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McElfatrick introduces herself to Cass board

WALKER — Caroline McElfatrick, who plans to seek re-election from the newly formed House District 5B, introduced herself to the Cass County Board Tuesday.

She has been a first term state legislator from the former District 3B.

She is a native of Austin, who spent her summers on Big Portage Lake near Backus. She is a retired registered nurse who currently lives at Deer River. Her new district includes Itasca County and portions of Cass, running from west of Pine River diagonally northeast to north of Remer.

She and her husband, Robert, have two children.

In the last legislative session, McElfatrick said she co-authored a veterans education bill that passed and authored another successful bill to stop the state from taking money for the general fund from a dedicated fund for construction inspections.

She said she has sent a letter to the governor and the department of employment and economic development to request a meeting on means to offset the closure of the Verso paper mill plant at Sartell.

“We need to help the loggers keep going,” she said.

McElfatrick served on the agriculture and rural development policy and finance, health and human services finance, health and human services reform and state government finance committees in the last session.

If re-elected, she said she also would like to serve on the Legislature’s environmental committee in the next session.

In response to Commissioner Jim Dowson’s request that the Legislature allow Cass to receive a sales tax exemption from expenditures made to upgrade emergency communications to the ARMER system, she said she does not think it is fair that some counties did receive a sales tax exemption and some did not. Those taxes have cost Cass about $200,000, Dowson said.

“Personally, I’m uncomfortable with one level of government taxing another,” McElfatrick said.

Administrator Robert Yochum also asked her to support Cass’s request to the Legislature for the state to fund the other 25 percent that FEMA does not for infrastructure losses the county sustained in a June storm.