Letters To The Editor
LeTTE and Zak scan the local/neighborhood/regional newspapers, media blogs and community-based postings to highlight communications and ‘calls to action’ from ‘the people’ on topics and issues of interest and relevancy to the constituency and general populace of SD33 and CD3.
Published: The Pioneer News July 15, 2017
To the Editor:
Hard working reporters, editors and journalists seek the truth each day. The Press is indispensable to our democracy and serves to keep power in check.
The current president has chosen to denigrate this pillar of our democracy with his hateful rants. We Americans must not allow him to demoralize us and make us cynical.
Seek the facts. Support and thank the workers who provide them.
To the Editor:
I just read the letter to the editor from Christine Cleary of Shorewood and her comments about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen.
I, too, have found that Mr. Paulsen’s voting record and public comments are at odds with the facts.
Mr. Paulsen now has consistently either not taken a position on long-term environmental issues or simply has followed the party line and voted against these issues.
For worse is his support of the Republican plan on our health insurance. Clearly his votes are in support of a poor health law that will dramatically reduce services to the poor and middle class.
I, too, can no longer support a representative who chooses not to lead and help all of his constituents.
Republican health plan is a disaster for Minnesota’s small businesses
By Todd Mikkelson | 06/23/17 REUTERS/Eric Thayer
Instead of improving access and lowering costs, the GOP plan puts health care out of reach for many working families across Minnesota.
I love owning a small business, but it’s not without its challenges. Finding affordable health care is one of those challenges.
My wife and I had a new baby at the same time we were starting our own business, so health care coverage was essential. If we hadn’t had access to affordable coverage through Minnesota Care, one of us would have had to maintain other full-time employment with health-care benefits and our business would have never gotten off the ground.
Now President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are pushing through a plan that would take health care away from 23 million people – including many of the 4 million newly insured small business owners, employees, and self-employed entrepreneurs like my wife and me. Instead of improving access and lowering costs, the GOP plan puts health care out of reach for many working families across Minnesota, and the House version jeopardizes protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The plan (details of the Senate version have just been released) also slashes Medicaid by $834 billion, threatening the health care of 74 million Americans who rely on Medicaid every day and creating huge deficits in state budgets.
Bad for the economy
Through these drastic cuts to Medicaid and to the tax credits that make buying coverage affordable, the repeal plan would cause premiums to skyrocket and possibly trigger the collapse of the private market. The plan would give $664 billion in tax cuts to the very wealthy and big corporations while forcing Minnesota small business owners back to a time when many of us couldn’t afford coverage at all.
What’s bad for consumers and local businesses is bad for the economy. Any economist will tell you that when people have more money in their pockets, they can spend more at local businesses.
When small businesses struggle to keep their doors open, there are fewer jobs for Minnesotans. And when a single illness or medical emergency can bankrupt a family, that family won’t be shopping at our small businesses or contributing to a robust economy.
The Republican repeal plan is only part of the problem. At the same time, Trump and the Republicans in Congress are actively sabotaging the ACA marketplaces, where about 200,000 Minnesotans are getting their coverage. One of the GOP’s tactics is threatening to hold back payments that lower out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Without these payments, fewer people will be able to afford coverage. With fewer customers, insurance companies might abandon many of the markets, especially in rural areas, or hike premiums.
Plan even includes an ‘age tax’
Does the ACA need some improvements? Of course. But we shouldn’t scrap what’s working for a new plan that increases costs, allows insurance companies to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions, and gives tax breaks to the wealthy and insurance and drug companies. The Republican House plan even includes an “age tax” that lets insurers charge older consumers five times more than younger ones!
Our leaders should be building on what works – not sabotaging progress for Minnesotans to score political points. House Republicans like Erik Paulsen have the opportunity to take a stand for Minnesotans and small businesses by rejecting the health care plan that President Trump and congressional Republicans have proposed.
A thriving health care market means I have a real choice. I can afford quality insurance to keep my family healthy and my business thriving. And like millions of newly insured Americans, I’m not interested in going backward.
Todd Mikkelson is the owner of “SprayRack.com” in Orono. He visited his congressman, Rep. Eric Paulsen’s office in December to urge him to not vote for repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
To the Editor:
My family enjoys Minnesota’s natural beauty yearlong, from swimming in Lake Minnetonka to biking on the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail to Nordic skiing in Three Rivers Parks.
