Deep in Nicole Hovatter's article in the West Central Tribune, VIDEO: League of Women Voters speaker believes felons need second chance at jobs, voting, Bluestem was pleased to read:
Mayor Marv Calvin attended Monday’s presentation and agreed that felons should have the right to vote once they are out in the community.
“I think people should look at this issue and get involved by contacting representatives,” Calvin said. “I think it is an important issue. If you are not incarcerated, you should be able to vote.”
To watch the video, which can't be embedded please visit the West Central Tribune article.
Mayor Calvin's statement is an encouraging sign of the remarkable momentum that the movement to bring felons who have served their time back into productive roles as workers and citizens has gained.
And it's broadly bipartisan. Back at the end of January, KARE 11's John Croman reported in Released offender voting bill gains momentum:
The push to restore voting rights to former felons in Minnesota is picking up momentum at the State Capitol.
Currently 47,000 people who've been convicted of a felony aren't allowed to vote because they're still on probation. Some served time in prison and are now completing the community portion of their sentences. Others never went to prison but were sentenced to lengthy probation periods as an alternative.
A bi-partisan group of lawmakers has thrown its support behind a bill that would make convicted felons eligible to vote as soon as they're released from incarceration. So far 28 GOP lawmakers have joined DFL legislators to support the Restore the Vote legislation.
"If you're able to be released on your own recognizance out into the community you certainly should be eligible to vote," Rep. Jerry Hertaus, a Republican from Greenfield, told reporters Thursday. "And I'm very proud to be a co-author on this bill."
A fellow Republican, Rep. Joe McDonald of Delano, said that forgiveness and redemption are deeply rooted values in American culture and religion. . . .
The author of the voting rights restoration bill in the House is Rep. Tony Cornish, a Republican from Vernon Center. Rep. Cornish has a background in law enforcement and wears handcuff lapel pin to reinforce his reputation as a strong law and order legislator.
While the only state representatives of the 35 state representatives supporting HF342 who serve near Willmar are Representative Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) and Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe), Bluestem hopes that the new mayor and these staunch conservatives can persuade the new and old crop of state representatives in Willmar and the Upper Minnesota River Valley to join them in supporting this compassionate and common sense measure.
Photo: A screengrab from the WC Tribune video of the LWV/Justice4All meeting Monday at Bethel Lutheran Church at Willmar.
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