Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota (P&TC) is proud to announce an exciting enhancement to our government relations program as the highly respected, former chair of the House Taxes Committee, Ann Lenczewski will represent P&TC at the state capitol during the 2016 legislative session. Lenczewski had been a strong supporter of parks and trails during her 16 years at the Legislature, where she retired from last year.
P&TC is the first organization for which Lenczewski will serve as the designated lobbyist in her new role with Lockridge Grindal Nauen’s State Government Relations Group. The firm represents clients throughout the Midwest and in Washington D.C. in a variety of industries. “We are excited to add such an experienced capitol veteran to our team as we communicate our state’s parks and trails needs to lawmakers,” said P&TC executive director Brett Feldman.
With over 20 years of experience in public office, Lenczewski understands how to get things done. She has been a champion for key issues to parks and trails, authoring bills that funded the restoration of the Old Cedar Avenue Trail Bridge, and development of the Minnesota Valley State Trail. She also authored a bill (HF 2204) that would have provided $135 million for construction and maintenance of state trails. When not authoring, she has played the role of key supporter on other important bills such as the double-digit budget increases for state parks and trails in both 2013 and 2015; and the 2014 bonding bill that appropriated over $60 million to park and trail projects, the largest park and trail capital investment in years.
As a lawmaker, Lenczewski earned respect across the aisle as being smart and forthright. Rep. Greg Davids, the Republican chair of the House Tax Committee was quoted in the Nov. 16 Pioneer Press for saying, “she’s forgotten more about taxes than I’d ever know. Whether it be Democrats or my side of the aisle, you respected her because she knew what she was talking about, she was smart and she always told me the truth.”
P&TC has always had high-quality government relations consultants. Most recently, Joe Bagnoli and Sarah Psick from McGrann Shea Carnival Straugh & Lamb made significant contributions that will remain part of the parks and trails legacy. During Bagnoli and Psick’s five-year tenure working on behalf of P&TC, state parks and trails saw double-digit increases in base funding during two consecutive bienniums, and we celebrated a nearly $18 million appropriation for state trail acquisition and development in 2014.
We expect to continue this strong record of support for parks and trails in the coming year, which is particularly significant as Minnesota State Parks and Trails celebrate 125 years in 2016.