So I was alarmed when President Trump pulled out of the 195-country Paris climate agreement. This move is the single biggest threat to American global leadership in job growth, innovation and negotiations on trade deals. Trump did this unilaterally, despite pleas from Republican and Democratic Congressional members, 30 high-profile CEOs, hundreds of companies, environmental and conservation groups, and world leaders, including Pope Francis.
I called my congressman, Erik Paulsen, to do something, to say something publicly. His staff said they didn’t know Paulsen’s position. He could have joined 13 House Republicans who sent a letter to President Trump to stay in the agreement but revise the pledge on emissions.
To date, Paulsen has been silent. No word on his website, no press release or op-ed, nothing on his Correspondence Corner video, no Facebook post, not even a tweet.
Then I got a letter from Paulsen thanking me for my concern about climate change and protecting our environment. I wish I could reciprocate that appreciation. While he says he believes we should “protect our natural resources and the environment for future generations,” his Congressional votes show the exact opposite.
If I paid closer attention to Paulsen’s votes, I shouldn’t have been surprised. His votes on environmental issues are disappointing. According to the League of Conservation Voters, Paulsen has a national environmental lifetime score over eight years of a measly 16 percent. This year alone, he has voted 11 out of 11 times against protecting our air, lands, forests, water and wildlife.
I’ve voted for Paulsen in the past. But he no longer has my support nor my vote. I realize he is not a moderate and does not represent me. He certainly does not support protecting our natural resources and environment. I want my family and yours for generations to enjoy the great outdoors in Minnesota and our great country. Sadly, with Paulsen in office, that dream is in jeopardy.
To the Editor,
Our early American leaders who formed and framed the Constitution all read Montesquieu, a brilliant philosopher during the enlightenment period. He differentiated despotism from monarchy and monarchy from democracy.
He found one governing principle for each. Despotism was fear, monarchy was honor and democracy was virtue. Freedom was practically synonymous with virtue.
Today, we don’t provide leaders like those of the past because, as Plato said, “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.” Today, we have wonderful athletes (mostly under-educated), but inferior politicians, because we have so cruelly separated freedom from virtue, because we have defined freedom in a morally inferior way. We have long had what Herman Melville, the author of “Moby Dick” called, the dark ages of democracy.
Eric Paulsen is the craven embodiment of our current dark age of democracy. He has consistently done nothing that advantages the disadvantaged, and his latest vote on eliminating the Affordable Care Act is just another part of his sad legacy in the fight against what the people want.
Our elected representatives must be people that practice our constitutional heritage of substance over form, virtue over prestige, achievement over money, character over charisma, the enduring over the ephemeral, and God over mammon.
Representatives of conscience must practice reciprocal altruism; whatever is good for another is good for me. It is essentially classic utilitarianism that states whatever is good for all, the greatest happiness or good for the greatest number, versus limited utilitarianism that says whatever is good for my group.
We need to elect representatives that will be part of the transformative power, the soft power of moral suasion, rather than the hard power of coercive authority.
Eric Paulsen has not and does not deserve our future consideration, as he does not work for “we the people,” but for the coercive powers that control him. After all, peace and representatives that act virtue is our civil right.
Duff is a director for DFL District 33A & 33B
I wonder if Rep. Paulsen adds all of the ‘letters to the editor’ that mention him or are about him, pro or con, into his scrapbook? Or, are only (R) vetted and approved news clippings and press releases glued to the pages of the 5 term representative’s scrapbook marking his sundry “accomplishments” and “victories” [for the party]? Hmmm.
On Tuesday, May 16, I had the opportunity to meet with my congressman, Erik Paulsen.
Five Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense members met with him to discuss legislation to reduce gun violence, specifically, universal background checks. We each shared stories of the impact of gun violence on our suburban lives.
A 14-year-old who had a bad week and killed himself with an unsecured gun, trauma for the families of the Accent Signage shooting, teachers leading preschoolers in lockdown drills and concerns for increased gun violence in the suburbs.
After sharing our emotional stories and concerns, we asked Paulsen about specific legislation he would support to reduce gun violence. He had nothing to share.
