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Rep. Phil Sterner will hold listening session March 10

Rep. Phil Sterner

State Representative Phil Sterner will hold a town meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at the Galaxie Library in Apple Valley, located at 14955 Galaxie Avenue on the corner of County Road 42 and Galaxie Ave. Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher will join Sterner to give residents an update on the 2009 legislative session and the state's budget deficit.

"We're facing some pretty significant challenges this year -- from the state of our economy to the foreclosure crisis to rising unemployment," said Sterner, currently serving his first term in the Minnesota House. "I'm eager to hear from my neighbors to get their take on the best ways to stabilize our economy and get us back on the road to recovery."

The primary task of the 2009 legislative session is to craft the state's two-year budget, a job made more difficult by a budget deficit projected to grow to nearly $7 billion by early March. In late February, legislators from both parties held a series of listening sessions across the state to gather input from Minnesotans on the deficit and the Governor's budget recommendations. Kelliher and Sterner will share an update on those meetings and on the overall budget process, including revisions to the Governor's proposals made necessary by the growing deficit and the impact of federal stimulus dollars in Minnesota.

"In every listening session across the state, we came away with ideas from citizens about how to make state government more efficient and effective," said Kelliher. "But just as important, people genuinely appreciate the opportunity to be heard as our state faces the enormous task of balancing this budget."

Sterner also invited residents to share their thoughts on budget solutions by visiting the Minnesota House of Representatives web site at where a link has been set up provide residents throughout the state an avenue to weigh in with their ideas about how to close the budget gap.

"Minnesotans always have good ideas - and we don't care where the best ones come from," said Sterner. "The people of Minnesota just want us to work together to get things done."

Sterner continued, "I hope folks take the time to come to this meeting - hearing a wide range of views and ideas will help me make good decisions on behalf of our community and our state."