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First meeting of Trump’s voting commission makes clear that suppression is the goal

The following article by Kira Lerner was posted on the ThinkProgress website July 19, 2017:

Yet Mike Pence claims the panel has “no preconceived notions.”

Vice President Mike Pence claimed during the first meeting on Wednesday of the White House’s Commission on Election Integrity that the group will go about its work with “no preconceived notions.” Just minutes later, commissioners took turns insisting there is mass fraud across the country that could influence elections.

Kansas Secretary of State and commission co-chair Kris Kobach claimed in his introduction that as many as 18,000 non-citizens could be registered to vote in Kansas, without mentioning the shady math and questionable studieshe used to arrive at that number. The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky insisted that massive fraud is occurring across the country. And even New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Garder, a Democratic commissioner, argued against making voting easier, saying it doesn’t require a massive amount of fraud to influence elections. Read More

Local Newspapers Uniquely Positioned to Promote Healthy Political Discourse

The following letter was submitted to the Lakeshore Weekly News June 27, 2017:

To the Editor:

The Lakeshore Weekly News is an important resource for local information that falls under the radar of state and national news feeds. Thank you to reporter Patty Dexter for the exception to this in the June 22 edition by providing Congressman Erik Paulsen’s reaction to the attempted murder of congressmen in Washington DC on June 14th . This terrible assault on our democracy is a local issue because it was an attack on all Americans. The article also demonstrated access community news organizations have to our elected representatives and the opportunity they have to report on them. This is especially important because Congressman Paulsen has chosen to ignore his constituents and refuse on‐the‐record open public discussions.

Lakeshore Weekly is uniquely positioned to promote healthy political discourse because of its access to Paulsen which is not afforded, or is affordable, to his constituents. Lakeshore Weekly has the opportunity to raise the bar in reporting on Paulsen by asking him rigorous questions on his positions affecting our district and demanding complete and truthful answers. For example, Paulsen voted for legislation (H.J. Res. 40) to make it easier for those suffering from severe mental illness to purchase firearms. This regressive legislation was rejected by over 70% of voters and his friend, Gabby Gifford. The reporter could have asked Paulsen why he voted to remove checks and balances on the purchase of firearms by those diagnosed as a risk to themselves and/or others. Read More

Senate Democrats shine light on health bill’s longer-term effect on Medicaid

The following article by Amy Goldstein was posted on the Washington Post website June 29, 2017:

In asking the Congressional Budget Office to take a longer view of Senate Republicans’ troubled health-care plan, the chamber’s Democrats maneuvered to train a spotlight on exactly what the GOP has sought to bury.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act relies on the time-honored political strategy of pressing a bill’s most profound effects years into the future — in this case, in severely constricting the main source of public health insurance for poor and vulnerable Americans.

Until Thursday, that scenario had been cloaked in arcane legislative language about per-capita caps and varying inflation adjustments. What Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeepers did, at the prodding of the Senate Finance Committee’s senior Democrat, is make clear that the GOP legislation would squeeze federal Medicaid spending by 35 percent by the end of two decades, compared with current law. Read More

Rep Erin Koegel Update: June 29, 2017

Rep. Erin Koegel (37A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

I hope summer is treating you and your family well. Here is an update from the State Capitol.

Home Improvement Assistance

If you are looking to address health, safety, or accessibility concerns in your home, help may be available from Anoka County. The county administers a pair of home improvement loan programs at 0% interest with deferred payments for residents under certain income amounts. The Minnesota Housing Home Rehabilitation Loan Program and Anoka County Community Development Block Grant Home Rehabilitation Loan Program are available for owner-occupied single-family detached homes, duplexes, condominium units, town homes or manufactured homes. For more information, visit AnokaCounty.us/cd or call 763-324-4650. Read More

Republicans the leading force behind nonsensical cuts

The following commentary by Rep. Linda Slocum was posted on the Sun-Current website May 20, 2017:

To the Editor:

In response to a recent letter by Metropolitan Council Member Steve Elkins (“Legislature’s transit cuts would be dangerous”), I write to provide a critically important clarification.

Mr. Elkins is right that the transportation budget that passed out of the House would cause draconian cuts to transit, amounting to a 40 percent reduction in basic bus service and thrusting thousands more cars onto our traffic-jammed streets. Read More

Losing federal transit funds would be a shame

The following commentary by Peter Dorsen was printed in the Eden Prairie News May 18, 2017:

I truly recognized why I was not a Republican when I was appointed to the WHite House Commission on Aging by former Sen. David Durenberger. They advocated discontinuing Meals on Wheels for us seniors. I quit.

Equally reprehensible in a different way is the GOP-endorsed transportation bill that contains cuts in funding to Metro Transit for the Southwest Light Rail Transit. All I know is now way I’m heading into Minneapolis except in a comfortable seat on a Southwest Transit bus with a friendly driver and WiFi. I confess, whoever, I love trains. Read More

Southwest LRT gets a positive sign from Washington

The following article by Janet Moore was posted on the Star Tribune website May 1, 2017:

$10M in federal budget deal seen as a sign the full $928M will be OK’d for Southwest rail.

The Southwest light-rail line was allocated $10 million in the temporary federal budget being considered by lawmakers in Washington — news that the Metropolitan Council says is a sign the project will win its full $928 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) later this year.

The fate of the $1.9 billion line, which would connect downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, had been unclear since President Donald Trump’s initial transportation budget proposal did not fund new mass transit projects in the fiscal year. Without the federal money, it was unlikely that Southwest could move forward. Read More

It’s time to move forward on Southwest line

The following commentary by Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison appeared in the April 27, 2017 issue of the Eden Prairie News and other publications in Hennepin County:

As them their plain.  You know, the folks who write the editorials and sign the letters.  As them, after they stop Southwest Light Rail Transit, how the propose to address Twin Cities transportation needs.

As them how they intend to alter our road system to accommodate the 700,000 new residents who are expected in the region by 2040.

Ask them about their commitment to economic competitiveness, and their proposal to attract young workers who strongly desire transit options or to accommodate older residents who no longer wish to drive. Read More

War of words over Southwest light-rail transit line grows

The following article by Janet Moore was posted on the Star Tribune website April 22, 2017:

In office just three months, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has already received an earful from Minnesota officials about the controversial $1.9 billion light-rail line.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has heard from both sides about the $1.9 billion Southwest light-rail line project.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has been in office just under three months, and she’s already received an earful from Minnesota legislators about the controversial $1.9 billion Southwest light-rail line. A new salvo in the transit saga was released this week.

On March 17, 84 Minnesota GOP legislators wrote Chao urging her to block $928 million in federal funding for the Southwest LRT project, which would connect downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. They argued that the line “would recklessly consume scarce transit resources.” Read More