WASHINGTON, D.C. [6/22/21]—Today U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) led her first hearing as Chair of the Senate Rural Development and Energy Subcommittee, where energy leaders discussed opportunities for jobs and economic development in rural America that expanding the nation’s use of renewable energy will bring.
Sen. Smith was joined by energy leaders from across the country, including three Minnesotans: Mr. Shannon Schlecht, Executive Director of Agricultural Utilization Research Institute in Crookston; the Honorable Katie Sieben, Chairwoman of Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in St. Paul; and St. Paul native Ms. Emily Skor, Chief Executive Officer of Growth Energy.
Sen. Smith said that today’s testimony will help inform her as infrastructure talks continue. It is important to her that rural voices are included in policy discussions that come before the Senate. This includes conversations about fostering renewable energies as a rural development economic driver.
You can watch the hearing footage here.
“I start from the perspective that small towns and rural places are entrepreneurial, diverse, wonderful places to work and live and raise a family,” said Sen. Smith in her opening statement. “They produce our food and our energy. They are hubs of manufacturing, small business, education, health care, arts and culture. When I travel to rural communities across Minnesota, I find hardworking, passionate people who love their communities, and are focused on making them even better. My hope for this sub-committee is to highlight these contributions. The Rural Development and Energy sub-committee should lift up and promote the local ideas that are helping communities thrive. Some of the best opportunities and best ideas for building a strong rural economy are in clean energy. Renewable energy is rural energy. The clean energy transition is the cornerstone to building and sustaining economic vitality in rural communities.”