State Rep. Jeff Backer, one of the members of the New House Republican Caucus. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

State Representative Jeff Backer of Browns Valley was one of 44 members of the Rural GOP Caucus who recently sent a letter to Governor Tim Walz about taking a regional approach to opening up the economy. Backer told the KMRS Legislator’s Corner program this weekend that he and his colleagues had a productive phone call with the governor about a number of issues, a conversation that left Backer saying he felt the governor got the message. He also stressed that he is not putting profits over people.

“I’m not putting the economy first over health,” said Backer. “I believe if Walmart, Target and those stores can do it in conjunction and move forward, we need to have the same model for small business. Because if we hurt all our small businesses and we don’t have those businesses around, we can have other problems that can lead…If we close down critical care hospitals because they don’t have the income and they don’t have the staff because they have to lay off staff, that creates health issues and health concerns.”

Backer said the discussion with the governor centered on the different population densities in the different parts of the state, and that COVID restrictions should be adjusted for rural Minnesota compared to urban dwellers.

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