We told him we expected him to represent Minnesotans who overwhelming support universal background checks for ALL gun sales.
He said he didn’t know that 40 percent of all guns are bought without background checks – online, at flea markets and at gun shows.
Ultimately, he made no commitment to support background checks or any gun safety legislation. Although disappointed, we now know where he stands on reducing gun violence.
I encourage others to meet with him and ask about specific issues, then share the results of their meetings. If he won’t hold town hall meetings with his constituents, let’s bring town halls to him.
Go to his website and fill out the form to request a meeting.
Note your flexibility and be persistent. Issues like gun violence need to be addressed.
We deserve a representative who truly values our opinions and votes accordingly.
Our representative, Erik Paulsen, is getting a lot of press for his so called “Town hall Meetings”, but he has chosen to meet with only an extremely small number of selected people and sometimes only by phone. I think a real town hall meeting should be open to all his constituents, not just a few who share his views.
During the last recess, he refused to attend a town hall meeting at a Plymouth church. Over 1,200 people showed up to a 600-person capacity church and held a meeting without him. Representative Paulsen has not acknowledged letters and phone calls I have made to him, so I would like to convey a few thoughts here.
I believe it is morally bankrupt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Millions of truly needy people rely on the help it provides. Statistically, over time, thousands of people will die, unnecessary and prematurely, without this help. Sure there are many flaws in the ACA, but if politicians truly care they could work together to make it better, instead of destroying it. Are we, who are well off, so immoral that we value a few extra bucks in slightly lower taxes over the lives of fellow human beings? I hope the answer is no.
MN GOP Shattering Support of Citizen Legislators
Public office is not supposed to be exclusively for the wealthy, and Minnesota has a proud tradition of supporting citizen legislators. But a bill proposed by the Republicans in the MN House and Senate eliminates the public subsidy for candidates, which has been in place for over 25 years. This subsidy gives ordinary citizens an opportunity to seek MN state offices and helps limit out-of-control spending on state level elections. Repeal of this subsidy will provide tremendous advantage to incumbents, and will enable runaway campaign spending in our MN House and Senate races.
Not having this subsidy also means candidates need to spend more time fundraising and less time understanding what’s important to constituents. This is a very bad change that’s obviously intended to benefit incumbents and increase big money influence.
To qualify for the subsidy, candidates agree to spending limits and are required to collect a set amount of contributions ($1500 total for a House candidate). In return, they receive an amount that varies each cycle depending on the funding pool — usually around $5000 for a House race. For anyone running for the House for the first time this is a substantial amount, and allows every citizen to have the ability to run if they desire to do so.
Please contact your MN House Representative and Senator to let them know you oppose eliminating the Public Campaign Subsidy and support citizen legislators!
Cathy Olson Chair, Senate District 33 DFL
* SUN Sailor, The Laker, Chanhassen Villager, The Pioneer, The Lakeshore Weekly
Published: Lakeshore Weekly News April 13, 2017
Who Hasn’t Been Blocked By Osmek?
The Minnesota Senate recently took up an Internet Privacy bill resulting in an almost unanimous vote to protect the citizens of Minnesota from having their personal information such as their browsing history sold by their Internet service providers. The one vote against this protection was cast by our very own Senate District 33 Senator, David Osmek. You probably remember his name from his disgusting comments and rude behavior recently reported in this paper.
Yes, the same David Osmek (@DavidJOsmek) who blocks his own constituents on Twitter. I was blocked by him last summer before I had even met him. When we finally did meet, I asked him why he blocked me when he doesn’t even know me. He said that it was ‘my twitter account and can block anyone I want’ and added ‘I know who you are.’ I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or frightened. He said it was his personal account but his profile states ‘Minnesota State Senator for District 33’ and with his recent postings about bills, it seems official to me.
I recently found out I am not the only one he has blocked. #blockedbyosmek is common. Other SD33 constituents are being blocked for asking a question, disagreeing with his opinion, or as Senator Ron Latz found out recently, just for being a colleague from the other side of the aisle. Privacy apparently only applies to David Osmek and his Twitter account, not to constituents of Minnesota Senate District 33.
Stephanie Holte DFL Events Director, SD 33