First District Congressman Tim Walz is introducing a bill that would allow counties and small communities to apply directly to the federal government for grants to improve child care, infrastructure, housing, Internet and health care. The First District Democrat says it will change how government delivers services. He says it “lets these community leaders… do exactly what they do best: respond quickly and smartly to their communities’ needs.” Walz, who’s running for governor, says he’d like a similar program at the state level. He puts the federal pricetag at 10 to 12 billion dollars a year.
A group of local officials and other stakeholders came to the State Capitol today to support Walz’s plan. Waseca Mayor Roy Srp says his area isn’t particularly pro-federal-government, but “this will revitalize, rejuvenate and invigorate our community, and it is just what we need.” Austin Mayor Tim Stiehm (STEEM) says rural communities are facing almost insurmountable issues and Walz’s proposal would help.
Carly Melin with the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council contends the plan would generate construction jobs for people in their own communities, “so that they are able to stay closer to home and work closer to home, and we think that that is a really important piece of this as well.”