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BREAKING NEWS: Dayton, Klobuchar Pledge Support for Finding Buyer for Closed Verso Paper Plant in Sartell

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton speaks to media members. State Representative Tim O'Driscoll (R) is left of Dayton, US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) and State Representative Steve Gottwalt (R) are to the right. (Jim Maurice, WJON News)

SARTELL — Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Amy Klobuchar joined Sartell Mayor Joe Perske and labor union officials at a news conference in Sartell this afternoon.

Mayor Perske says the Memorial Day explosion and fire was the “most horrific day in the city’s history.”  Perske says Thursday’s announcement was “one of the saddest.”

Governor Dayton, referred to the mill’s 107-year history when he said, “Today is the first day of the next 100 years.”

Dayton says he still has not ruled out the possibility of holding a special session to deal with Verso Paper Mill site.  Although he couldn’t say what specifically that session would deal with.  Dayton says special sessions are meant to deal with major disasters, and the mill closing definitely qualifies.

Senator Klobuchar told the crowd, “We are going to do everything we can to find an alternative use for the site.”  She says the workers’ severance packages will be in addition to their unemployment benefits.

Members of DEED say they’ll be working with the workers individually to give them the tools they need to reintegrate themselves back into the workforce.

Steelworkers Local 274 President Lyle Fleck says he believes Verso tried very hard to re-start the mill.

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