The Owatonna Degner Regional Airport could see some changes in the near future. US Congressman Jim Hagedorn stopped in Owatonna this week to update officials on plans that would add a hangar and upgrade the runway.

The First District Representative said he and airport and City of Owatonna officials "talked about a couple of projects. One would be to build a new hangar out there. Because there's a lot of demand in Owatonna. It's a growing community. That airport's also growing. And then maybe look at some improvements down the road with the runway, which would be able to accommodate some larger cargo jets and things of that nature."

Hagedorn toured the Owatonna Art Center, "That was fascinating. I'd never been through there. It's a beautiful facility. The folks that have been running that place for almost four decades. They're doing terrific work. It's just wonderful."

Hagedorn also addressed the worker shortage being felt by many businesses, "The economy right now is a little bit disjointed. Everywhere we go, it doesn't matter if it's big business, small business, if they're looking for skilled work, unskilled work, there's just a lack of employees."

He said he and some of his colleagues sent a letter to Governor Tim Walz. "He should join about 20 - 25 governors across the country. Get rid of that extra $300 of federal unemployment compensation per week. And do everything possible to encourage people to get back to work."

"Certainly if people don't want to seek work or won't accept work, they should probably lose their benefits. We just have to do this. The business owners are having a tough time. Particularly, you get into hospitality, the restaurants and others. Some of them even have to close their doors for a period of time or cut back on hours and it's driving up the cost to consumers."


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