Litchfield Independent

By Matt McMillan

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar was in Mankato today to speak about the importance of public-private initiatives in the current economy at the Southern Minnesota Regional Competitiveness Partnership Futures Summit. Joining former Congressman Tim Penny, Klobuchar spoke about the need for collaboration across industries and between public and private organizations in order to keep Minnesota competitive in the global economy. She highlighted the economic benefits of homegrown energy, infrastructure and high-speed Internet on Minnesota’s economy in the short and long-term.

“By investing in the emerging energy economy, infrastructure and high-speed Internet, we can create jobs, develop new industries and stimulate economic growth in rural communities,” said Klobuchar. “Now is the time to renew our commitments to these vital economic development tools and turn the challenges we face into opportunities to secure Minnesota’s economic future.”

Klobuchar gave the keynote address at the Summit, which brought together more than 200 leaders in business, finance, agriculture, government, education, and health care to develop strategies to use Southern Minnesota’s assets to strengthen the region’s economy. The event was held at the Minnesota State University-Mankato.

Klobuchar highlighted the importance of making strategic investments to ensure Minnesota’s role in the global economy. She called Minnesota’s burgeoning new energy sector a key to creating new jobs and positioning the state as a leader in the industry. Klobuchar also spoke about the importance of building a foundation for long-term growth through investments in infrastructure and high-speed Internet, both of which are included in the recently passed Economic Recovery Act.

The Summit is part of the Southern Minnesota Regional Competitiveness Project, a year-long effort to craft and implement a plan to grow the region’s economy. The region includes 38 counties spanning the southern third of the state. The Project is sponsored by a group of 16 public and private organizations.