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Letters to the Editor

Editor's note: This in the final issue of the Sun Tribune in which Letters to the Editor related to election races will be published before the Nov. 2 election. Any need for rebuttal letters will be left to the discretion of the Sun Tribune editorial staff.

Westrom's right

on life issues

The federal health care package now being unveiled, bit by bit, holds many unknowns. However, we do know that at least som abortions will be covered by our tax monies and end of life decisions could end up in the hands of a committee. The possibilities and the pace of this laws implementation is frightening.

How will this bill affect present and future state legislation regarding the life issues? It seems clear, legislatively speaking, all life truly hangs in the balance, not just for the unborn, but for those facing end of life decisions, as well. If ever there was a need for an experienced state legislator, the time is now.

Torrey Westrom has a principled and proven pro-life record. We can rely on him to defend all life issues from conception to natural death.

In light of the uncertain ramifications of present laws governing life issues that may affect Minnesota law, we must elect someone who will defend life in all its stages. Westrom is the candidate with the courage, experience and an established pro-life voting record. We can be assured he will represent us in defense of life. Vote for Westrom on Nov. 2.

Jeanne Backman


Torrey's the best

voters have had

In response to Terry Christenson of Ashby, Torrey Westrom is the best Representative we have had for a long time.

It's all about too much spending, schools for one, county governments, everybody wants a government job. Everybody wants to eat out, everybody wants a new car or van, etc. Then they don't have money for food.

School superintendents are getting three times the wages they need. No school sports should be allowed out of the county. The school boards are sleeping and the coaches are on the rampage, less sports, better education. Open enrollment should be cut out completely to save a lot on transportation and keep the students in the local schools. I hope parents think about this.

The government deficit is more than we can think, and some of you want to spend more to satisfy people that don't know how to save. People have to save to have respect for freedom. We need more people like Bill lngebrigsten who work hard and he declined the last increase in wages, a good attitude. It's all about cutting back to your needs and not your wants.

Let's not forget our three commissioners including Jim Thoreen, who put an extra load on us with a new jail-ready courthouse that we didn't need.

Paul Sperr


Thoreen not for motorcyclists

Recently, the Minnesota branch of Americans Bikers for Awareness, Training, and Education of Minnesota (ABATE), asked incumbents and those seeking Senate seats in Minnesota several questions affecting motorcyclists.

One questions was: "ABATE of MN believes motorcyclists should not be excluded from health insurance coverage or benefits. Would you support legislation to prohibit discrimination against motorcyclists by public or private health care providers?"

Nearly every Republican and Democrat, incumbent and challenger polled, said they would support such legislation. The exception was challenger Jim Thoreen who told ABATE he would oppose such legislation, thus discriminating against us motorcyclists.

Ted Storck


Westrom no

friend of education

The DFL has always been a tried and true advocate for improved education in our state. It's part of our platform. It would be disingenuous for us to say that Republicans are "anti-education", but it would not be disingenuous for us to say that Torrey Westrom's service to our state has hardly benefited K-12 education.

George Cassell gets it wrong. In 2003, Westrom was a member of a group of legislators who voted to reduce funding for K-12 schools for the first time ever. That was the first time in our state's history that our K-12 schools didn't receive their expected funding.

I'm voting for Bennett Smith because of the hypocrisy of Westrom when it comes to education. Republicans and Democrats both know that our state was founded on the hard-work bedrock of well-educated citizens.

Bennett Smith has the courage to put our Minnesota values before his political career. He's a recent product of education in our state, and he's seen first hand how education is hurting. I'm excited to cast my vote for him, so he can get to work improving schools and standing by our children to further their success. Bennett, make it right!

Susanne Engstrom


Westrom doesn't support clean energy

The race for state Representative in District 11A is heating up and Torrey Westrom says he is all about renewable energy because he went on the "renewable energy road trip" this summer. It is one thing to go on a tour, it is another to actually support renewable energy efforts. Westrom voted to cut funding for Clean Energy Resource Teams. He voted to repeal Renewable Energy Standards. You can't claim to support clean, alternative energy while, in reality, supporting coal-fired electricity at the same time - yet Westrom has. Yes, it is all about jobs - but the jobs should be in the clean energy sector first and foremost. Bennett Smith understands that. He has the integrity and backbone to move rural Minnesota forward by supporting the creation of jobs that will point us toward clean energy solutions for the future. It is common sense and it is time for a change. We need someone like Bennett Smith to support our communities and our area. That's why I am voting for Bennett Smith to be my representative in the Minnesota Legislature.

