Annual legislative meeting called off

The annual “legislative meeting” in Ely won’t happen this year.
An event that brings local elected officials together with state legislators, county officials and aides to federal lawmakers has been called off, because of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting, hosted by the Community Economic Development Joint Powers Board, had been scheduled for Monday, Dec. 7 at the Grand Ely Lodge.
Rising case numbers across the state prompted Gov. Tim Walz to reinstate several restrictions, including bans on in-person dining and limits on public gatherings.
Both made it impossible for the annual event, which usually attracts as many as 40-to-50 people for a lunch gathering, to move forward as planned.
Joint Powers Board members considered cancelling the meeting in October but ultimately decided then to move forward with an in-person gathering with accommodations for people to take part remotely.
State Sen. Tom Bakk and State Rep. Rob Ecklund had committed to attend, and aides to U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith were also invited.
The event is usually a lively affair, with legislators sharing their insight about the upcoming session and area leaders presenting an assortment of priorities, projects and requests.
About two decades old, the event is an offshoot of meetings convened previously by the Ely Area Community Economic Development Joint Powers Board and the Ely Area Development Association.
While the joint powers group no longer contracts for economic development services, it meets regularly to address local issues and the legislative meeting remains a focus point for the organization.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the meeting will be rescheduled or scrapped entirely.