> Letters to the editor T’Kach: best voice for education
As a parent and a member of the local school board, education is a priority for me. I believe electing Mary T’Kach to the Minnesota House District 52B seat will give us the best voice for education at the state level.
Our education system needs people in the Legislature who will give our children the right foundation from the start, as well as the fundamentals to be wellrounded individuals when they enter the workforce. Mary T’Kach supports strong public schools, starting from early childhood learning all the way to affordable, post-secondary education opportunities.
Currently, schools are working to close the achievement gap between different student demographics, and I believe having representatives like Mary T’Kach at the Capitol to support them will help reach this goal.
Mary T’Kach has spent her career helping others bridge gaps and achieve viable, long-term solutions. I know she will do the same for our children. I hope you will join me in voting for Mary T’Kach on Nov. 8.
Matt Schaefer, Inver Grove Heights
Elected to represent all
It was good to see the Pioneer Press give some front-page coverage to the two candidates running for Congress in the Fourth District (“ ‘The Plumber’ aims to ‘unplug’ Congress” and “This incumbent keeps a low profile,” Nov. 1).
This seat has been held by four people of the Democratic Party continuously since 1949: Eugene McCarthy, Joe Karth, Bruce Vento and Betty McCollum.
I have lived in St. Paul for 70 years and realize that it is a oneparty town. However, I have always felt elected officials are there to look after all people in their district, not just those who vote for them.
In your article, the Republican candidate stated that the Democratic incumbent is almost invisible here in St. Paul. I agree, since I do not get any digital or hardcopy correspondence detailing what is going on in our congressional district. When Vento and Karth held the position, I had regular, informative mailings. My street address has been the same for the past 45 years and my email address was provided to the Fourth District congressional office no less than 10 years ago. Your article stated that Rep. McCollum doesn’t spend any of her $750,000 campaign money on TV ads but does spend it to identify who votes for her and to encourage them to vote. There is the rub: The elected party is in Washington to represent and inform all in their district, not just those who vote for them.
Tom Troskey, St. Paul
The real Jason Lewis
The voice on the other end of the phone was alarming, “The 35W Bridge fell. It looks like an earthquake!”
I was on 494, planning to take my family out for supper. We immediately headed to the studio on Utica Avenue. I was the radio station’s image director. On a normal day, I took news coverage, show audio, and “one liners” from talent like Jason Lewis, and created compelling promotional material. Controversy gets ratings in broadcast, and I could script a debate with 5 seconds of audio. I could also quickly produce news reports.
“Jason’s still on the air?” I asked as I reached the control room, family in tow. The program manager nodded. “Jason volunteered to stay on tonight.”
I was a little surprised. Jason Lewis was a “talk” guy, a radio broadcaster whose job was to be entertaining and incensing for the sake of ratings. The bridge collapse was real. Families, relatives and citizens were desperately seeking information. First responders were putting their lives on the line.
Glancing through the glass, you could see Jason was tense. Live reports, eyewitness accounts and news from emergency services were flooding the newsroom. Every few seconds, a staffer entered or exited the studio.
A live report wrapped up, and Jason Lewis pressed the red microphone “on” button. He paused briefly, then, began summarizing the situation. His voice was different. It was a concerned, calm voice. It was the voice of a man who cared deeply for his fellow Minnesotans.
In tense, heartbreaking situations, newscasters try to disassociate themselves from the news, but Jason Lewis was not your cutand- dried newscaster. And in those moments, he also wasn’t “Mr. Right.” His thoughts were of the victims and their families. His professionalism kept the broadcast together. That is the real Jason Lewis, who is running for Congress in the 2nd District. He’s a guy who cares about you, who cares about Minnesota and who will carry our concerns to Washington, fighting for us as an independent voice.
David Bilger Edgewater, Maryland
Craig is qualified
Many races are close up and down the ticket, and Angie Craig intends to help make changes in the Affordable Care Act by extending it beyond limits set by Republicans who control Congress. Her kind of leadership in the health care industry eminently qualifies her for the task. Craig has been a conciliator rather than a confronter, and she acts effectively to bring opponents together rather than wasting resources. In turn, her unique ability to empathize gives her the ability to reach across the aisle.
Speaking for ethnic minorities, Angie has fought for opportunities that weren’t available in her personal history of limited means. “I don’t want to go back to a time when women paid more than men, when pre-existing conditions prohibited someone from having health insurance, when we couldn’t keep our children on our plans until age 26,” she says.
