Losing two longtime area policymakers in Jim Vickerman and Dennis Frederickson is surely a blow to the area, but that blow has recently been softened and the region will continue to have a strong voice on issues important to southwest Minnesota.
Sen.-elect Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, will lead the Agriculture and Rural Economies Committee as its chairman and Republican Sen.-elect Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls will be the committee's vice chairman.
We shouldn't underestimate the importance of having these two senators leading the ag committee, which will also include area farmer Chris Swedzinski, who is succeeding Marty Seifert in House 21A.
Now, it's up to these lawmakers to make sure our region's voice is heard in St. Paul when it comes to ag-related policies. The three said they will work to streamline state agencies, clean up permitting processes and limit the duplication of services.
In other words, they want to pare down government and make it more efficient.
There will be many tough decisions made during the 2011 legislative session and you might not like everything you see or read coming out of St. Paul next year, but we can all rest assured that our voices will be heard in St. Paul if our elected officials do the job we hired them to do.