More than 200 Rochesterites trekked Minnesota’s capital city today for the chance to meet with state legislators and talk about policy issues affecting southeast Minnesota.
It was part of the 11th annual Rochester on Tour at the Capitol. But this year’s event was very different from those in the past. For starters, the visit did not include a stop at the historic Capitol because it is undergoing a massive renovation project. In addition, the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce decided to merge its event with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s event dubbed “2015 Business Day NOT at the Capitol.”
Despite those changes, Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob Miller said the event attracted strong turnout.
“We’re 40 percent of the attendees today, so I think that certainly speaks to the buy in from our community,” Miller said
In fact, compared to last year’s event, twenty more people signed up to participate.
The day began with breakfast at the Paragon Theater in Rochester. Participants then boarded buses bound for the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul. Lawmakers were shuttled from the Capitol to the hotel to meet with constituents. Tour goers also had the chance to attend panel discussions that featured local officials talking about some of the major issues facing Rochester and southeast Minnesota. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton had been invited to address the crowd during a luncheon but declined.
Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede said it’s particularly important that Rochester continues to remind legislators about the economic significance of DMC.
Brede added, “The economic impact of that is not just Rochester — it’s the whole state of Rochester. The impact that the DMC makes for the entire state is something we need to keep telling people.”