NEWSBRIEF: Area lawmakers recognized

The League of Minnesota Cities has recognized 34 state lawmakers, including Rep. Rick Hansen and Sen. Karla Bigham, as 2019 Legislators of Distinction. Chosen legislators are honored for specific actions that aided efforts of Minnesota cities during the past year’s legislative session.

 Legislators of Distinction are approved annually by the League’s Board of Directors in recognition of the collaboration of state and city officials needed to successfully serve shared communities and meet the unique needs of rural, urban, and suburban residents across Minnesota.

 To be eligible for the award, legislators must achieve one or more of the following criteria:

• Be generally and reasonably accessible to League representatives

• Seek input on issues of importance to cities

• Listen to League concerns and be receptive to League-provided information on issues

• Sponsor and/or support League initiatives

• Speak out on behalf of the interest of cities

• Demonstrate the importance of partnership between the state and cities

 As chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division, Hansen was consistently aware of city concerns during environmental policy and budget discussions. He and his staff were readily available to discuss city issues and solutions. He also championed city funding to deal with emerald ash borer, delivering $1 million in grant funding for qualified city forestry projects.

Bigham consistently raised the importance of preserving local control during legislative discussion and debate. She also regularly checked in with the League to understand city concerns and perspectives on issues.

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