Rob Ecklund to chair House Veterans and Military Committee
Nov 27, 2018 07:14AM
● By Editor
From the International Falls Journal - November 27, 2018
State Rep. Rob Ecklund will serve as the chairman of the House Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee, Speaker-designate Melissa Hortman announced last week.
The 2019-2020 legislative session convenes Jan. 8.
The appointment comes as the House DFL Caucus takes over the majority in the chamber, prompting a new roster of standing committees and chairs, said a news release.
In August, Ecklund was recognized for the second consecutive year as a “Legislator of Distinction” by the League of Minnesota Cities, and the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future and the Lignite Energy Council recognized his work with the “Energy Champion Award.”
Meanwhile, the House veterans committee will have jurisdiction over the budgets of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, including state veterans homes, and the Department of Military Affairs, as well as policy affecting veterans and service members.
“Many of our veterans face a variety of challenges when they return home and as legislators, we have the responsibility to do whatever we can to remove them,” said Ecklund. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to chair this committee, and I’m committed to continuing the tradition of leading it in a bipartisan manner, focused on delivering results for those currently serving and who have honorably served in the past.”
Ecklund, first elected to the House in a special election in 2015, is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
To qualify as “Legislator of Distinction,” the legislator must meet one or more conditions: be generally and reasonably accessible to league representatives; seek input on issues of importance to cities; listen to the league’s concerns and be receptive when the league provides information on issues; sponsor and/or support league initiatives; speak out on behalf of the interest of cities; and demonstrates the importance of partnership between the state and cities.
In announcing the award, the league pointed to Ecklund's work this past legislative session to deliver infrastructure investments in the public works bonding bill including trailhead development in Ely, improved access to Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital, better water access to Lake Superior in Grand Marais, and new campgrounds at Black Beach in Silver Bay and at the Babbitt Recreation Area. Additionally, Ecklund partnered with cities on legislation concerning wastewater treatment, local government aid, housing, library funding and other issues.
“Minnesotans should be able to expect elected officials at all levels will work together to deliver quality, efficient services, and that’s what makes this award such an honor,” Ecklund said of the league's recognition. “All of our cities have a variety of different challenges and goals, and I’ve kept my door open for mayors, council members, city staff and others so I can be helpful with their unique needs. I look forward to continuing to build upon these relationships so we can keep delivering results for local communities.”
The “Energy Champion Award” recognizes legislators who champion an “all-of-the-above energy strategy,” and was presented at the North Star Electric Co-op office in Littlefork.
“The Coalition is proud to recognize the work of Rep. Rob Ecklund who is dedicated to ensuring that hardworking Minnesota families have access to affordable and reliable electricity,” said Joel Johnson, director of the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future. “We also know that supporting a diverse energy portfolio keeps costs low for businesses and allows our region to remain globally competitive. Rep. Ecklund has consistently supported an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy and we thank him for his continued efforts.”
Ecklund said it’s critical that Minnesota families have access to affordable and reliable electricity, making sure it comes from diverse sources will ensure they can continue to count on it.
“On top of that, our mining, timber, and other industries which deliver economic opportunity to our region also rely on affordable energy," he said. "I look forward to partnering with the folks who deliver electricity to homes and businesses as we utilize both traditional and emerging sources to keep our economy on the right track.”