I had intended to withhold my vote in the Minnesota attorney general race this year after Karen Monahan made allegations of domestic abuse in her former relationship with Keith Ellison. I have changed my mind. Doug Wardlow states he will fire all Democrats in the Attorney General’s Office if he is elected AG. It is for this reason that I will vote for Ellison, despite believing Monahan’s allegations against him.
The justice system, being a human institution, is naturally flawed. Turning it into an unchecked Republican or Democratic tool would further our society’s bitter divisiveness and possibly lead to civil unrest. We need people of different political persuasions working in the Attorney General’s Office to ensure that Minnesota law is impartially enforced to the greatest extent humanly possible. I believe a vote for Ellison serves a higher good than withholding my vote in the race. Minnesotans — children, women and men alike — deserve better than Doug Wardlow’s extreme partisanship.
Andrea E. Johnson, Lake Elmo
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Three reasons not to vote for Ellison:
First, as a congressman he took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. But on July 18, he sent an official letter to Jeff Bezos at Amazon asking him to stop selling and to destroy any inventory of literature or music from any groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group. So much for that pesky free-speech clause in the Constitution. No matter whether you love or hate the SPLC, neither they nor Ellison gets to shut off free speech (even hate speech) because they don’t like it.
Second, he has not exactly been honest with all of us. He claims to have distanced himself from Louis Farrakhan after 1995. Yet, according to Farrakhan (as reported by Wall Street Journal and Washington Post) they were together at a dinner hosted by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in September 2013. They also met in Farrakhan’s Washington hotel suite in summer 2015. Evidently, that distance is only arm’s length.
Third, this quote: “If the state Legislature passes laws that don’t make sense, but are constitutional, then I’m going to have to cross that bridge when I get to it.” So he plans to do selective legal enforcement based on what he thinks should be done. Is that what Minnesota wants in an attorney general?
Throw out all the other issues swirling around Ellison. These three things are enough for me to vote for a guy I hadn’t heard of until a few months ago — Doug Wardlow.
Steven P. Roeder, Coon Rapids
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In a recent televised debate, Ellison and Wardlow each were asked to identify the other’s “extreme” viewpoints. One of the viewpoints Wardlow spoke of Ellison was his support of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil-rights and public-interest litigation. Wardlow said the SPLC was guilty of “suing people simply because they disagreed with them.” It was a small point within Wardlow’s full comments, but it has some very big implications for Minnesota. It is even more significant, given recent headlines of mail bombs and synagogue shootings, that Wardlow wants to diminish Ellison’s support of an organization that teaches tolerance and aids law enforcement in monitoring far right-wing hate groups. Wardlow fully supports President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric, which many believe has emboldened recent acts of domestic terrorism.
We would do our state a dangerous disservice if we elected an AG who considers tolerance toward others as “extreme” and disparaged efforts to ensure equal rights and freedoms that are the cornerstone of our democracy. The only extreme part of Keith Ellison is how much better he understands today’s issues and would be an attorney general who serves everyone far more fairly and equally.
Steve Mark, Minnetonka
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To contrast the differences between Wardlow and Ellison and the impact on Minnesotans and our lives, one need look no further than the impending assault on the California border by the “caravan” of tens of thousands of individuals marching north from Honduras, Guatemala, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela and African/Asian countries, with the ultimate intent of punching through into America and melding into our communities.
Investigative journalist Sara Carter interviewed many of these individuals, finding them to be largely young men proudly brandishing their tattoos from the respective gangs or drug cartels they belong to, including the dreaded MS-13. Please ask yourself: Do you want these men in your neighborhoods? How many more young women and men need to be kidnapped, raped and/or killed? Remember Kathryn Steinle, Lennox Lake, Ronald Da Silva, Tessa Tranchant, Shayley Estes, Drew Rosenberg and so many thousands of others killed by illegal aliens? All were preventable by the enforcement of immigration laws.
