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Fischbach talks economic concerns in Marshall visit

U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach was in Marshall on Wednesday, where she met with a group of area businesspeople and officials, and later spoke with the Independent.

MARSHALL — There are a couple of topics U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach says Minnesotans often bring up to her.

“Inflation and overregulation, I think are probably some of the biggest things I hear about. Particularly as I talk to business owners and small businessmen, they have been overregulated, both from the federal level and from St. Paul,” Fischbach said.

Economic concerns were some of the topics Fischbach discussed during a visit to Marshall this week.

On Wednesday, Fischbach visited with a group of area businesspeople and officials at the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce office. Press were not allowed at the event. Marshall Area Chamber President Brad Gruhot said Fischbach’s office had requested not to have press at the roundtable discussion. Ben Anderson, district director for Fischbach’s office, confirmed Thursday that it was a decision by the Fischbach office.

Fischbach spoke with the Independent after the roundtable discussion, and took questions on a variety of topics.

Economic and child care concerns were some of the issues that area residents wanted to talk about at Fischbach’s visit. Fischbach said area child care providers were concerned about changes to licensing standards being proposed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

“There was a lot of discussion about these new state regulations that are coming out, and (people were) very, very concerned about it,” Fischbach said. “They’ve got 90 pages of suggested changes.”

Fischbach said child care providers told her overregulation was killing child care centers. “What was part of the discussion, and some of the suggestions is, if there are opportunities at the federal level to help, whether it be SBA, or maybe loans or grants, something to help people build and sustain child care centers.”

Fischbach said the need for child care facilities in Minnesota was one reason she was excited about the Investing in Rural America Act being included in the Farm Bill that was recently passed out of the House Ag Committee. The act would strengthen farm credit institutions’ ability to partner with local lenders on projects like community facilities.

“If there’s some way that we can help get the capital and the ability to build or remodel . . . getting that capital in here, I think helps,” she said.

Other concerns Fishbach said she hears a lot from constituents include the rising costs of inflation.

“Inflation is one of the things that we hear about top to bottom from constituents,” she said. “But I think number one, what we can do is stop spending so much money at the federal level. Because when we continue to spend money, it pushes up those prices, and we need to get that under control at the federal level.”

Fischbach also gave an update on the process of trying to pass a new Farm Bill in Congress.

“I’m very excited that we did pass a Farm Bill out of the House Ag Committee,” Fischbach said. “Chairman (Glen) Thompson has been very generous and allowed me to sit in on the briefings.”

Fischbach said a lot of her priorities for a Farm Bill made it into the House version of the bill, including expansions of crop insurance that allow people to buy higher coverage, and resources to protect livestock against foreign animal diseases.

“Also, Investing in Rural America, that was one of my bills that is included in the Farm Bill. It will help get more capital into rural areas so that we can invest and do what we need to do with it, whether it be hospitals or child care centers,” Fischbach said. “I’m very excited about that, making sure that we have the capital we need.”

Fischbach said the House version of the Farm Bill also looked at expanding trade. “I do think the Biden administration has not done what they need to do to pursue access to new markets. It’s been very disappointing,” she said.

Fischbach said Thompson has had “a great process” as the House version of the Farm Bill came together. The bill also passed out of committee with bipartisan support. “We are waiting for the Senate to do their thing. I think that Chairman Thompson continues to push to make sure they do what they need to do,” she said. “My understanding of the Senate version is there’s a lot of what we’ve got (in the House bill), in maybe a little bit different form.”

Fischbach said one of the issues that area constituents brought up on Wednesday was the need for visa reform for workers coming to the U.S. She said she supported changes “That would make one of the visa programs not seasonal – because it’s seasonal right now – and making it easier to bring folks on visas.”

At the same time, Fischbach said the country also needed tighter border security. President Joe Biden’s executive order that would shut down asylum requests at the U.S.-Mexico border when the average daily number of encounters reaches 2,500 was “Too little, too late,” she said.

“We have to shut it down. I mean, we have to get control of the southern border and the northern border, and we need to make sure that we know who’s coming in,” Fischbach said. “Because we don’t know who’s coming in, the terrorists that are coming in. And we need to get control of it.”

Fischbach is running for re-election in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District. This year she faces a Republican primary challenger, Steve Boyd, of the Kensington area.

“I fell really good about where we’re at,” Fischbach said of her campaign. “You know, we’re out and about and I feel good about the response from folks, and I think we’ll be fine in August and go on to the general (election).”

When asked if she would accept the results of the 2024 presidential election, Fischbach said, “I don’t want to say I will or I won’t, because we just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

In 2021, Fischbach voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

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