MONTICELLO, M.N.  — U.S. Representative Tom Emmer and State Representative Nick Zerwas were joined by business leaders, labor leaders, policymakers and academia today to discuss the need for bipartisan and sensible energy solutions for Minnesota that includes the growth of all resources and the expansion of its pipeline infrastructure. Speakers discussed an array of hot-button energy issues and the importance of local development to the economy, job creation and Minnesota’s competitiveness at today’s forum hosted by Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) at the Monticello Community Center. Minnesota State Representative Tama Theis was also in attendance.

The event brought together the following business and labor leaders to share their perspectives on Minnesota’s energy policy in the context of jobs, the economy, the environment and U.S. competitiveness:

  • US. Rep. Tom Emmer
  • Minnesota State Rep. Nick Zerwas
  • Jaci Dukowitz, Director of Human Resources, Training & Development, Sales & Marketing at Ultra Machining Company (UMC)
  • Lorraine Little, Enbridge
  • Jason George, IUOE Local 49
  • Rick Evans, Director of Government Relations, Xcel
  • Chris Ventura, CEA’s Midwest Director

Ventura said he hopes voters remember the importance of energy infrastructure and jobs when they head to the polls in a few weeks.

“Energy issues are critical to Minnesota’s future, and we look forward to implementing our goals of improving energy infrastructure, ensuring energy independence and diversity and increasing access to more affordable, reliable energy,” he said. “This will help lower energy costs for families and small businesses across the state and provide stronger opportunities for manufacturers and businesses to create jobs.”

U.S. Representative Tom Emmer reflected on the importance of energy to the competitiveness of Minnesota’s businesses and how they can embrace existing technology, in addition to developing new energy technologies to benefit the country.

“Our nation’s growing domestic energy production means more people are looking to Minnesota to lead the way. As our state continues to develop new, innovative technology for efficient energy use, it is my hope we will embrace every available option: wind, solar, natural gas, oil, bio-fuels, nuclear and everything in between,” Emmer said.

This is a message doubters and critics of energy production and infrastructure should keep in mind, MN Rep. Zerwas said.

“Recent events have shown that environmental protesters are willing to use very dangerous tactics to prevent the lawful construction and replacement of Line 3 Minnesota must update our laws in order to deal with these escalating protests and sabotage attempts,” Zerwas said.

During a discussion about the importance of reasonable energy solutions for Minnesota, Evans discussed how Xcel’s been focused on environmental benefits and how energy economics are driving decisions.

“While adding to Xcel’s wind portfolio and adding solar energy, we are pleased to be continuing the ‘Steel for Fuel’ initiative that will help us to produce 85% carbon free energy by 2030,” said Evans. “After starting down this path more than a decade ago, we look forward to continuing for the next decade and beyond, in partnership with our policy makers.”

Dukowitz said fast-growing UMC has more than 15 open jobs to fill and as such has launched two new efforts – one focused on non-skilled/non-traditional operators; another on youth STEM Summer employment opportunities. Both programs were launched with comprehensive in-house training plans to deliver on-the-job training, formal e-learning and mentoring.

“By taking the next step to broaden access to younger workers and those who maybe aren’t familiar with manufacturing, we hope to tap into new pools of motivated workers looking for careers and long-term professional growth with us,” Dukowitz said. “We know we have to keep challenging the traditional staffing models and get creative.”


About Consumer Energy Alliance
Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) brings together families, farmers, small businesses, distributors, producers and manufacturers to support America’s energy future. With more than 550,000 members nationwide, our mission is to help ensure stable prices and energy security for households across the country. We believe energy development is something that touches everyone in our nation, and thus it is necessary for all of us to actively engage in the conversation about how we develop our diverse energy resources and energy’s importance to the economy. Learn more at

Emily Haggstrom
P: 720-582-0242