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Future of Destination Medical Center after Smith's Appointment

December 13, 2017 05:46 PM

(ABC 6 News)—The announcement of Lt. Gov. Tina Smith being appointed as Senator has hit home for those in Rochester.

Smith is the chair of the Destination Medical Center Corporation in Rochester which brings up the question, what’s next?

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Some concerns arise about the appointment and how it will affect DMC which is one of the biggest economic drivers in the state, changing the look and future of Rochester. Not surprising, the topic came up during the morning’s news conference.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said during the news conference, “It is incredibly important to me, not only as lieutenant governor but also as a senator, that that project proceeds well. So that will be the main thing on my mind over the next couple of weeks.”

As to what’s next, Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede said Smith was very valuable in getting the DMC legislation process and passed in the first place.

“The likely hood of being in D.C. and trying to run this back and forth and dealing with everything is probably unlikely," said Mayor Brede.

Here's how it works, Governor Dayton originally appointed four people to the DMC committee. Now he will not only have to appoint one person to fill the hole of Smith, but also Susan Rani who Mayor Brede said also resigned.

"The state has a lot of very talented people, so there is a cadre of people that can step up and be a respected leader, a person who will have the strength of understanding the way of thinking that is necessary as a leader for that board," said Representative Duane Sauke.

Local leaders, including Sauke are weighing in on the announcement.

"She has, I think, served well as Lieutenant Governor, so we'll see going forward how this all works," said Rochester Republican Senator David Senjem.

"The wholeness of her is what will be very good for Minnesota as she then participates in the Senate," Sauke said.  

Representative Tim Walz tweeted this morning, "Governor Dayton has made a great choice. She's someone who won't shy away from defending her progressive values, but still always tried to find common ground and do what's best for Minnesotans."

State Senator Carla Nelson also said in a statement, "It is no surprise that Governor Dayton picked his liberal right-hand to replace Senator Franken." She went on to say, “I am confident that one or many strong Republican candidates will run and ultimately capture this seat in 2018."

"I can tell you I shouldn't be underestimated and if I weren't confident I wouldn't be doing this," said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.

"She will be a Senator of whom all Minnesotans can be proud," said Governor Dayton.

This selection means Minnesota now has two female U.S. Senators for the first time in history.


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