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Editorial: Area legislators face LGA choice

During Tim Pawlenty's two terms as Minnesota governor, state local government aid (LGA) payments were repeatedly reduced. As Pawlenty maneuvered to balance the state budget, cities across the state struggled to find ways to make up for the losses in monies.

Now, the tables have reversed themselves in St. Paul. Republican Pawlenty will be replaced next week by DFLer Mark Dayton, who has declared himself to be a strong supporter of LGA. The legislature, however, has switched from Democratic to Republican control, and it will be intriguing to see if the House and Senate will be collectively receptive to Dayton on LGA.

A key to LGA's future is garnering the support of rural Republican legislators, such as the three voters have elected in this region.

District 22 Sen. Doug Magnus, previously a four-term District 22A representative, and Magnus' replacement in the House, Joe Schomacher, will no doubt hear plenty about LGA over the next several weeks. That could be, at least in some part, because Worthington mayor Alan Oberloh is vice president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, which has been a vocal advocate for the funding.

A legislator to watch on LGA will be District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, who is now Majority Whip in the House. Should Hamilton use his leadership position to go to bat for LGA, its future should be reasonably bright.