By Erik Sandin
Because President Obama signed the St. Croix Crossing bridge bill in March without fanfare, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann decided to mark the signing this morning in Stillwater.
The fact that a cold, windy morning forced the planned outdoor event into The Water Street Inn failed to dampen Bachmann's enthusiasm in presenting copies of the bill and White House pens to supporters of the legislation.
"This is a celebration of the passage of this historic bill," she said.
Looking out a window to traffic on the 80-year-old Historic Lift Bridge, Bachmann added, "We can all see that this bridge that has served us well needs to be replaced."
Bachmann noted that the St. Croix Crossing bill was among just 110 measures passed by Congress, adding that many of the bills renaming post offices and federal courthouses.
"Passage of this bill was momentous," she said.
Bachmann thanked local officials and state lawmakers for their efforts both in support of the bill and ensuring state funds were dedicated toward bridge construction.
"This was a federal and state effort," she said. "Without the state funds, the set-aside, this would have never happened. This was a team effort."
Bachmann said that St. Croix River bridge team included Wisconsin officials and region business owners.
"It's not just a victory for Stillwater," she said. "It's a victory for Wisconsin. It's a victory for employers."
The congresswoman also said the bill means there will be no more delays in bridge construction.
"We will get this bridge off the ground and built," Bachmann said. "We are dedicated to making sure the bridge goes up unimpeded."
Perhaps one of the happiest people at the presentation was Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki, as Bachmann pointed out he received two commemorative tokens at the ceremony.
"Mayor, you get a bill and a pen," Bachmann said.
"And a bridge," Harycki replied.