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 Response Page - McElroy  Interview -      
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These comments are responses to the statements listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Dan McElroy Interview of

Provide good early education and a sense of opportunity
to improve workforce preparation and region's competitiveness


According to Dan McElroy, president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota and executive vice president of the Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations, emphasizing early childhood education and creating a sense of opportunity that it's worth staying in school and going to college are the best ways to develop a highly qualified workforce. He also urges that we concentrate on helping immigrant, low-income families, who may have no college experience, to build up the cultural and financial capital and educational momentum to be successful.

Minnesota's leisure and hospitality industry has a large impact on the state's economy, McElroy says, accounting for 11 percent of the state's total private-sector employment and generating $4.3 billion in wages. In 2012, the industry generated $12.5 billion in gross sales and employed 245,411 people in private-sector jobs.

McElroy says the associations he represents are concerned about the recently enacted state minimum wage of $9.50 an hour. They believe $8.50 would have been more reasonable. He points out that some low-skilled hospitality workers earn more than the minimum wage already. He's concerned about the impact of the new wage on the jobs of people who get tips, since Minnesota is one of only seven states that don't count tips toward the minimum wage. He says the minimum wage system used in the United Kingdom has taken the politics out of the issue.

Besides competing to keep companies in the state, help companies grow and attract new companies, Minnesota also competes for people and cultural assets, McElroy points out. He believes the larger region, not just the artificial borders of individual states, is the proper context to think about competitiveness. Minnesota benefits when the rest of the region is doing well. 

For the complete interview summary see:  McElroy interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, readers rated these statements about the topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree):

1. Topic is of value. (7.7 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. (6.8 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

Readers rated the following points discussed during the meeting on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

3. States should compete less, cooperate more. (7.6 average response) Because economic regions don't follow state boundaries, Minnesota and surrounding states should work together to attract businesses within the region, rather than only competing against each other.

4. Incentives offer little benefit to economic growth. (6.6 average response) Businesses might benefit their own stockholders and customers when they seek taxpayer-financed incentives for expansion or relocation,  but any benefit from such incentives to the growth of the economy is unlikely.

5. Hospitality industry stimulates economy. (7.0 average response) The hospitality industry can be credited with stimulating the economy through its support of entrepreneurship because the industry offers so many opportunities for those who want to start their own businesses.

6. Industry a vital partner in education. (7.8 average response) Because 16-year-olds holding a job are 50 percent more likely to graduate from high school than those without jobs,  businesses hiring those youths--particularly in the hospitality industry--have become vital partners in education.


Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree


Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.







2. Further study warranted.







3. States should compete less, cooperate more.







4. Incentives offer little benefit to economic growth.







5. Hospitality industry stimulates economy.







6. Industry a vital partner in education.







Individual Responses:

Dave Broden  (7.5)  (5)  (10)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (7.5)

1. Topic is of value. This interview provided another view [not only] from the perspective of a unique industry, but also from the interviewee who has broad related experience.

2. Further study warranted. This [is] one of an on-going list of similar interviews.

3. States should compete less, cooperate more. The statement would be a great goal, but reality suggests competition drives the process.

4. Incentives offer little benefit to economic growth. The cost/benefit analysis of tax-based incentives should be and is becoming [a] topic of broad interest to determine how incentives are effectively utilized, applied, and tracked for performance.

5. Hospitality industry stimulates economy. I would like to see some data that suggest that the statement is credible and does result in economic growth. While any initiative will spur growth, action in other industries likely has greater benefit.

6. Industry a vital partner in education. There seems to be increasing links between understanding what a job is, its responsibility, etc., and evolving progress and maturity of the student as the student transitions through the education process.

R. C. Angevine  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)

1. Topic is of value. I found the information useful.

3. States should compete less, cooperate more. I absolutely agree.  We need to learn to work together for the common good.

4. Incentives offer little benefit to economic growth. Again, we need to judge incentive programs on how they will benefit the common good, not a particular business and their stockholders.

6. Industry a vital partner in education. Never really thought of it that way, but I agree that holding a job is a valuable tool for learning.

Kevin Edberg  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)

2. Further study warranted. The concept of wealth and equity beyond those of individuals or businesses, and the competition for ideas and people, is worth continuing perspectives.  Mr. McElroy is making a valuable contribution to this discussion.

6. Industry a vital partner in education. I'm not sure that business and the education sector see themselves as "partners", though the thrust of the argument is valid.

Phil Kinnunen  (7.5)  (7.5)  (0)  (0)  (2.5)  (5)

3. States should compete less, cooperate more. Competing is always good and so is cooperation; we can and should have both.

5. Hospitality industry stimulates economy. People need to be working in order to use the hospitality industry, most people, at least in my experience, stay in a hotel either because they have work in the area or are getting away from work for awhile.

Don Anderson  (5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)

Dave Durenberger  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

1. Topic is of value. Minnesota would do well to focus not only on the economic strengths of the region, but on what the region's cost-reducing natural strengths may be:  Health, health care, education, higher education, social conscience and civic virtuosity, level of citizen involvement in representative local and state government, etc. While tax rates may seem high, the costs of producing and maintaining a motivated and productive workforce are lower and are born by us, not by the national government to the degree it is in the East, the South, and the Far West.

Anonymous   (10)  (10)  (10)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)

5. Hospitality industry stimulates economy. The industry, while important and expanding, has traditionally

been hampered by low wages and thus draws many with little education and chance to better themselves. The industry should be benefitted by the increase in the minimum wage to draw more educated employees and give them a chance to get further education.

Bruce A. Lundeen  (5)  (5)  (5)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)

Trixie Girtz Golberg   (10)  (10)  (10)  (5)  (10)  (8)

Dan brings such a strong background and unique qualifications.  Great person to include, Civic Caucus.   Great starts and hopeful futures: it's the recipe for healthy lives, successful businesses and strong economy.

Lyall Schwarzkopf   (8)  (7)  (9)  (6)  (7)  (8)

Chuck Lutz   (9)  (9)  (8)  (5)  (8)  (9)

Bright Dornblaser   (10)  (4)  (7)  (5)  (10)  (8)

Wayne Jennings   (7)  (6)  (4)  (5)  (7)  (9)

Roger A Wacek   (na)  (na)  (8)  (10)  (5)  (10)

William Kuisle   (9)  (9)  (9)  (10)  (6)  (8)

Larry Schluter   (2)  (2)  (6)  (4)  (6)  (4)

I don’t know why a 16 year old who has a job is more likely to graduate than those who participate in sports or other extracurricular activity.  He should have been asked, “What does a person working fulltime need to make to survive?”


The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (coordinator), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie, Dan Loritz (chair),
Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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