Nancy E. Carpenter


Not one of

the 25 percent

Collin Peterson has become one of the "Washington Elite." As such, we, the people of the 7th Congressional District, have become an embarrassment to him. This is apparent by the comments he makes to the Washington press versus what he says when he is here.

In the first quote, he tells them a good portion of us are nuts. On July 27, 2009, Politico reported: "Twenty-five percent of my people believe the Pentagon and Rumsfeld were responsible for taking the twin towers down," said Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat who represents a conservative Republican district in Minnesota. "That's why I don't do town meetings."

In the second quote, he apparently thinks we should all be fat, dumb and happy and vote for him: On Oct. 5, 2010, reported: More importantly, Peterson doesn't expect that his constituents -- other than those who have voted against him in the past -- feel the same anger stirring up races in much of the country. Unemployment is low in his heavily agricultural district, he said. "If they didn't hear all this negative stuff from the national press, if they would've been isolated from everything the last three to four years, they wouldn't have even known anything was going on," he said. "Nothing's changed."

He calls himself a conservative "Blue Dog" Democrat. He voted for cap and trade. In my opinion a very bad bill. He can say he voted against the healthcare bill, but he says he will not vote to repeal it. He voted with Nancy Polosi more than 92 percent of the time.

I am not nuts nor am I stupid. I will be voting for Lee Byberg on Election Day and I hope the other 75 percent of you will also.

Delvin Curfman


Westrom supports elections

Rep. Torrey Westrom should be commended for his hard work in protecting our right to vote at a time many jurisdictions are turning elected offices into appointed occupations.

It saddens me that citizens are losing their voice in deciding who serves as a local auditor or treasurer, etc. These decisions should lie with the people, consistent with our overall system of government. This issue has flown under the radar for too long. Now citizens in a couple dozen Minnesota counties have lost their right to vote for certain offices because of decisions made by a board or the Legislature.

When officials are elected, the citizens hold their actions accountable. When officials are appointed, they may be more reluctant to challenge the system for fear of retribution. Not so long ago, an elected auditor in Morris challenged some expenses that were listed by some county commissioners for a building project. I'm not sure an appointed official would have felt comfortable bucking their superiors in voicing their concerns, putting self-preservation over duty.

Torrey Westrom strongly believes in local elections and should be supported on Nov. 2, so he can keep raising awareness to this issue and preserving our right to vote!

Tessa Dutcher


Support Morris Area schools

The Morris Area School Board has provided an opportunity to vote on Nov. 2 for a brighter future for our children, community, state and nation. We urge you to vote "Yes" and here is why.

Our daughter Sarah graduated from Morris last spring, and is now a first year student at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Like many parents, we have been concerned about the transition to college, and how she would fare academically.

Sarah reports that so far she has had no problem with the classes she is taking. In fact, her high school work at Morris Area has prepared her particularly well in mathematics and music -- she was surprised to see the low level of math that one of her friends took during the senior year at a Twin Cities high school.

Moving from the personal to a broader perspective, this is a time when budgets are tightening, taxes are unpopular and government is suspect. You may be tempted to vote "No." Instead, consider Morris Area Schools as one place where you have a chance to see first hand your tax dollars at work, every time you attend a school concert, or read the honor roll list in the newspaper, or listen to a sports event on the radio -- not to mention the enthusiastic youth who rake dozens of yards in our communities every autumn through the school's service-leaming program.

On an even broader level, we know that our nation is falling behind other countries in several areas,, including education. Many countries have longer school years, more motivated students, and higher test scores than ours. If we expect our children and grandchildren to compete in a global economy in the 21st century, let's do what we can to provide the best possible opportunities for them.

The school board has already updated its faculty and staff seniority lists in case drastic cuts need to be made. Let's minimize the chance of this dismal scenario. Instead, let us maximize the quality of teaching and leaming, the superiority of academic achievement, the variety of co-cumcular activities and the safety of students by voting "Yes" on Nov. 2.

