District 16B State Rep. Paul Torkelson was recognized by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) July 26 during the coalition’s three-day summer conference in Mankato for his positive impact on the state’s transportation policy.

Torkelson, a Republican from Hanska, is serving his fifth term in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

The Legislator of Distinction award, which was presented to Torkelson, is given to legislators who played key roles in advancing CGMC’s policy during the preceding legislative session.

As chair of the transportation committee, Torkelson helped craft legislation with a strong emphasis on meeting rural Minnesota’s transportation needs.

This session, he played a key role in negotiating a deal to put additional funding into Corridors of Commerce, a program that helps fund highway improvement projects to reduce bottlenecks and improve commerce.

In addition, he has been supportive of providing ongoing funding for the small cities assistance program, which helps cities with fewer than 5,000 residents pay for repairs to their streets.

“Rep. Torkelson is a fair and thoughtful legislator who recognizes the importance of a strong transportation system,” said Dave Smiglewski, mayor of Granite Falls and president of the CGMC. “Our communities need safe, convenient and reliable roads to do business and ensure a good quality of life for our residents. Rep. Torkelson’s efforts to put additional state funding into transportation priorities will lead to much-needed repairs and expansion projects in Greater Minnesota and across the state.”

CGMC is a non-profit, nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 97 cities outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The coalition educates legislators about issues important to rural Minnesota.