Four ‘Next Generation’ members selected to round out Iron Range task force

Four young Iron Range professionals have been named to a task force formed to protect the resources of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.

The Better IRRRB Task Force, formed last month, has 11 other members chosen from the community, elected officials and IRRRB members.

Initially, the board planned to add two younger members, called Next Generation members, to the task force, but a strong group of applicants prompted IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich to expand the task force and add the four, all younger than 34.

They are:

  • Britta Bloomquist of Virginia,  a communications coordinator for Habitat for Humanity in Virginia through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
  • Victoria Hagberg of Hibbing, a geotechnical engineer for Barr Engineering Co. in Hibbing.
  • Kyle Lamppa of Virginia, a United Steelworkers training coordinator at ArcelorMittal-Minorca Mine in Virginia.
  • Jordan Richards of Ely, a data analyst for Twin Metals Minnesota and co-manager of Rockwood Bar and Grill, both in Ely. He also is an aircraft armament system specialist with the Minnesota Air National Guard 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth.

The IRRRB, a state economic development agency in northeastern Minnesota, says it has fought off legislative efforts to take over some of the $143 million Douglas J. Johnson Fund, funded by a taconite tax. Proceeds of the fund are used to stimulate employment and encourage diversification of northeastern Minnesota’s economy.

The IRRRB said in a statement: “Over the past decade, there have been repeated and failed attempts to raid the fund by some elected officials at the Capitol. The task force also will develop strategies for improving the IRRRB and helping it evolve with the times.”

Other task force members named are:

  • Chair: Ron Dicklich
  • Community Representatives: LaTisha Gietzen, Laura Rusich, Jack Ryan and Bill Spang.
  • Elected Officials: Hibbing Mayor Rick Cannata, Virginia City Council Member Nevada Littlewolf, Ely City Council Member  Heidi Omerza and Nashwauk Township Chair  Warren Stolp.
  • Four IRRRB board members: state Sen. David Tomassoni; state Reps.  Carly Melin, David Dill and Jason Metsa.

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