Allan M. Saugstad

Cheryl L . Matthews


Thoreen supports too much taxation

Stevens County residents, are you aware of the position or the lack of position Jim Thoreen has guided us through these last couple of years? Thoreen and three county commissioners had ultimately planned to build a $13 million to $15 million court house and law enforcement center that our county did not need and could not afford. Thoreen, our Stevens County Coordinator, was the grease that ran the gears to push through the project.

That didn't seem to make any difference to these four because they had decided that they were smarter and knew more than the voters and residents of Stevens County. It was said: You do not see the big picture.

What is the big picture anyway? An impressive building that is oversized, over-equipped and maybe under staffed in the future because we can't afford salaries because of the upkeep and maintenance costs of this new building?

Thoreen was debating Bill lngebrigtsen on Pioneer Public TV a few weeks back. He was questioned about spending big money on a courthouse and jail in western Minnesota. He responded by saying he was against the three commissioners who wanted to do this project. That sure seems funny because every time you heard Thoreen talk at the county commissioners meetings and on the radio about adding a jail to the courthouse, he repeatedly said that the law says we had to have a jail. Never once did he say he did not agree with the project. He was making decisions before he knew all the facts and he failed to do the research. The Department of Corrections was invited to one of the Stevens County Taxpayers meetings and we were informed that the state did not demand that counties build a jail. However if we did build a jail we would have to meet many criteria's and hire extra people to maintain the jail whether it had one occupant or was full. Do you realize how much money was saved by not adding a jail on to our courthouse? It would boggle your mind!

When Thoreen announced that he was running for the Minnesota Senate, he said he was going to be fiscally responsible to the tax payers of Minnesota. Isn't that funny that he will be responsible for everyone in Minnesota but Stevens County? The American Legion held a candidates meeting last week. Thoreen said, "We must tax everyone to help the budget deficit, but put a sunset clause on the tax". When was the last time you've seen an end to a tax? Never!

In my opinion, anybody who would vote for Jim Thoreen for State Senate must not pay taxes or has excess money they don't need.

Dean Monson


Keep Westrom working for us

As someone who has spent most of my life in public education in District 11A, I am writing to urge voters to keep Torrey Westrom working for us at the State Capitol. I have had the pleasure of working with him. I always appreciated his accessibility and his willingness to meet with teachers or administrators when needed.

Westrom understands the importance of investing in rural schools and in the future of young Minnesotans. He has a track record of supporting the education funding legislation each biennium. Torrey also spoke up in 2009-2010 against DFL proposed education cuts for rural schools, and was part of the reason K-12 funding did not get cut as the state set forth priorities in balancing their budget.

Westrom believes a "student is a student" and should be funded equally! This is why he continuously supports reform efforts to redistribute unique pots of money targeted only for Twin City schools and give those dollars to every student statewide. Unfortunately, this effort was blocked again by the DFL legislators in the past two years. However, Torrey will keep fighting for what is right.

Russell Larson


Ingebrigtsen stands by principles

After nearly 40 years of control, the Senate Democrats are complaining of "gridlock" caused by Republicans. In reality, Democrats have run the show for the last four decades and, year after year, have raised our taxes and driven our state to financial despair.

The state's budget has grown at an average rate of 10 percent a year since 1960. I do not know about you but I don't get a 10 percent raise every year at my job. It is no wonder the Republicans fight every year to rein in spending and prevent the tidal wave of new taxes that are proposed every year by the Democrats.

What they call gridlock, I call democracy in action. The Republican minority are doing what they have been elected to do: Stand up for our beliefs and do what is right for our constituents.

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen has proudly stood by his principles and kept the promises he has made to the residents of Senate District 11. I will continue to support Ingebrigtsen for Minnesota Senate and I ask you to join me on Nov. 2.

Steve Fults


Smith will represent his constituents

The residents of Stevens County can feel very fortunate that we have assisted in raising a young man who wants to work for as a state Representative. Bennett Smith is that young man.

I knew Bennett throughout most of his school years. I have seen him involved in school, 4-H, church, and community activities. Whether he was in a high school or a New Wine musical, showing sheep or hogs at the county fair, working in the 4-H Food Stand, or volunteering at local events, he gave 100 percent and was a leader in all he did. He grew up in a family that holds the conviction that you give back to your community.

My dad always commented that the "Smith Boys" always took the time to say "Hi" and stop and talk to him. Bennett will take the time to talk to all of his constituents and represent us 100 percent.

Please give Bennett your vote and support on Nov. 2.

Vicky Dosdall