MANKATO, MN- A session that saw a bonding bill pass but the tax bill vetoed, still has many city officials asking what could be done to ensure a more productive outcome the next time around.

Wednesday afternoon, leaders from more than 90 cities across Minnesota gathered to discuss topics of importance for rural communities.

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) works year–round to enlighten members on what's going on and how they can make their voices heard in St. Paul.

CGMC executive director Bradley Peterson says "We spend a lot of time especially during the election season, educating candidates and making sure they understand issues. During the session, we want our members to be very engaged in what's going on in the legislature and they do a great job with that."

During the first of many presentations, city leaders responded to polls on how they felt the session ended as well as who they believe will compete to fill Governor Dayton's seat.

With gridlock seemingly the highlight of the legislature, the Coalition hopes to provide political leverage for rural areas.

They insist the "divide" between outstate (greater) Minnesota and the metro might not be as wide as people think.

Mayor of North Mankato Mark Dehen says "That's what the coalition is about, how do we get that equitable solution for the entire state? Mankato and North Mankato are a huge economic generator for the state and so we need to be able to access the services we need to continue to grow."

Mayor for the city of Mankato Eric Anderson says "One of the things you find at a conference like this is we have people from far northern regions. People from Ely and Hibbing are here and they will have different considerations with respect to the metro than perhaps southern Minnesota does. The word 'tension' may be a little strong because I've seen too many legislators work together on issues but there are definitely differences."

The CGMC Summer Conference runs through Friday, touching on economic development, human rights, and a bus tour of the region for those from outside southern Minnesota.

Thursday night, the Coalition will co-host a gubernatorial forum at the Verizon Center which will include candidates Erin Murphy, Tim Walz, and Jeff Johnson.

The event is free and open to the public with doors opening at 7:00 p.m.

The forum will begin at 7:30 p.m. and focus on issues important to Greater Minnesota. 

- KEYC NEWS 12