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Sen. Franken makes a stop in Park Rapids

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, right, visits with Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission executive director David Collins about the downtown Park Rapids construction and revitalization project. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

U.S. Sen. Al Franken stopped in Park Rapids Monday afternoon to visit with Lamb-Weston RDO Frozen employees and take a quick tour of downtown.

"I'm visiting with manufacturers all over the state," Franken said. "Each facility has different specific issues I need to know about."

For example, most manufacturers use a lot of electricity so they're interested in coal and other electricity supplies and how different policies might affect them, he said.

At Lamb-Weston RDO, federal school lunch programs are of interest because potatoes are part of the menu.

"Lamb-Weston doesn't send fried potatoes to schools, but rather baked, which is a healthier option," Franken said.

He has also discussed jobs with manufacturers across the state and the need for specific training.

"And we've discussed energy efficiency and ways to incorporate more of this," Franken said. "RDO is doing some great stuff there already."

Franken believes growing Minnesota's renewable energy industry can play a major role in creating jobs in rural Minnesota. He was named to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in January and since then he and his staff have conducted a Renewable Energy Listening Tour in communities across the state to learn from business leaders and industry advocates about how to harness the potential renewable energy has for job creation across the state.

After a tour of Lamb-Weston RDO Franken visited downtown Park Rapids to see the recently-completed Main Avenue construction and revitalization project.

He visited with Downtown Business Association president Cynthia Jones, Park Rapids Mayor Nancy Carroll and Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission executive director David Collins.

After stopping for a quick cup of coffee from Bella Caffé he was headed back to the Twin Cities.