Bluestem Prairie isn't the only voice in Greater Minnesota scrutinizing the tactic that we call "placebaiting," in which different regions of the state are played off against each other.
Most frequently, urban lawmakers are cast as villains, rural voters are the target, and Republicans are the perpetrators in this divisive rhetoric. Regional differences and needs do exist, but one region's gain doesn't automatically mean that another area must lose.
In Elect candidates who'll compromise, Sara Carlson, the Mayor of Alexandria, and Dave Smiglewski, the Mayor of sunny Granite Falls, describe and condemn the frame:
Let's not mince words: Minnesota's 2016 legislative session was, by and large, a massive failure. Political posturing led to the demise of the transportation bill and bonding bill, while a typo that would have cost the state $100 million compelled Gov. Mark Dayton to veto an otherwise good tax bill. . . .
There is plenty of blame to go around — and many sore fingers from all that pointing —but with just weeks until the election, it's time to stop complaining and start looking for solutions.
As voters, we need to ask the candidates and ourselves how things will be different in 2017. Whether we send back the same cast of characters or elect new ones, we need leaders who refuse to accept the inaction of the last biennium as the status quo. "Compromise" must be more than just a buzzword. It must be a course of action if we are going to see real results for Greater Minnesota.
Last session, it was disappointing to see that some rural legislators appeared to operate under the impression that in order to help Greater Minnesota, they needed to take something away from the metro area.
This strategy of attempting to hurt the metro — by cutting state aid to Minneapolis and St. Paul and preventing construction of light rail transit, even if it was paid for by metro-area dollars — proved to be counterproductive. Trying to poke holes in the metro's bucket did nothing to actually improve Greater Minnesota. Instead, it only fueled more of the divisiveness that prevents progress and harms our entire state.
This cannot continue. We need legislators who will focus on accomplishing good things for the communities they represent rather than devote their time and energy to trying to stop the other party or region from getting things they need. . . .
Read the whole column at the Grand Forks Herald. We think that it will likely be published in newspapers across the state.
Carlson and Smiglewski serve as president and vice president, respectively, of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.
Photo: Pop some corn at home, because the Granite Falls' Kiwanis Club's terrific popcorn stand is closed for the season.
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