Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, a Minnesota native, to check out Iron Range layoffs

President Barack Obama is sending his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, to the Iron Range Dec. 22 to talk with laid-off workers, mining executives, residents and officials about the national steel crisis.

He’ll be at the Range Community & Technical College in Virgina, Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Rep. Rick Nolan said they’ll be there, hosting McDonough, a Stillwater native.

In a statement, officials say Dayton has been talking with McDonough about how the state is reeling from 2,000 mining layoffs in the worst mining and steel downturn in decades. The governor has asked the White House to take executive action against illegal steel dumping that is hurting the U.S. industry.

Nolan and Klobuchar have met with McDonough, who passed the message to the president.

Said Franken: “Minnesota’s iron ore and steel workers can compete with anybody in the world on a level playing field. But the industry has been shaken by foreign competitors who are flooding American markets with illegally dumped steel. The Northland is struggling, and we need action. That’s why we called on President Obama and his administration to help us remedy this problem.” 

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