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Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka receives CGMC Rural Leadership Award

ST. PAUL—Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka was honored with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities' Rural Leadership Award Aug. 3 during the coalition's three-day summer conference in Fergus Falls.

The Rural Leadership Award is given to legislators who helped advance CGMC priorities in several program areas during the preceding legislative session. Gazelka, R-Nisswa, is currently serving his third term in the Minnesota Senate and has emerged as a powerful champion of greater Minnesota issues at the Legislature. The newly appointed Senate majority leader — he assumed the role after being selected by his peers following the November 2016 election — has shown a keen interest in CGMC priorities, particularly Local Government Aid and infrastructure needs. This session, he helped to develop and pass a tax bill that included a $15 million increase in LGA funding. In addition, he was proactive in urging the Senate to put forth a fair and balanced bonding bill that addresses Greater Minnesota needs such as clean water infrastructure, transportation improvements and support for economic development.

"Sen. Gazelka has proven to be a strong, thoughtful leader for Greater Minnesota," said Sara Carlson, mayor of Alexandria and president of the CGMC, in a news release. "Despite his busy schedule, he is always accessible and open to meeting with CGMC members and other city leaders. We appreciate his willingness to listen to our concerns and stand up for rural communities."