In The rest of the story, a new letter to editor of the Aitkin Age, Cyndy Martin of Grand Rapids, contrasts the reactions of both candidates to reductions in their salaries:
Paul Harvey˙s famous line was “and now you know the rest of the story.”
In following the race between Joe Radinovich and Dale Lueck, the issue of salary has become a focus. GOP activists in the area have called into question Joe’s residency and previous work, and independent expenditure groups have publicized that Dale Lueck voted to increase his salary as a county commissioner by $10,000 and then twice beyond that.
Some more information is helpful in understanding the full story behind these allegations. After a local letter writer repeatedly questioned Joe’s employment status as a legislator, Joe released his tax forms online [BlueStem Prairie]. They show that Joe voluntarily cut his salary in half to serve in the House. He’ll give up over $70,000 over the course of his term. Joe also voted against a bill that would have potentially raised legislators’ pay.
Dale Lueck, in a letter to the Age a few weeks ago ["DFL smear tactics"], defended his vote to increase his commissioner pay by $10,000 by saying that after the existing county board was swept out in the 2002 elections, they voted to decrease the pay of the incoming members by $10,000. He and the new board members simply put the pay back to where it had been. That seems like a reasonable explanation.
However, what Dale didn’t mention in his letter is that one of his primary campaign issues in the 2002 election was that he believed the county commissioners made too much money. In the August 31, 2002. NewsHopper voter guide [Bluestem note: see image below], Dale wrote, “IT˙S A RIP-OFF! Aitkin County Commissioners are overpaid...,” and then, at the board meeting where the outgoing commissioners voted to cut the pay, Dale said, “I don’t give a rip if you cut it or not, I can sleep either way. You can cut it to $15,000. I signed on to do the job and I’m going to do it.” [Aitkin Age, Jan. 8, 2003][Bluestem note, image above].
Of course, as we now know, Dale did “give a rip,” because he voted to raise the pay to the level that he said was too high, and then he voted two more times to raise it again.
I may not agree with Joe Radinovich on every issue, but I think he has integrity, I think he works hard for this area, and I think he should be re-elected in November.
There's not much more we can add to that other than the image of the Aitkin Age and the NewsHopper voter guide. Yes, Dale Lueck really wrote and said that.
Images: The Aitkin Age story (above) and the NewsHopper voter guide (below), sent to us from a reader in the district.
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