Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Iron Range Economy A Major Concern - Jim Tuomala, Republican Candidate For State Representative House District 3A

Below is a letter to the page from Mr. Jim Tuomala, Republican Candidate For State Representative House District 3A.

Open Letter to Citizens of House Dist.3A

Tuomala for State Representative
House District 3A

Election signs are popping up, promises are being made and political posturing is always part of the show.  Once again, shaping up to be a typical campaign season, but with a unique set of carefully crafted distractions.  So far this year we have had the ostensible   “ War on Women” and when that didn’t pan out, the gender question of who gets to marry whom is serving its purpose to distract the voter from any real issues at hand for which the blame can be squarely placed.

I am talking about the state of our local economy which is supported by some very hard data. Lately, the feel good indicator has been a claim to only 6.6% unemployment in our area. While this may be an interesting statistic, it does not account for under-employment, people who have moved away, people who have quit looking for work or the percentage of retirees in our area. A different picture emerges when we look at other key metrics from the U.S. Census. The annual household income in our area is from 7.6% to 15% below the state average, the incidence of public assistance is nearly twice the state average and our district, now 3A, has once again grown in size due to re-districting caused by a loss of population. These data indicators tell us we are underpaid, out of work and too likely to be on welfare. To support our families we too frequently have to move or accept public assistance. Meanwhile, district politicians are once again fiddling while Rome is burning. Unlike other election cycles in which jobs and opportunities have purportedly been a top priority, this year many state and federal lawmakers remain eerily quiet locally when it comes to pulling the pin on the “mining grenade”.

 Our current situation as stated above has not occurred suddenly- say over the last 8 years and over two separate executive administrations. It has taken decades for our true mess to come to the forefront.  We as local citizens no longer seem to be in control of our own destiny. Instead, we have been led by a nose-ring to the whims of outside radical environmental influences and their DFL co-pilots over the past 40 years.  Exactly what is “acceptable” prosperity in our area is now being dictated to us through our local DFL legislators.  What we can and cannot do for a living is being largely determined by environmental rules regarding logging, mining and farming.  Our local DFL duo, Dill and Bakk , and those preceding them, have not done much during the past  40 years that sustains economics or that promotes prosperity. The recent solutions have been to tax, spend and regulate our area into recovery. Although several “feel good” projects i.e., Giant’s Ridge, IRRB, Discovery Center and bike trails came out of the deal these things are certainly nice to look at and visit but can hardly compare to our true worth in both local skilled labor workforce and natural resource availability. The IRRRB’s only strategy for private sector jobs is to buy them; at stunningly high prices to the taxpayers. The tax money used to fund these projects has been a great waste. Job creation has been geared more toward low level service industry incomes rather than middle class skilled labor employment opportunities.  The difference is politically obvious to me since there must be sufficient low income earners at the polls as well as controlled growth of the more independent middle class.

Unfortunately it is the family unit that suffers the most in our area when it isn’t necessary in the first place. We have not been taken seriously for a long time. I think we need new leadership to re-focus our efforts on our traditional careers of mining, logging, papermaking, farming, and tourism. Once back on solid economic footing in our area we need to diversify with technology and other opportunities. These will come along naturally with an economically viable area similar to our North Dakota neighbors while sustaining us better locally during the typical up/down cycles.

Tuomala for State Representative
PO Box188
Babbitt,MN. 55706


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