2015 Legislator of the Year
Representative Denny McNamara
The Minnesota Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has named Representative Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) its 2015 Legislator of the Year for playing a pivotal role for the dairy industry during the recent legislative session. The award was presented during the Minnesota Milk Expo in St. Cloud December 2.
McNamara, from the metropolitan suburb of Hastings, started a tree care and landscaping business, which according to MMPA gave him the common sense know-how dairy farmers need in every state representative. That industry know-how, along with his leadership qualities, thrust McNamara into the chairmanship of the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee. “That committee is arguably more important to dairy farmers than the agriculture committee,” said Pat Lunemann, a Clarissa dairy farmer and president of MMPA who presented the award.
As the chief author of the Environment and Agriculture Omnibus Finance bill this past session, McNamara worked closely with other agriculture leaders to pass a very large, multi-agency budget bill that MMPA labeled as fair for farmers. The final budget bill did not include millions of dollars in food industry and dairy farm fee increases that some had originally proposed. “Representative McNamara’s efforts were crucial in protecting the dairy industry’s bottom line,” said Lunemann.
McNamara successfully supported many of Minnesota Milk Producers Association initiatives, including:
- Environmental permit streamlining;
- Fair and reasonable conservation buffer laws; and
- Funding for dairy research and dairy farm reinvestment.
“With what was perhaps the most significant moral victory Minnesota Milk has witnessed in a long time, Representative McNamara was one of the pivotal legislators to negotiate with the Governor to repeal the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Review Board,” added Lunemann. “While opposition to the Review Board was never solely about the dairy industry, we became the poster child for the Board’s redundancy and its role in the delay and unpredictability of the environmental permitting process.”
Representative McNamara realized it was time for the MPCA Citizen’s Board to go, and played a key role in making that reform happen in the 2015 session and special session. According to MMPA, McNamara has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to common sense policies that create job growth and economic activity. His leadership during the 2015 legislative session supported a free marketplace, did not place undue burdens on local businesses and helped people keep their shopping baskets full.