A champion for seniors, Craig leads in the cause of Social Security, access to transportation and prescription benefits.
The mom of four teenage boys, she points to our future, maintaining a balance between career development and equitable military benefits. By implementing strategic investment in education, she has designed a plan for student- loan reimbursement, using innovative ideas for business tax credits. Angie Craig, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, is a leader in advancing the entire Second District.
Mark Frascone, Eagan
‘I am an independent’
Thank you for the great story in the Pioneer Press (“Overby vs. the system,” Oct. 30) by David Montgomery.
I received a lot of wonderful comments and, of course, the independent voters love to see their candidate covered in the media. Your photographer, Jean Pieri, was amazing, very cordial and inspiring. Both my son and I had a great time working with her.
For the record: First of all, we do plan to win and we will win. The subjective suggestion of “distant third” is not what we intend to accomplish.
With respect to the statement about caucusing with the Republicans, the caucus system emphasizes the polarization in our twoparty system. I am working against political polarization. I am an independent, which allows me to consider positions in both parties. I am uniquely qualified for that in my ability to speak to both sides of the aisle.
It is true that I support singlepayer health care, but it is not true, as suggested, that this is a Democratic position. For example, Angie Craig, the Democratic candidate, does not favor single-payer. She clearly stated her intention to expand the Affordable Care Act, popularly referred to as “Obamacare.”
Paula Overby The writer is endorsed by the Independence Party in Minnesota’s Second District congressional race.
On Nov. 1, our city failed to convene a scheduled meeting. With Council Members Fliflet, Smith and Lundgren unavailable, the necessary quorum not provided, the city’s meeting was canceled. Now, is this a sleeper event, unworthy of mention? You’ll decide. But for many, having gone through two years of this behavior, it offers more evidence of our dysfunction and the majority’s indifference to responsible governing. A council meeting can be held with as few as three members. Shall we assume all three were indisposed? City business must be attended to regardless of an election. It is my hope, that for those undecided, for those unaware of what the city has gone through these last two years, that this serve as that reminder to convey just how crucial it is that this virulence be diluted. Fool us once, shame on you … fool us twice?
Mike Pearson, Lake Elmo The writer is mayor of Lake Elmo.
Invest in 622 students
Some say as senior citizens with no kids in school, we should vote no on District 622’s school levy. Wrong! The three of us are longtime residents of 622. Education costs have skyrocketed, yet voters here haven’t increased the school levy since 2002 when 622’s ninth-graders weren’t even born. Even if this vote passes, 622’s levy will still be below average, compared with Minnesota’s largest 20 districts. Our students deserve at least what those in our neighboring districts get. Kids are our future and a great investment. Properly funded schools ensure safe, vibrant communities with a capable work force. That boosts everyone’s property values. We may be old empty-nesters, but we’re wise enough to recognize a good deal. We invite all 622 voters to pay it forward and maintain our great schools and cities. Vote yes for 622 schools!
Denny Fendt, Oakdale; Ron Czerepak, North St. Paul; and Al Rieper, Maplewood
McGuire, an experienced leader
As the former Ramsey County Commissioner for District 2, I understand what the job requires, and Mary Jo McGuire is uniquely qualified. She understands the issues, knows our district’s needs and has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills as an elected official and a community leader.
Mary Jo has been a lawyer, college professor, state representative and state senator — a crucial asset for Ramsey County. Much of the county’s work is intertwined with the Legislature’s work, and Mary Jo’s professional relationships with legislators and leaders — and her first-hand knowledge of the workings of state government— are exceptionally useful.
We need commissioners who believe the purpose of the county government is to create policies that solve our problems and improve our lives. Ramsey County needs commissioners who see the county’s challenges from different perspectives. Mary Jo McGuire has spent years learning the ropes, listening to residents, studying the issues, and creating sensible, effective public policy. Mary Jo is the leader we need.
Jan Parker, St. Paul
West St. Paul
Sheila and I are proud to join many current and former West St. Paul council members and mayors in support of Jenny Halverson for mayor. Jenny has been endorsed by St. Paul Building Trades, St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, IBEW Local Union #110, state Rep. Rick Hansen and other community leaders who can see the potential in Halverson as a new voice and next mayor of West St. Paul.
