October 28, 2014 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  Vote smart
  by C. A. RAY, Editor

Next Tuesday is election day in Minnesota and around the nation. I urge everybody to exercise their constitutional right and vote. I won’t say vote because this is the most important election in a generation, or anything like that...because it isn’t. No matter which political party makes gains in St. Paul or Washington following November 4, little will change. Little will change because political parties have little to do with change anymore, the big money interests that control them do.

So I urge you not only to vote, but to vote smart!

We have been deluged with TV ads and mailers paid for by big money special interests that make some pretty outlandish claims. Vote smart and don’t let these misleading claims sway you.

Torrey Westrom did not cause the government shutdown in Minnesota last year. Blame for the shutdown must be equally shared between the Democratic governor and the Republican legislature that could not compromise.

Collin Peterson’s travel expenses are not out of line, nor in any way illegal. He represents the largest congressional district in Minnesota and one of the largest in the nation. He has also been a Representative at least twice as long as any other in the Minnesota delegation so, of course, his travel expenses add up.

Jay McNamar does not vote with the Metro and against rural interests. He is a Democrat and the majority of Minnesota Legislators are Democrats from the Metro. Therefore, when he votes with his party, like any legislator would do, he more often than not votes with metro legislators.

Jeff Backer has not supported restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. He has not been a legislator and has recorded no votes on the issue at this time.

Because of an unfortunate Supreme Court ruling called “Citizens United,” special interests are able to spend any amount of money they want to produce ads that say pretty much anything they want them to say. And they are experts at manipulating the truth.

Here is how it works: Party A introduces a bill that they know Party B will oppose such as, “The Elimination of Cute Kittens Act.” They attach a short provision to this bill such as the “Funding Guide Dogs for Blind Veterans” provision. When the bill fails they can say, “The candidate in Party B voted against funding guide dogs for blind veterans.”

Not exactly a lie, but far, far from the truth.

Only the ads in which the candidate says he ‘“approves” are actually from the candidate, and are a representation of what he, or she, actually stands for. These are the only ads that you should consider when deciding who to vote for.

But you have another way to choose. You, the voter, know these candidates. They live in our towns, our district, our region. We have met them, talked to them and, most importantly, we have seen what they have done, or not done, for us and our communities.

You, the voter, know how genuine the candidate’s support for local public schools is, you know if the candidate truly understands the problems of small towns and farmers, and our unique economic challenges.

You don’t need a grainy black and white image of a candidate in slow motion, with a ominous sound track warning of some dark conspiracy so and so is guilty of.

You are smarter than that; you won’t fall for that. You will reject the influence of outside money and special interests in electing our representatives.

You know these candidates, vote smart!
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October 28, 2014