Congressmen and current DFL Governor Tim Walz was accompanied by leaders from small towns across the state met in New Ulm Tuesday to showcase Walz's recently introduced Small Town and Regional Vitality Investment Act of 2018.

The Act is an attempt to investment in the small town way of life, aiming to meet specific needs of small town communities; needs that include affordable, quality childcare, public infrastructure investment and an increase in health care services.

"We see this that there are communities that are going to have to use some aid to make sure we have childcare," said Walz.  "There are going to be some and I think on the essential services that are going to have to use this to do water treatment plants, or pipes.  There's going to be some communities though, and I think we need to recognize this, amenities that attract families to these communities might be hiking trails or water parks.  Those are smart investments."

Sharing federal revenues directly with local governments of towns made up of 30,000 people or less would help address the major challenges facing their specific communities.

"It gives the capacity for USDA rural development working with our economic development agencies and our elected local leaders, moves resources to allow our communities to invest in these very vital things," explained Walz.  "That maybe water treatment plants, it may be daycare providers, it may be other ways to provide affordable housing for our workforce housing in rural America."

Local leaders from small communities around the region helped to draft this Act before it was presented and feel if this eventually passes it could go a long ways to helping not only Southern Minnesota, but rural America.

"We are the bread basket of America.  We feed millions of people," said Fairmont Superintendent Joseph Brown Sr.  "You're not going to find hog lot in Minnetonka.  You're not going to find a hog lot in Edina or South St. Paul.  You're going to see them out here in the rural community.  We need families to live out here in the rural communities.  We need good schools, we need good hospitals, we need good roads and bridges."

The funds available from the Small Town and Regional Vitality Investment Act is available to all communities under 30,000 people.  This includes small suburbs in major metropolitan areas, like Fridley, Chaska and White Bear Lake in the Twin Cities.

--KEYC News 12