Growth & Justice Senior Fellow Dane Smith teamed up with central Minnesota economic development leader Cheryal Lee Hills to produce a powerful Star Tribune commentary Sunday, outlining a host of constructive public policy strategies for more equitable growth in Greater Minnesota. The article noted that these initiatives and many more would be the subject of our unique statewide convening in western Minnesota, “Thriving by Design, Rural & Urban Together,” June 27-29 at the Upper Sioux Community and in Granite Falls, to co-create the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint. More information and registration is available on our website. The event is generating buzz and keen interest from many quarters. We just did a podcast last week – Synapse: Think Tank of the Air -- at WCCO Radio, on the ideas and people behind the convening with our co-host (OneMN.org) and two delegates to the gathering (one of whom was the host of the podcast show). OneMN.org is an organization focused statewide on building our “ethnic capital” and working toward racial equity in business and economic development. Their motto -- “Building Shared Sustainable Prosperity’’ -- resonates strongly with our own mission statement. Please spread the word, even if you cannot attend.
As we examine best policy options for sustainable economic growth, climate action has become an increasingly important priority for Growth & Justice. We’ve cited evidence of mounting business support for renewable energy and noted how this consensus is spreading worldwide across partisan and ideological dividing lines. A recent Bloomberg News analysis revealed new detail about just how important climate change has become to global corporations. The article opened with the sentence: “The world’s biggest companies are increasingly worried about climate change.” A review of 10 years of earnings call transcripts by S&P Global Ratings showed that “the terms ‘climate’ and ‘weather’ combined were among the most frequently discussed topics among executives of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, beating ‘Trump,’ ‘the dollar,’ ‘oil’ and ‘recession.’ ” Growth & Justice recently joined thousands of businesses and organizations in the “We Are Still In’’ movement, which now includes more than 2,700 entities that have committed to supporting the Paris Agreement for Climate Action, disregarding President Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. government support. Minnesota’s own Will Steger and his group Climate Generation are leaders in the national We Are Still In effort and we recommend a look at the report about the group’s recent convening, around the theme MN Is Still In.
MinnPost reporter Greg Aamot tells an intriguing story this week about how a start-up 3D printing business landed in the tiny rural town of Gibbon (pop. 750), primarily because of a co-op partnership’s decision several year ago to invest in high-speed broadband access. Aamot noted that Gibbon is one of several cities and townships in Renville and Sibley Counties that got together a few years ago to create RS Fiber, a cooperative that has brought broadband Internet access to thousands of people in this region, with the help of the state’s broadband grant program. 3D printing is actually a manufacturing process and so far, “Stegeman has made a human heart model, welding fixtures, a Periodic Table of Elements and a toilet plunger, among many other things. Since December, he has filled about 50 orders – some for just one piece, others for as many as 100 pieces. He made the heart model for a tech start-up in the Twin Cities.’’
“That (broadband) was absolutely huge…It really speeds things up’’-- Adam Stegeman, owner of Advocate3D, on how important high-speed broadband access was to his decision to locate his 3D printing business in rural Gibbon, Minnesota (pop. 750), in MinnPost article cited above.