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Election Season Begins In Lake County

“Democracy starts at the grass­roots level”. As evidence of this axiom, both the Lake County DFL and the Lake County Republicans held caucus events on February 27th. The DFL folks met at Two Harbors High School and the Re­publican folks met at the Two Har­bors Community Center. Attendees at each event were encouraged to elect party delegates, propose res­olutions for possible addition to the State party platforms and get in­volved in actively supporting their respective party’s candidates. As is evident from a couple of recent articles that I have written and had to correct, I am terrible with num­bers. That being said, I estimate that about 50 to 65 people attended each caucus event.

The DFL caucus was chaired by Todd Redmann, who welcomed caucus attendees by reading a let­ter from Senator Amy Klobuchar. She reminded attendees of sever­al important DFL policy positions and legislative accomplishments and reminded folks of the impor­tance of preserving democracy in the upcoming election. There were a number of policy positions that were put forth on Tuesday night at the DFL event. Among them were proposals to ban assault weapons with some exceptions for legacy weapons, a proposed system that would distribute tax dollars collect­ed from Helium mining to help bol­ster mental health services in the region and a proposal that would allow Minnesotans the option of green burials. The overall mood at the DFL caucus was light hearted and collegial.

The County DFL convention will be held on April 6th with the State DFL convention being held from May 31st to June 2nd in Duluth.

Representative Natalie Zeleznikar joined the Lake County Republi­cans and spoke about Republican policy goals and accomplishments. The event was chaired by Dan Schleeter and, as with DFL caucus goers, the Republican attendees chose delegates and drafted reso­lutions. Schleeter gave attendees a calendar of Republican events that will be held between now and November and encouraged caucus attendees to vote early, display can­didate yard signs and get involved in phone banking and door knock­ing.

The Lake County Republican con­vention will be held on March 9th and the State GOP convention will be held on May 17th and 18th in St. Paul.

On display at both caucus events were statements of what each party stands for and believes in. A partial sampling of each party’s position statements follows.

DFL position statements:

The preservation of the Constitu­tion and Constitutional Rights.

Opposition to discrimination based on race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and marital or homemaker status.

Supporting governmental ac­countability to the public and opposing government regula­tion including government in­terference in matters related to control of one’s own body.

The belief that national security includes the idea that American leadership helps create peace in the world when it strives for international cooperation, fair markets and mutual respect and protection.

Public safety and crime preven­tion based on strong law en­forcement policies combined with prevention programs that emphasize education, treat­ment and rehabilitation.

The belief in government bud­gets based on sound fiscal poli­cy and fair taxation.

GOP position statements:

Support for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Belief in a small government and low taxes.

Belief in the right to keep and bear arms.

Belief in a strong national securi­ty based on strong national de­fense and secure borders.

Life from conception to natural death.

Freedom of religion.

Strong families.

Private property rights.

For further information on party platforms, policies and goals, read­ers should visit both party websites

As we move into election season I would like to offer a friendly re­minder to us all.

  • Democracy is not a spectator sport. Your participation is re­quired.
  • We are our government. The quality of what we get is based on the quality of the candidates we elect to represent us.
  • The Preamble to the Constitu­tion is America’s thesis state­ment. Let’s read it and then ask ourselves how we do collectively do the things it calls us to do in our time? Every generation has a role to play in maintain­ing and advancing our constitu­tional democracy.
  • We are all Americans. We are smart enough to hold differing views from one another and still be civil and respectful of one another.
  • Democracy, though it is a messy form of government, is worth maintaining and protect­ing. The fact that we won’t get everything we want is part of the deal.
  • Democracy is also rare and most of the folks who live on planet earth don’t enjoy it and the quality of their lives is less­ened because of that fact.
  • “Government By For And Of The People” exists at the con­sent of the governed and serves the role of balancing the civic life of the people.
  • Our elected officials serve “we the people”. We do not serve them. If elected, their constitu­ents include people who didn’t vote for them and they need to listen to and consider those people too. Partisanship and adherence to the idea that one doesn’t cross party lines are non ­American, childish and makes for really dysfunctional gover­nance.
  • People with money should not be able to buy the influence of elected officials based on cam­paign contributions. An oligar­chy is not a democracy and is in fact, unAmerican. We fought a war over this back in the late 1700s.

Democracy depends on us and re­quires an educated citizenry. Let’s educate ourselves with regard to platforms, policies, goals and the quality and character of the candi­dates that are vying for our votes. Let’s make wise, informed choices come November.

Rick Evans
Rick Evans
My wife, Marsha Kinzer (a proud DEHS Greyhound, class of ‘77) introduced me to the North Shore on vacation in 2012. It became our regular escape when the stress of our careers in education became overwhelming, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the breathtaking scenery, the nice people, and “salad” containing Jell-o and marshmallows. So you can either blame or thank my loving wife for my being here, because when we needed to choose a retirement hometown, Marsha advocated hard for her beloved Duluth, and here we are, six months later. Yes, this will be my first northern Minnesota winter. Yes, I welcome thoughts and prayers. Government, public policy, and social justice weighed heavily in the curriculums I taught at the high school level over a thirty-eight year career. In addition, we were a laboratory school focused on critical thinking in conjunction with technical and scientific writing. So when I found myself adrift on the great ocean of retirement and spied a raft, I jumped at the chance to take up what I’d left behind…minus the bad teachers’ lounge coffee. My position at the NSJ allows me to combine my passions for government and writing, and it’s helping me to feel less out of touch in new surroundings. When I’m not being “Cubby” (Marsha’s favorite new nickname for this green reporter) I enjoy pointing at eagles and saying, “Look, honey. There’s an eagle.” I’ve had an active side hustle as a professional musician for almost as many years as Charlie Parr. As a guitarist/singer/songwriter, I graced the stages of clubs and festivals around southern Wisconsin, including an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. Should I even mention A Prairie Home Companion, or am I the only one here old enough to remember what that is? Look! An eagle!
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