From the looks of the letters to the editor flowing into the local papers in House District 12A, Backer backers just can't help themselves when it comes to place-baiting.
Backer backers are the supporters of Minnesota state representative Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, who won the seat in the 2014 Republican wave, defeating Elbow Lake's Jay McNamar by a mere 660 votes.
Consider the latest missive, Wolverton excavator William Nichol's Watch what Jay does, not what he says. While Nichol hits the usual 'phobe notes about marriage equality and the dignity of transgender people ("forcing girls and boys to shower together"), he accuses McNamar of favoring metro areas in the distribution of Local Government Aid (LGA):
. . . Secondly, in 2013, Local Government Aid was increased by $80 million. However, half of the new money went to the metro areas. Jay voted for this unfair distribution of funding. . . .
How is it that Jay didn’t actually vote for what he claimed he stood for on the campaign trail? Simple answer – he really is metro at heart. How can he claim to care about rural values but not defend them in office? Weakness. Or he takes us for chumps! Or both. . . .
Let's turn to the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities to understand why LGA isn't simply a thing for "us" in Greater Minnesota but not for "the metro areas." In fact, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities put out a fact sheet about the "Top LGA Myths."
Here's the document:
Note that the working group that crafter the 2013 formula reform includes Greater Minnesota Republicans, not just some secret cabal of metro power brokers. We bold the names of rural Republicans on the list, while placing the names of Greater Minnesota Democrats in italics:
The 2013 LGA formula reform was developed by a working group including legislators and all city groups. The bill containing the LGA formula (HF 1608/ SF 1491) had broad bipartisan support. Authors included Reps. Lien; Davnie, Lenczewski, Simonson, Faust, Mahoney, Davids, Carlson, C. Johnson, Hamilton, Torkelson, Kiel, Nelson, McNamar, Hansen, Marquart, Fabian, Loeffler, Bly, and Bernardy.
We didn't include Simonson as a Greater Minnesota representative, since Duluth is a "first class city." Note that the majority of the working group, regardless of party, represent Greater Minnesota.
It's clear from the support for the LGA reform from the greater Minnesota cities themselves--and the statewide, bipartisan working group that crafted it--that the aim was to do best for all Minnesota. Even Backer praised the compromise while campaigning in October 2014, according to the Wahpeton and Breckenridge Daily News, though he said the increased spending was "not enough."
But for Backer backers, LGA is just another opportunity to placebait, pitting Minnesotans against Minnesotans. Enough.
Photo: Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley.
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