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Redwood Falls Gazette
  • MSBA recognizes Sen. Gary Dahms for education efforts in St. Paul

  • Holding a small bell, District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms was surrounded by members of the Redwood Area Board of Education this past Monday night as he was being recognized for his work in St. Paul as it relates to education.
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  • Holding a small bell, District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms was surrounded by members of the Redwood Area Board of Education this past Monday night as he was being recognized for his work in St. Paul as it relates to education.
    Dahms was being honored as one of a handful of legislators who were named legislators of the year by the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA).
    Grace Keliher, MSBA director of government affairs, presented the bell-shaped award to Dahms for the work he was able to do.
    “Senator Dahms was someone who made a real difference for school districts,” said Keliher. “You could not ask for a more independent minded senator.
    “His background as a county commissioner has served him well. He is not one who is swayed by arguments, but keeps his focus and does what he believes is best for kids. That is a rare commodity.”
    One of the issues Dahms works hard to accomplish was added funding for safe schools budgets, which would help districts to ensure security in their facilities.
    While the proposal to allocate up to $100 per pupil did not come to fruition, the efforts of Dahms, working in concert with fellow legislators, did lead to an increase of $4 per pupil unit.
    Keliher said there was a lot of debate in St. Paul about providing funds for schools, especially after what happened in Newtown, Conn.
    Another area Dahms focused his efforts on was added funding to provide career technology and ag education emphases in the classroom.
    Dahms said by 2015 there is going to be a need for thousands of new jobs, and even if every student who is in school and is graduating with an ag degree by 2015 gets an ag job there are still going to be more job demands.
    That demand, Dahms added, is going to increase dramatically by 2050 when the demand for food production is going to double.
    “We have a lot of work to do, and one way we can make that up is through education,” said Dahms.
    Dahms said he appreciates the recognition, adding he knows any effort done in St. Paul can’t be done by just one person. He also knows there are plenty of others he works with who have put forth efforts focused on education and deserve to be recognized.
    Dahms, who reminded the school board he is a 1965 Redwood Falls High School graduate, said he is convinced the people who can develop the programs that best serve students are those at the local level.
    “You truly have the best interest of our kids at heart,” he told the local school board.
    Board member Tom Hollatz expressed his appreciation for the work Dahms does in St. Paul, adding he is one who is always accessible and does have what is best for the people he serves in mind when he makes his decisions.
    Page 2 of 2 - Rick Ellingworth, Redwood Area School District superintendent, pointed to the work Dahms did while serving on the school’s education foundation, as he helped lead the efforts that resulted in the reestablishment of an ag program in the district.
    “We can appreciate your recognition of him and the work he is doing now,” Ellingworth said, “but just know he has been doing this work for a long time.”

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