State Rep. Julie Sandstede, DFL-Hibbing, announced on Monday to hold a pair of town hall meetings to recap the Minnesota legislative session.

Sandstede, the House Assistant Majority Leader representing District 6A — which includes northern cities like Bigfork, Nashwauk, Chisholm and Buhl — set wrap-up sessions 6-7 p.m. Thursday, June 27, at the Hibbing Memorial Building and 6-7 p.m. Monday, July 8, at Floodwood City Hall.

“Hearing directly from the people I have the honor to represent makes me a more effective legislator,” Sandstede said in press release. “I’m looking forward to meeting with constituents to answer their questions about what happened at the Capitol this session, and discuss how we can work together make Minnesota an even stronger state with more opportunities to succeed.”

In recent weeks, Sandstede’s name has been in published in the Star Tribune articles highlighting troubles on the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. Last week, the newspaper questioned her about potential favoritism from the IRRRB giving more money per capita to state Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk’s district than any other including hers. “It doesn’t seem right,” she responded. “I’m just going to put it like that. It does not seem right. Or equitable.”

Last month, she backed party lines when applauding Gov. Tim Walz’s work on the newly approved two-year state budget, calling it “a good compromise which delivers on many of the items most important to Minnesotans, including increased investments in education and protecting health care.” In her weekly legislative updates, she described the passing of her own legislation as part of the Public Safety budget requiring 911 dispatchers be trained on performing CPR instructions over the phone or to transfer emergency calls to an employee capable of providing such direction.

In April, she touted another passed piece of legislation after the state House approved her bill allowing cities to earn ‘Telecommuter Forward!’ designation status from the Department of Employment and Economic Development. The measure calls for community coordination with broadband providers for job growth. “Instead of forcing Minnesotans to ‘move to where the jobs are,’ telecommuting allows us to bring jobs right to them. This program will serve as a catalyst for helping communities to grow, enhance their economies, and deal with future challenges.”

A long time schoolteacher, Sandstede was sworn-in for her second term in office last year. She was appointed Vice Chair of the Education Finance Division and served on the Capital Investment Division and the greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division.

During the legislative session, she supported Walz for moving to ban Essar Steel from doing business in the state, saying in a joint-statement with state Rep. Rob Ecklund, DFL-International Falls, that “Essar’s ongoing manipulation of this process has gone on long enough, suffocating any real prospect for new opportunities.”

Then, as part of the Iron Range Delegation in the House, she joined Ecklund and Rep. Dave Lislegard, DFL-Aurora, in issuing a statement in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approving PolyMet’s permit for the company’s NorthMet copper-nickel mining project near Hoyt Lakes. “The process have been followed, and with this approval, the process can be proven. The metals to be mined at this site are those that Minnesotans rely on every single day, and we look forward to them being produced right here in northern Minnesota.”

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