Yet another member of the Minnesota House Environmental and Natural Resource Policy and Finance Committee is getting pushback in his district about his anti-environmental views at town hall meetings.
In the Park Rapids Enterprise, Shannon Geisen reported in Constituents flock to town hall meeting that those constituents grilled Steve Green, R-Fosston, over his support of anti-environment measures:
More than 70 constituents jammed into the Northwoods Bank community room Saturday to voice their concerns to their Minnesota legislators.
They traveled from Becker, Mahnomen, Clearwater, Beltrami and Hubbard counties. . . .
"A lot of you people out there think I'm anti-clean water. Believe me, I'm not," Green said, adding that his research finds water quality is greatly improving.
"To get to where there's no trend in pollution, you have to be improving," he stated, citing a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency report from 2014.
"Water cleans itself. We don't go in and put anything in to clean it. What we do is stop polluting it and it actually cleans itself," Green said. . . .
A retired biology teacher stood up to counter Green's assertion that there is less water pollution. Phosphorus levels are, in fact, getting worse in Minnesota's lakes and rivers, he said. . . .
Green is pushing for a state Constitutional amendment that replaces the Clean Water, Land and Legacy amendment with funding dedicated to roads and bridges.
Minnesota voters approved the Legacy amendment in 2008.
"Especially read Section 4 prohibiting any state employee from expressing opposition to the proposed amendment, which clearly violates the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech," Hitchcock said. "Those who voted for the original Legacy amendment recognized the need to protect and enhance and restore the very things that not only make Minnesota attractive to residents but also serve as an economic engine for the millions of visitors to the state."
Arts events, like the Heartland Concert Association series, are supported by Legacy funding, Hitchcock pointed out.
"Why would you gut the whole spirit of the state to fix roads and bridges rather than enact the necessary taxes for that work?"
The lengthy list of public officials who would fall under the gag order include the director of Explore Minnesota Tourism and the Governor, Hitchcock said.
Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Lynn Goodrich said that he, too, would be among those prohibited from speaking against Green's amendment.
One-third of Legacy amendment funding is supposed to go toward clean water projects, Green replied, but approximately 10 percent does.
Legacy money is also used to purchase private land and convert it to public land enhancements, he continued, removes the land from tax rolls.
"Is this really how you want the money spent?" Green asked.
The audience responded with "Absolutely!" and "Yes!" . . .
Read the rest at the Park Rapids Enterprise. It's not just Green's war on the environment that voters at the town hall challenged. Among other things, there's this gem:
The Republican lawmaker suggested that most voter fraud occurs in Hennepin County. Green claimed there were 24,000 new voter registrations that had no one living at those addresses in the 2008 election of Senator Al Franken.
The audience audibly sniggered their disapproval. A few called him a "liar."
One attendee followed up with a letter to the editors of the Enterprise and the Detroit Lakes paper. Here's the letter published online at the Park Rapids paper under the headline, Representative Green has the facts wrong in which John LaFond writes:
Rep. Green, please stop casting unfounded aspersions on our voting system. On Feb. 18 at the League of Women Voters meeting in Park Rapids, Rep. Steve Green more than once made the statement that there were 24,000 same day voter registrations in the 2008 Coleman-Franken Minnesota Senate race that had no one living at that address. He further stated that these votes were fraudulently cast. When asked where he got this information from, he said that it came from the Secretary of State's office. He used this example as proof that our voting system is not secure.
Rep. Green's statement is just not true! We have called the Secretary of State and gotten the same answer — there is no record of 24,000 (or any number for that matter) of same day registrations that were fraudulent. I have also independently researched this subject and have been unable to find any evidence of these fraudulent votes. I emailed Rep. Green over a week ago letting him know what I have found and still await a response.
It's time for the truth! Our voting system is safe, secure and to be trusted.
Green's opinion about voter integrity seems to be an outlier in Minnesota politics these days. When President Donald Trump suggested voter fraud in the 2016, the Brainerd Dispatch reported in Minnesota leaders doubtful of Trump voter fraud claims:
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican from Nisswa, said he could only speak for Minnesota, but voter fraud didn't seem to be a problem in the state. Recounts that have taken place in the state changed vote tallies only slightly, he pointed out Friday.
"I'm not worried about that in Minnesota," he said. "I don't know what's happening around the country—I don't know if he's seeing information I'm not seeing—but at least in Minnesota, I think it runs very well."
Gazelka remembers the fate of the last great voter integrity scare (and the party that supported it) in 2012, as well as his own razor-thin margin for the majority in the Minnesota senate.
We're not sure what Green's thinking, if at all.
Photo: Steve Green.
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