State and local officials talk over issues with local business leaders

State legislators mingled with county, city and school district officials as well as business leaders at the Harvest Grill Restaurant and Event Center, Coon Rapids, Jan. 3.

Some 140 people attended the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 legislative reception at the Harvest Grill Restaurant and Event Center, Coon Rapids, Jan. 3.

Some 140 people attended the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 legislative reception at the Harvest Grill Restaurant and Event Center, Coon Rapids, Jan. 3.

The MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual legislative reception inviting members of the Anoka County legislative delegation to take part.

Most of them came, according to Lori Higgins, chamber president.

Indeed, with area business people, both chamber members and non-members, and representatives from Anoka County, local cities and school districts, some 140 people attended the event.

Higgins was pleased with the turnout, she said.

“We always top 100, but this was higher than a year ago,” Higgins said.

The chamber has been sponsoring the reception with legislators prior to the start of the year’s legislative session for a number of years.

“It’s one of our signature events,” Higgins said.

“It is an excellent opportunity for members to talk to legislators about local, state and federal issues affecting businesses.”

Business people also get the chance to establish contacts with the legislators and to become a point of contact and reference on issues for the legislators during the session, according to Higgins.

For chamber members the reception had an added benefit – there was no charge and appetizers were served, Higgins said.

At the end of the legislative session, the chambers hosts another event to which the Anoka County delegation is invited to talk about what happened during the session and what was accomplished, she said.

“We can hold their feet to the fire,” Higgins said.

Following the event, Higgins e-mailed that “the positive feedback we have received has been overwhelming.”

The two-hour reception Jan. 3 was co-sponsored by the St. Paul Area Association of Realtors and Harvest Grill, which opened in June 2011 at the same time as the city of Coon Rapids’ Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse, in which it is located.

According to its website, the mission of the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce is to be the leading advocate and resource for business in the greater Anoka County area by promoting economic growth and development, impacting public policy, providing education opportunities and building professional relationships.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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