Seriously. We mean it.
Minnesota Public Radio's Dave Peters reports in Metro area creeps farther into rural Minnesota:
In the eyes of the federal government, urban Minnesota has just pushed a little farther into the countryside.
What used to be a 13-county metropolitan statistical area now contains 16 counties. Mille Lacs, Sibley and Le Sueur counties, which still look pretty rural if you go driving around the likes of Milaca or Winthrop, are now considered by the federal Office of Management and Budget part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
Part of this is statistical artifice, and at least a couple research folks I've talked to around town have been scratching their heads about how meaningful it is. But one thing it says is that the artery of commerce and commuting that for some time has tied the Twin Cities to the St. Cloud area is being duplicated in regards to Mankato.. . . A county is added to an MSA when more than a quarter of its workforce commutes to the "core counties" of the statistical area.
While Gruenhagen's insurance office is in McLeod County (notably still not part of the metro), the lawmaker hangs his hat in Sibley County--and so now, he's statistically a metro legislator. (Indeed, all of his old pre-2012 district--parts of Sibley, Le Sueur and Scott Counties--is now part of the Twin Cities statistical metro area).
Does this radical Big Government redefinition of metro threaten Gruenhagen's role as a voice in the wilderness? After all, in his first message home after being sworn in, the insurance salesman wrote:
It was an honor and a privilege to take the oath of office on Tuesday and be sworn in for the second time to the Minnesota House of Representatives. One of my highest priorities this session is to be a voice for rural Minnesota. Agriculture is such an important part of our local economies, and we must make sure that rural Minnesota is adequately represented in Saint Paul.
Someone needs to let Glenn Beck know.
Photo: Lyle's Cafe, future hipster haven? If you call this metro, serve it with a heavy dollop of irony.
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