Sen. Tina Smith Visits Duluth Businesses, Discusses COVID-19 Response

DULUTH, Minn. – U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (DFL-Minn.) visited with small businesses in Duluth about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted them.

Smith met with leaders in the Lincoln Park neighborhood about efforts to make personal protective equipment locally.

Duluth-based Ecolibrium3 has brought various organizations together to manufacture hundreds of thousands of face shields.

The senator says that kind of community-based strategy may help with testing and PPE efforts nationally.

“If we had a national strategy that could build and fuel what they’re building here in Duluth and in Lincoln Park, I think that would work so much better than the back and forth, not knowing exactly what’s next issue that we have right now,” said Sen. Smith.

Smith toured Frost River Trading Company which changed its operations during the pandemic.

The company added 24 machines and 53 employees to make much-needed masks and face shields for local hospitals.

Owner Christian Benson believes it’s important that a percentage of PPE is made here in the U.S.

“It’s going to employ people to go into the sewing trades. It’s going to employ people to be part of manufacturing, which is a great thing for the U.S. base, and ultimately leadership and guidance like that is going to have to come from Washington,” said Benson.

Smith also visited the University of Minnesota’s Medical School in Duluth and small businesses in Crow Wing County.

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