US Senator Amy Klobuchar made several stops in West-Central Minnesota yesterday (Tuesday, February 19) on her Exporting Minnesota” tour. Klobuchar discussed her efforts to open up new export markets for Minnesota businesses to help them compete in the global economy.
At her stop at Superior Industries in Morris, Klobuchar asked about educating young people in the community for technical jobs. She noted the Benson High School has partnered with Case IH to offer internships to upperclassman during the school day. “And they’re trying to get them interested in it and see who can be trained…What we can do on a federal level is more grants and incentives and rewarding schools that are going in this direction because we know it’s what our economy needs.”
Superior CEO Micah Zeltwanger took Klobuchar on a tour of Superior’s Morris location. Zeltwanger noted the company has a small-business feel because 95% of investors live in Stevens County and many of them work in the company. Don’t be fooled though, he says: the company competes globally as a large business.
Of the company’s total international exports, roughly 40% of the products made in Morris are shipped to Canada. Company-wide, Canadian exports account for 20% of the company’s sales. Superior’s other major international export destination is Mexico; the southern country has seen an increased need for the heavy equipment products Superior manufactures.
Zeltwanger and Klobuchar discussed national policies on transportation and investments in roadway infrastructure. Zeltwanger noted much of Superior’s products are transported on trucks, making weight restrictions a challenge. Klobuchar said, “I’m on your side on that one,” and indicated her desire to see transportation rules accurately reflect what Minnesota companies need.
During her visit, Klobuchar also addressed a number of national concerns with local impacts. Klobuchar says she is opposed to the possible end of Saturday delivery. She supports expanding the services of the US Postal Service to make them more competitive. “The other issue–it’s not just the Saturday mail issue–but another major thing across the state is the mail processing centers. There are about four of them and we managed to delay the closure of most of our processing. Some of the rural, small ones got closed, but that’s the other thing we have to watch out for.”
Klobuchar also made stops in Willmar, Benson, and Glenwood on her tour, meeting with local business owners.