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Blog Post: The Land of 10,000 Lakes is a pretty great place to live

The good folks at Politico have finally caught onto something Minnesotans have know for a long time — that the Land of 10,000 Lakes is a pretty great place to live.

Politico’s data-driven analysis in their “State of the States” report from last month was based on stuff like per capita income and high school graduation rates. Inexplicably, they didn’t include even a single data point about hotdish, the State Fair, or pond hockey. So I wanted to share a few of the things that I think make Minnesota #1:

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  • Hotdish: Writing a list of reasons why MN is the #1 state that doesn’t include hotdish is like writing a list of the good things about France that doesn’t include cheese. For those of you who are unfamiliar, “hotdish” is a hearty Minnesota staple that’s similar to a casserole and often includes tater tots and cream of mushroom soup in the most delicious flavor combination known to mankind. Every year, I host the Minnesota congressional delegation for our annual hotdish competition in Washington — and let me tell you, it’s quite a delicious day.

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  • State Fair: The Great Minnesota Get-Together can be tough to describe to someone who’s never attended. There are games, rides, animals, music and, of course, amazing food. Think of it as a 4H show wrapped in a Twinkie, put on a stick, deep-fried, and covered with powdered sugar. Now, imagine eating that continuously for the next twelve hours (washed down with all-you-can-drink milk, of course). As you eat, drink, and wander the fairgrounds, pop into the dairy building and watch as 90-pound blocks of butter are transformed into sculptures. After that, test your stomach by climbing into a burlap sack and riding it down the Giant Slide. If you’re still hungry, you can literally eat a bucketful of chocolate-chip cookies — they sell them in smaller quantities, but why bother?

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  • Minnesota’s natural beauty: Here in Minnesota, you can watch the Mississippi River transform from a gentle stream at Lake Itasca to a two-mile-wide behemoth at Lake Pepin. With the Boundary Waters, Voyageurs National Park, and two national forests in our borders, Minnesota’s scenery can go toe-to-toe with any state in the country.

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  • Progressivism: We’re known as the land of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone, but the influence of progressivism can be found all across the state. Maybe it’s the winters, maybe it’s something in the water, but Minnesotans take care of each other, and to me, that’s the heart of progressivism.

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  • Thinking ahead: Lots of good ideas get their start in Minnesota. We’ve made sure that insurance companies spend your premiums on providing better health care (I was proud to fight to include the Medical Loss Ratio in the health reform law). Through the use of renewable energy, the University of Minnesota, Morris is striving to become one of the first colleges in the nation to become carbon neutral. I won’t even go into all the great inventions and products from Minnesota (ok, maybe just a few: rollerblades, the pacemaker, scotch tape, the bundt pan, the handled grocery bag, Cortisone, the ring laser gyroscope). We’re a pretty smart state.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, by any means. If you have another reason why Minnesota earned its #1, please head over to our Facebook page and add it in.