One of the most formal and public events which occurs for state policy makers was held this past week when Gov. Mark Dayton gave his second State of the State message to a joint session of the Minnesota State Legislature. It is an opportunity for the governor to assess the past year of his administration and to share his vision for future goals.

Gov. Dayton was clear that job creation and economic development are his highest priorities in 2012. These priorities are important and certainly ones that I share. Although the governor indicated we are headed in the right direction, knowing there are still 168,000 unemployed and under-employed Minnesotans needing to get back to work has got to be our number one priority. His address was hopeful and upbeat which gives us all reason to expect we can achieve progress for our state this session.

A signature piece of the governor's overall jobs agenda is a bonding bill. The governor has called for quick passage of a $775 million bonding bill that would put thousands of Minnesotans back to work. Investing in public works projects - a process commonly known as bonding - includes construction and repairs of roads and bridges, flood prevention and mitigation, buildings on college campuses, veterans' homes, waste water treatment plants and public facilities that have regional or statewide significance.

Our region of the state benefits greatly from state bonding because of our many aging roads and bridges and numerous flood prevention and mitigation projects. The governor's bonding bill includes the $13.5 million request from the city of Austin for the expansion of the Hormel Institute. Job creation through this particular project is demonstrated by short-term construction jobs and long-term through the scientists and technicians needed to staff the labs. The expansion will create 120 new long-term jobs and is exactly the type of shovel-ready infrastructure investment the state should be making to sustain our state and region's economic recovery.

While our state's economic situation is showing signs of improvement, we still have steep hurdles to overcome. As the governor said in his address we need to put aside rigid ideologies and focus on shared ideals. The jobs deficit is a serious challenge and the governor has provided a strong framework to tackle it. We work stronger and better when we work together to create solutions for the people of Minnesota. In this short legislative session, our time is best used finding solutions and solving problems, not pointing fingers and creating distractions.

State Rep. Jeanne Poppe encourages you to share your own ideas, concerns and suggestions with her regarding any issue concerning this community or the state. Contact her at (651) 296-4193 or by email at rep.jeanne.poppe@house.mn