacturing issues, as she has been working on a competitive agenda that includes strengthening workforce training programs and boosting Made in America manufacturing.

Originally sponsoring the America COMPETES Act, she supports increasing math and science education as well we new technology initiatives. She has introduced the Innovate America Act to promote innovation and boost the nation’s competitive edge in the world.

And as Senate chair of the Joint Economic Committee, Klobuchar recently held a hearing to examine the role of women in manufacturing. She has served on this commission since she started in the Senate in 2007. She also was appointed to the president’s Exports Council in January.