West St. Paul is at a critical point with many challenges. Jenny is the right person to lead the city as it faces these challenges. Jenny is willing to compromise and she will listen to both sides of an issue. She does not approach an issue with the attitude that my way is the only and correct way. She is a lifelong resident, former attorney and active leader in our community. Jenny has and will bring people together to benefit West St. Paul. She has organized community events, volunteers in our schools and consistently advocates for our residents. They can thank Jenny for her tireless efforts in the remodel and revitalization of Harmon Park.
Jenny has the long-term vision to move our city forward. She supports addressing our city’s aging infrastructure, like Robert Street. Jenny knows attracting and retaining quality business development that will grow our tax base is critical. Jenny will also work tirelessly to keep our city safe.
Sheila and Dick Vitelli, West St. Paul Dick Vitelli is a West St. Paul City Council member.
West St. Paul incumbents
I am writing in support of Pat Armon and Dave Napier, the incumbents running for re-election in West St. Paul’s Ward 1 and Ward 3 respectively.
From my experience and their candidate questionnaires\\biographies, both Pat and Dave have proven, strong involvement in many civic, government and youth organizations. The challengers’ listed involvement and goals are limited to their own businesses and business development activities. Everyone wants business development and local businesses to succeed; Pat and Dave’s current work with the current city council is showing this with an influx of new business to Robert Street. There is more to city governance than the local business community.
Both Pat and Dave are working toward a greater vision for West St. Paul, not a return to a previous time or maintenance of the status quo. Their votes are not based on any potential conflict of interest or personal financial gain, nor are they members of their own business- related special interest group. Pat and Dave have proven their commitment to a wellrounded, financially responsible, future-focused and citizen-minded representation to the citizens of West St. Paul.
Dave Lynch, West St. Paul
Re-elect Rick Hansen
I write to encourage the citizens of District 52A to re-elect Rick Hansen to the Minnesota House. Rick has ably served our community since 2004, always putting the best interests of our cities and state in the forefront. Although I first met Rick through our mutual interest in supporting public schools, I have since come to respect him for his stance on a broad range of issues — lower taxes for the middle class, a stronger economy and jobs, a focus on all of Minnesota and care for senior citizens.
Rick is a much-needed actionoriented person, and he has authored an array of bills — supporting veterans’ license plates, improving trails and parks and removing financial barriers for hunters to donate venison to food shelves. As an avid outdoors-person, he takes the DFL lead on environment and natural resources policy and serves on committees focusing on bridges and roads (a priority to Rick) and agriculture finance. Whether you agree or disagree with him, you can be assured that Rick will listen with respect. He sincerely cares about the people he represents and works tirelessly to get things done. In Rick’s words, “Looking at where we can go, and what we can do, is where we will need to be.”
Reine Shiffman, Mendota Heights
Isaacson for Senate in District 42
I totally appreciate and agree with your endorsement of Democrat Rep. Jason “Ike” Isaacson for the District 42 Minnesota Senate Seat from which Sen. Bev Scalze is retiring.
I especially had to nod my head when you focused a section on Isaacson’s passion for education. Yes, it is a priority for him. I just retired from many years teaching in the MnSCU — now MSU — system. Like him, I found, “passion in the community college environment.” Our campuses are incredibly diverse, which requires instructors like Isaacson who are inclusive, open-minded listeners. In addition to recent high school grads, the student population includes PSEO — Post Secondary Education Option — high school students who are attending college and earning credits. Our amazing students are also of different abilities, races, genders and sexual orientations. We also have immigrants here who may have escaped harsh dictatorships. Our students include knowledgeable but laid-off workers who want new skills for new jobs, as well as incredible military veterans. With this diversity in classes, I often felt like I learned as much from my students as they learned from me.
As a current member of the Higher Education Policy and Finance committee, Rep. Isaacson is also concerned about the huge loan expenses that burden our public college students for years. He is also passionate about the opportunity for all children to be able to have a boost/positive start to their path to education through free pre-school in Minnesota public schools.
Rep. Isaacson knows how to reach across the aisle and works hard to get things done, whether educational opportunities, restoring our infrastructure or improving access to and lowering costs of healthcare, and more. He doesn’t just “Talk the Talk.” He “Walks the Walk” and gets things done.
Allison Seaborn, Little Canada