MN Lawmakers Ask Oakport for Input - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

MN Lawmakers Ask Oakport for Input

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As we move closer to Spring, we're all keeping an eye on the flood forecast.

But today, some in the Oakport Township asked Minnesota's policy-makers for help.

"We want to know what's on people's minds, what issues we should be addressing," Minnesota State Senator Kent Eken, District 4, said.

In the midst of planning Minnesota's next two-year budget, Eken and State Representative Ben Lien took the conversation to a much smaller floor.

"it's always good to have access to them any time, whether it's through technology, whether it's through computer or phone, or just to get the face to face meetings periodically," Kevin Campbell, Clay County Commissioner, said.

Residents filled the Oakport Town Hall as one major question weighed on the room.

"I think the vast majority of people in this room came here to hear about what our chances are of seeing our flood project completed," Campbell said.

Senator Eken is one of the major supporters of a bill for capital investment that could generate enough money to finish the flood projects in Moorhead and Oakport, because, he says, "it saves money. The money that we put into flood mitigation projects saves us so much money in the long run."

And Representative Lien says the economic boom in North Dakota is pushing Minnesota lawmakers to pay close attention to the stability of its border towns.

"We have good conversations about the flood work and being able to finish that up," Lien said. "I'm really optimistic about what we can accomplish."

But, optimism may prove to be no match for the $620 million state deficit looming over the capital, just as the potential of flood looms over this town hall.

"Now begins the hard work of putting the budget together, so it's good to get the input from our constituents before we delve into that process," Eken said.

After people had a chance to talk to Eken and Lien one-on-one, county commissioners took them on a special tour through parts of the Oakport flood project, so they could see which areas are still unfinished.

They're hoping it will make a difference when hey head back to Saint Paul for more budget planning.

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