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Minnesota mayor speaks at Republican National Convention

Robert Vlaisavljevich shared remarks focused on the economy, Iron Range mining, environmental regulations and steel dumping.

U.S. President Donald Trump makes an appearance at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte
President Donald Trump addresses the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Aug. 24. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

DULUTH -- An Iron Range mayor was among the various speakers at the second night of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Eveleth Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich focused on the legacy of mining on the Iron Range, economic difficulties and proclaimed President Donald Trump as a boon to the working man. He shared his remarks from what appeared to be the Eveleth City Council chambers.

The theme of the second night of the convention was "Land of Opportunity," with an array of speakers from various fields testifying to how the Trump administration's policies have benefitted them.

Vlaisavljevich shared his history as the mayor of a small town in the heart of the Iron Range and described himself as the son and grandson of miners who provided the steel to "build America." He claimed this election is "make or break" for legacy mining workers.

Vlaisavljevich stated that he was a lifelong Democrat but that the Democratic Party has shifted too far to the left on environmental issues that he claimed hurt mining development.

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"The radical environmental movement has dragged the Democratic Party so far to the left that they can no longer claim to be our advocates of the working man," Vlaisavljevich said.

Vlaisavljevich also brought up foreign steel dumping and how trade tariffs led to economic difficulties on in his city.

"We lost thousands of jobs, we lost a generation of young people who had to move out of the area to find a livelihood. And worst of all, we lost hope," Vlaisavljevich said.

Vlaisavljevich framed Donald Trump as a "straight-talking New Yorker" who kept his campaign promises and championed the blue-collar workers of the country.

"Four years later, the Iron Range is roaring back to life and we have one man to thank: President Donald Trump," Vlaisavljevich said.

He called U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) Green New Deal, a climate-change focused congressional proposal, a "job-killing disgrace, dreamt up by people who don't live in the real world."

Vlaisavljevich also touched on his opinion of presidential candidate Joe Biden in his remarks, calling him "sleepy and weak," stating that he didn't think Biden would "stand up to radical policies" such as the Green New Deal.

"He's (Biden) been doing nothing in Washington for 47 years, why would the 48th be any different?" Vlaisavljevich said.

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Lastly, Vlaisavljevich made a plea for American voters to vote because "we know we can count on President Trump to fight for us and to win."

Vlaisavljevich spoke around 8:10 p.m., after evangelist Billy Graham's granddaughter Cissie Graham Lynch and before Abby Johnson, a pro-life activist.

Other speakers included big names such as First Lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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