Minnesota Lt. Gov. Flanagan visits Winona to discuss education, childcare and infrastructure

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(ABC 6 News) – Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan made a few stops in Winona Thursday touting the state’s investment in childcare and infrastructure.

She began at Main Street Montessori School, taking a tour of the building and reading to a classroom full of kids. The visit was to highlight investments in education and childcare in the last legislative session.

“We have made a priority, Governor Walz and I, of making Minnesota the best state in the country to raise a child. And so, you know the work that we do around childcare is a really important piece of that puzzle,” Flanagan said.

Main Street Montessori School opened in the fall of 2019 and when the pandemic hit, they were forced to shut down. School director Marla Kuchler says they couldn’t have re-opened without the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s support.

“We stayed open for 2-1 workers when COVID hit, but the funding that we were given by the state of Minnesota allowed us to stay open. As a brand-new school, there’s no way we could’ve sustained our families and provided the tuition relief we were able to if we hadn’t had that support,” said Kuchler.

The Lieutenant Governor made two more stops to discuss infrastructure. Flannagan toured two buildings at Winona State University that are planned to be torn down and replaced by the brand-new Cecil Building. The University says it’s going to take over $70 million to build. WSU President John Olson says the building will be run off solar energy and save taxpayer dollars.

“And the idea behind it is to combine math and statistics, art and design, and computer science into a single collaborative that we think is going to be an engine for future growth of the Minnesota economy,” said Olson.

The Lieutenant Governor’s last stop of the day was at Levee Park right along the Mississippi River where city officials are trying to get funding to build a river front bike trail.

“So, I learned that this is an incredible example of folks together across jurisdiction and funding that’s coming in from the port, the city from the state to really make a beautiful space here,” Flanagan explained.

The Lieutenant Governor says that she hopes in next year’s legislative session they can pass another bonding bill to fund more projects like the ones she saw.