Iron Range miner to be State of the Union guest

East Front of United States Capitol

Dan Hill, a laid off Steelworker from United Taconite in Eveleth, will be Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s guest at the State of the Union address on Jan. 12. Hill and his family live outside Hibbing.

Hill has been an outspoken union miner during the current downturn in the Iron Range mining industry. According to people present, he gave a stirring speech to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough last week.

John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune reported on the news today:

Hill talked about needing fast action from Washington to save the U.S. steel industry and Minnesota mining industry that feeds it — and he made such an impression with state and federal officials that he’s headed to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address next month in Washington.

Hill, of Hibbing, will be the guest of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The Minnesota Democrat said Hill’s imploring McDonough to prevent his generation from being the last generation of miners on the Iron Range, was important in the ongoing battle to protect against illegally dumped foreign steel that is undercutting the market for U.S.-made steel.

Hill, a millwright, is one of 400 steelworkers who have been laid off from United Taconite since August because there is no demand for the plant’s taconite pellets. Hill said he wants the industry salvaged not just for him, but for his 7-year-old son, Riley, who told his dad recently that he wants to be a miner when he grows up.

Hill made this statement through Klobuchar’s office, according to the DNT:

“Thank you to Senator Klobuchar for inviting me to the State of the Union and for always fighting for us on the Iron Range,” Hill said in a statement released through Klobuchar’s office. “We must continue to push for action to stop illegal steel dumping so American steelworkers and miners are competing on a level playing field and good Iron Range jobs are available to our children and grandchildren for generations to come.”

On a side note, I went to high school with Dan’s wife Heather and have seen them around a few times since. These are very nice people, apolitical, and under the circumstances the kind of folks you want representing this story to the president and the nation.


  1. What is a millwright? I tried to look it up, but I got a 404 Not Found error. I wonder if these men being laid off is a sign that there is lower demand for these specialties? I would have guessed that rapid expansion in some areas would make a booming market though. There is so much growth going on near me right now, and there are high rise corporate offices and apartment buildings going up all over the place! The fabricator demand is wonderful here.

    • A millwright is essentially a mechanic who is specially trained to maintain and repair the very large equipment found in industrial mills, such as taconite mines. The skills are transferable among industries, but like anything you tend to focus on the specific aspects of one particular industry.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.