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Poppe introduces Institute legislation

ST. PAUL — Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, presented legislation Tuesday to appropriate $13.5 million in state bonding to the Austin Port Authority for the expansion of The Hormel Institute.

Poppe was joined by Gail Dennison from The Hormel Institute, Austin City Administrator Jim Hurm and Bonnie Rietz from The Hormel Foundation. The three testified on behalf of the proposal before the House Jobs and Economic Development Committee.

According to Institute officials, the funding will be used to expand the research and bioscience capabilities of the Institute. The proposed 73,750-square foot addition will provide 15 new state of the art research labs and research technology space to support a new cancer research partnership agreement – signed in June 2011 – with Mayo Clinic.

“The expansion will create (125) new long-term jobs with an average starting salary of $40,000 to $50,000. This is exactly the type of shovel-ready infrastructure investment the state should be making to sustain and enhance our economic recovery,” Poppe said.

“It will have a huge economic benefit to the city of Austin, southern Minnesota and the entire state of Minnesota for years to come,” she added.

Gov. Mark Dayton, a democrat, tweeted about the Institute expansion Wednesday morning.

“125 high-paying bioscience jobs in #AustinMN will stem from the #mDayton bonding proposal,” the tweet read.

The Hormel Institute is recognized world-wide for its cancer prevention research and Poppe’s bill has strong support from the American Cancer Society and the bi-partisan Minnesota Legislative Cancer Caucus.

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus Capital Investment bill.