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Tim Walz says he was ‘very pleased’

Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz of the 1st District praised President Barack Obama Tuesday night following the president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress. Walz said the president’s focus was on understanding the seriousness of the economic situation we’re in and added that he laid out the Recovery Reinvestment Act clearly, an act that was signed into law Feb. 17.

 “I was very pleased,” Walz said, during a Tuesday night conference call with Minnesota media. “I think he hit on everything we wanted to hear and the people of Southern Minnesota wanted to hear.”

 Walz said Obama touched on several key areas that southern Minnesota is well-positioned to succeed in, including the need to reinvest in renewable energy and healthcare reform.   

 Walz cited the region’s wind farms as an example of the region’s commitment to renewable energy and cited the Mayo Clinic and the Hormel Institute as the region’s commitment to health care and cancer research.

Walz also said he agreed with the president’s comments on aiming to have the largest number of college graduates in the world by 2020.

 “We’ve got work to do, but we have a very clear path ahead of us,” he said.

 Walz was joined at Tuesday night’s speech by Rushford-Peterson Schools Superintendent Chuck Ehler. Walz stated he chose to invite Ehler to highlight not only the jobs that will be saved in the Rushford-Peterson schools because of the Title I  and special education recovery funds coming their way, but also because of the potential to create jobs by reconstructing a school that is in a dire state of disrepair.

 Walz toured the Rushford-Peterson High School shortly after the 2007 flooding that damaged the already crumbling 1906 structure.

 “Obviously it was a great thrill for me and wonderful for me to hear the president talk about some issues that are prevalent today,”  Ehler said about attending Tuesday night’s joint session.