Be cynical about GOP claims of public school support
I want to talk about public education because I support public education. This came when I was in a bad school district growing up that pushed me from school to school. My mom tried to get me into the private school my sisters attended, but the school refused as apparently I did not fit their "one-child-fits-all" philosophy. The savior was open-enrollment into a nearby school district, which I am thankful for every day.
However, who is responsible now for increased state funding? I believe it is Gov. Mark Dayton. The governor has always supported adequate or expansive funding for public education in his years as governor. But, Republicans have found public education expendable and have tried to cut public education funding. Some because it is a public and pro-union institution and so they want to divert funding into anti-union charter schools, private schools, or home-school initiatives. Others simply because they believe in less government at all costs or government should live within its means.
The last thing I want is to see what happened in Kansas where the Supreme Court had to force the state government to fund public education, or in Wisconsin where Republicans kept cutting public education funding until this year only to realize they do not have the money to expand public education funding. And ironically, there are Republicans who are even against public levy referendums, which is usually a school district's last resort if state or federal funding is not adequate.
Also, any Democrat would support adequate public education funding so it really does not matter if a Republican does too. Therefore, be very cynical when a Republican says they support public education.
William Cory Labovitch
South St. Paul
Labovitch is outreach director for the Senate District 57 DFL Party.
Money, regulations don't solve problems
In response to Rachel Garaghty's Sept. 6 letter on Jason Lewis, first of all let me say that I do not know your life circumstances, nor do I intend to make assumptions about the protesters you mention in your letter. I just want to state my point of view and what I feel represents a lot of the voters that cast their vote for Jason Lewis. I do not agree with all Lewis stands for, but I do agree with fiscal conservatism.
As someone who has paid taxes since I was a teenager and have yet to take a dime from government agencies, my opinion is that it is time to change the way government spends our money.
Since Lewis won the election and Republicans control the Minnesota House and Senate, it seems there are more Minnesotans who feel a change is needed toward conservatism in a number of areas. There are only so many dollars to go around and just throwing money at problems does not solve them.
One you mentioned, health care affordability, is a big problem. But subsidizing premiums and enrolling everyone in a government program is not the answer to controlling actual costs. Efforts need to be made to identify the root causes of high health care costs. Then identify potential efficiency gains, enact laws to remove regulatory burdens and change health care delivery systems, or enable market forces to bring down costs. I already pay over 40 percent of my income in taxes when all the different taxes are accounted for. Enough is enough.
I imagine that Lewis is not holding a town hall meeting because he feels that he wouldn't be able have a civilized discussion with some constituents. Especially after protesters assembled outside his home. Who would want to stand there in a meeting and just get screamed at? Lewis does need to represent us all, but he ran and won on conservative and populist principles. He will always lean more toward those principles in his legislation and voting record.
There is probably a lot of agreement on desired outcomes to problems. There's just a difference of opinion on how to get there. Unfortunately some people get hurt when trying different solutions to problems. As with health care and a bunch of other issues, money and regulations have been thrown at problems without positive effect. It's time to try a different approach.