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I first met Tim Walz on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007, after a horrific storm hit southeastern Minnesota, causing loss of life and millions of dollars in damages to our region.

After being out all night with local rescue groups, I was standing in the La Crescent Fire Station about 9:30 am that Sunday, and Congressman Walz walked in. He said, “I’m here to see what we can do to help.”

I spent the day with him, touring areas of Houston County that were accessible. Congressman Walz met with local residents and made a commitment to whatever he could do to get them back on their feet.

He followed through. He helped our county maximize federal disaster relief, helped secure a Homeland Security grant to improve our radio communications, and he has stayed in touch with our region ever since.

Congressman Walz is working on a federal bill to increase funding of small cities and counties after many years of metro-focused funding.

We have an opportunity to elect a governor from outside of the metro area who understands the needs of small communities. This would be the first time our first Congressional District had a governor since 1915.

As a lifetime resident of Houston County, Minnesota, and longtime public servant, I wholeheartedly support Tim Walz for governor of Minnesota.

Mike Poellinger, La Crescent

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Mike Poellinger is mayor of La Crescent.