U.S. Rep. Tim Walz hosts 2018 Regional Vitality Summit - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz hosts 2018 Regional Vitality Summit

WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -

U.S. Representative Tim Walz invited first district constituents on Tuesday to Winona to continue the conversation about the best ways to invest in the region's 21 counties.

After a listening tour to all 21 counties, Representative Walz is hosting the 2018 Regional Vitality Summit.

He said the purpose of these summits is to identify problems and work on solutions to issues that matter most to Southern Minnesotans.

The summits started out as townhall meetings with constituents. "It really came out - sprung out of the 2016 election that was pretty seismic across the country. We saw all these changes and it was very obvious if you didn't take anything out of that election that you saw a lot of Americans were frustrated, they were angry with politics as usual, they were angry with institutions," said Rep. Walz. "And for us it was going out and listening, that things are working in Southern Minnesota. Not overlooking challenges, not overlooking issues we can do better at, but kind of celebrating the things we're doing well but listening to folks." 

There were guest speakers, panels and small group discussions that allowed community leaders and experts to examine the challenges facing their communities from  regional and local perspectives.

The issues they discussed spanned from healthcare to agriculture.

"How do we make sure when we're talking healthcare that it's not just Mayo Clinic and Destination Medical, it's long-term life-long care. And then it's things like housing; how do we make sure that those are being taken care of, with a focus on in an ever-changing world - with higher population and need for fuel and for clean water," said Rep. Walz.

Representative Walz's goal for the regional summits is to show the "diverse yet interconnected" interests of Southern Minnesota.

This is the second summit out of three. The next Regional Summit will be in Waseca at the Starfire Event Center on Thursday, April 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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