DULUTH, MN-- COVID-19 will be front and center at the Minnesota legislative session as local business owners say they need more support.
"What we're seeing is that small businesses are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, losing upwards or more than 50% of their revenue," said Chris Johnson, Director of Marketing and Communications for Duluth's Chamber of Commerce.
Duluth Chamber of Commerce officials are pushing for local lawmakers to bring more support to the regions struggling, while District 7 state Senator Jen McEwen says she hears them loud and clear.
"Our small businesses are in crisis right now because of COVID," said Sen. McEwen. "Which is why it's just so critical and so important to have that small business relief coming from the state."
The Chamber of Commerce is hoping the 24th annual Duluth and St. Louis County Days at the Capitol event will bring more attention to the issue.
"All of our local industries have benefitted from being a part of this event and having their voices being heard and connecting one on one with these legislators," said Kathleen Privette, Director of Events for the Chamber.
In past events, the chamber has rallied 500 residents from the area to participate in the event and over the years it's had a positive impact on the community. Including helping the city's higher education systems, WWLSD, and Spirit Mountain.
"We've gained support for our medical district, and our projects in our city and our county," said Privette.
Senator McEwen says hearing the stories of those impacted will help her when heading to the senate chambers.
"Hearing the stories, the actual personal stories of people who are in our district, the things that they're going through, the difficulties they're having, then to be able to take those examples and stories and bring them to our colleagues and our committees," said Sen. McEwen.
Due to COVID-19, the 24th annual event will be held in a virtual setting.
The Duluth and St. Louis County at the Capitol Days events will occur on March 3 and 4.
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