Sen. Amy Klobuchar discussed ice cream and bike trails with the afternoon staff at a Lanesboro ice cream shop last Friday. From left are Laura Hegland, Klobuchar, Sarah Hegland and Larissa Armstrong.  LEE EPPS/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Sen. Amy Klobuchar discussed ice cream and bike trails with the afternoon staff at a Lanesboro ice cream shop last Friday. From left are Laura Hegland, Klobuchar, Sarah Hegland and Larissa Armstrong. LEE EPPS/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
With her finger on the wall map at an ice cream shop, United States Sen. Amy Klobuchar fondly recalled her rides on the bike trail during previous visits to Lanesboro. But she was not attired in riding apparel on this Friday, July 19. She was in Lanesboro to confer with local officials at the Chamber of Commerce Tourism Office.
The senator has recently introduced legislation to reauthorize Brand USA, a public-private partnership that enhances tourism in Minnesota and across the nation by promoting international travel to the United States.
On July 16, Klobuchar chaired a meeting with business and tourism leaders from across the country about the importance of boosting international tourism.
In 2013, Brand USA generated 1.1 million additional international visitors who spent an estimated $3.4 billion, strengthening local businesses and stimulating economic growth.
Klobuchar (D-MN) has introduced the bipartisan Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) to reauthorize Brand USA through 2020. Brand USA is funded by international visitors and private contributions – not U.S. taxpayers.
Before the official meeting in Lanesboro, she optimistically told those gathered outside that the bill had 30 additional co-sponsors in the Senate.
“Tourism is a powerful driver of Minnesota’s economy, generating nearly $12 billion in sales and giving a major boost to local economies and communities all across our state,” Klobuchar said. “Brand USA is a tried-and-true partnership that helps promote international travel to the U.S. while driving economic growth, and I’ll keep pushing to reauthorize it so that we can continue to attract more visitors from all around the world.”
Lanesboro was the last of four official stops in southeast Minnesota last Friday. Winona, Red Wing and Caledonia were also on the agenda.
Klobuchar began the day in Red Wing, where she toured Vasque, the outdoor division retail store associated with Red Wing Shoe Company.
Moving on to Winona, she attended the groundbreaking of the Winona Bridge Project. The senator's staff reported that Klobuchar was instrumental in securing $71 million in federal funding for that undertaking, which will not only construct a new bridge across the Mississippi, but also rehabilitate and reconstruct an existing historical span.
The Caledonia portion of the tour featured Sno Pak Foods, a grower and processor of organic fruits and vegetables.