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Minnesota roundup: Former Red Wing senator to lead rural Minnesota advocacy group; Mall of America seeks chronicler for 25th anniversary

ST. PAUL—Fresh off a five-year career at the Minnesota State Capitol, former Sen. Matt Schmit will take the lead of a new project with advocacy and policy research group Growth and Justice.

The group aims to develop policies that stimulate economic prosperity throughout the state.

Matt Schmit Schmit will work from his hometown of Red Wing as the director of the group's new Minnesota Rural Equity Project, which will seek nonpartisan solutions to socioeconomic struggles faced throughout greater Minnesota.

Known for his priorities in infrastructure issues like transportation and rural broadband expansion, Schmit said he will draw from his experience in both the Legislature and as a consultant in his new position.

"This is just a continuation of a career in public service," he said. "Seeing rural Minnesota compete with other parts of the state and country to come out of the recession a little stronger is something I take very seriously."

The new project will be funded in part by a Blandin Foundation grant and will partner with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition and the Greater Minnesota Partnership.

Growth and Justice will announce legislative priorities next week.


Mall of America seeks Writer-in-Residence to chronicle its 25th anniversary

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—You can shop till you drop at the Mall of America. Now, the Bloomington landmark is looking for someone to write till they drop while trying to capture the essence of the megamall on its silver anniversary.

The mall, in celebration of its 25th anniversary this year, is sponsoring a Writer-in-Residence Contest to find that person.

According to the contest announcement, the writer-in-residence will "spend five days deeply immersed in the Mall atmosphere while writing on-the-fly impressions in their own words."

"We think it's crucial to capture how much we've evolved over the course of the last 25 years," the announcement said. "Rather than do it ourselves, we're giving that job to a gifted writer."

The contest winner will stay in a mall-attached hotel for four nights, receive a $400 gift card to buy food and drinks, and collect "a generous honorarium for the sweat and tears they'll put into their prose."

Applications are due by midnight March 10. For more information, go to