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House committee will meet in Farmington

Pat Garofalo is bringing the capitol to the cornfields.

On March 31 Farmington's state representative and the rest of the K-12 Education Finance Division Committee will hold a meeting at Farmington High School's little theater. The legislative field trip is something committees do from time to time to bring government to the people rather than forcing people with something to say to come to St. Paul.

"On occasion, instead of having people come to the legislature we bring the legislature to the people," Garofalo said. "Normally people have to make a one-hour round trip to talk to their legislators. Now, it's right in their backyard."

Garofalo said he doesn't remember a committee meeting being held in his district in the five years he's served in the House.

Garofalo, a Republican, said it's rare for a committee controlled by one party to hold a hearing in a district represented by a member of the opposing party. But Garofalo said he and committee chair Mindy Greiling agree education should not be a partisan issue.

Next week's meeting, which will begin at 5:30 p.m., is a way for area districts to talk about some of their accomplishments and to explain some of the challenges they see in education. There will also be a public comment period during which residents can offer their own thoughts on education priorities.

"It's a great way for people to learn about the school districts of our area and for the public to participate in the process," Garofalo said.