The Lancaster Community Center was packed on Monday, November 6, 2017, for the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Point Of Entry (POE) public hearing. With capacity reached at 184, people were still cramming to get in the door for standing room in the back. Area Port Director Jason Schmelz called the meeting to order and began by thanking everyone for attending.
In attendance were Minnesota State Senator Mark Johnson, Minnesota Representative Dan Fabian, retired State Senator Leroy Stumpf, a staff aid from U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, Andrew Martin, the Outreach Director for U.S. Senator Klobuchar, and Carson Ouellette, Northwest Minnesota Regional Field Representative of U.S. Senator Franken.
Each had prepared statements to read in support of the POE retaining their hours of operation as well as criticize the CBP for springing these cut hours on Lancaster and Roseau. Through the press release given by the CBP, the new hours beginning January 7, 2018, seems like a “done deal” that “happened too fast” for reasons not clearly given. “Your rationales are mysterious, and hasn’t been explained in a way that seems reasonable,” Senator Mark Johnson said to the CBP. “And I may be new to the Minnesota Senate but I am already sick of fighting against these government policies that hurt our small communities.” Applause by the audience was given at this statement as the microphone was passed to Rep. Dan Fabian.
For more coverage of this meeting, see this week’s North Star News!