Ellison proudly wears a shirt proclaiming he doesn’t believe in national borders. He believes in open borders, as do all Democrats. Wardlow does believe in borders and the rule of law — the job description for the Minnesota attorney general (to enforce our laws, not politicize the laws and the AG’s office). The Attorney General’s Office has been in the hands of Democrats for the last 50 years, and Lori Swanson and Mike Hatch have made the office culture there toxic and highly political. The criminal-law division isn’t even fully staffed. Opioid and human traffickers have little or no resistance here, so naturally criminals will migrate here for a much better “work environment.” Please remember the 14,000 person “caravan” making its way to the U.S. border through Mexico. How many of these are targeting our state? Again, do we want these people in our neighborhoods?
Please vote for Doug Wardlow for attorney general and help keep Minnesota safe!
John Tyler, Eden Prairie
Opinion editor’s note: Sara Carter, whom the writer mentions, is a contributor to Fox News who traveled to Guatemala as an independent reporter. Her reporting has not been corroborated by other media sources.
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The accusation that Wardlow bullied one of our classmates for being gay, as reported in an Oct. 30 article “Wardlow, Ellison sharpen attacks,” is a reckoning for Eagan High School’s class of 1997. It is forcing us to come face-to-face with the fact that our school was not safe for LGBTQ students. Fortunately, many of us have grown up to recognize the dark underside of our high school days, become more tolerant and accepting, and even raise children who are doing the same.
Unfortunately, Doug did not make the same decision. Instead, he has doubled down on the hateful stances of his high school days. He has used his professional life at Alliance Defending Freedom to protect those who discriminate and attack those who need our love and support. Doug claims he will be apolitical when he takes office. We know that isn’t the case. Doug never was apolitical and never will be. He is an extremist who will try to take us back to a time to which we never want to return.
The undersigned members of the Eagan High School Class of 1997:
Tiffanie Baker, Missy (Leiferman) Boody, Katiah (Young) Brown, Marilyn Byrd, Lindsay Carlson, Meghann Fedde Charboneau, Alex Cook, Adam Cooley, Lea Coon, Stacy (Renick) Crakes, Scott Crichton, Lindsey Dickinson, Melissa (Geist) Feeler, Holly Flood, Rebecca (Larson) Gierok, Jean Harlson, Lynn S. Larson, Dana (Edwins) Leno, Joel Lessard, Daniel Machovsky, Erin (Harmon) Matschiner, Jason J. Miller, Lindsey Munro, Katie (Mozer) Murr, Dan Murr, Pathana Navandy, Laura (Anderson) O’Connor, Nickie Pufall, Chad R. Rath, Megan (Ruegg) Robertson, Kristen Scarpetta, Alicia Peterson Shams, and Ryan Thorman. This letter was submitted by Katie Murr of St. Paul.
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While my partner and I shopped for countertops this week, I realized that, in Wardlow’s ideal Minnesota, a sales associate could refuse to work with us based on so-called “religious freedom.” After honing his homophobia in high school and as a law clerk, Wardlow became a professional bigot, promoting a narrow strain of Christianity that’s far out of the mainstream. And he’s not so fond of the separation of church and state, one of the many things he’d prefer that voters not understand about him.
Many of us wish Ellison’s personal life were less messy, but he’s been open and cooperative about it, an approach that stands in contrast to the two sides of Wardlow’s mouth. Most important, Ellison’s vision for Minnesota is the Minnesota most of us want to live in — forward-looking and pluralistic, with equal justice for all.
A vote for Wardlow for attorney general is a vote for the Dark Ages. Even the third-party candidate is backing Ellison. The rest of Minnesota should, too.
The Rev. Jim Foti, Minneapolis
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I am a survivor of domestic abuse, which often resulted in black eyes and hospital visits and frequently involved absence from work and social events — partly to hide the bruises and partly to hide my intense shame. I was only able to leave that abusive relationship with support of my extended family, my faith community and, most important, mental-health services that could help me regain the self-esteem I needed to remember the competent person I had been before I married. Many women also need the safety of an emergency shelter for themselves and their children.
I support Ellison for attorney general because I believe that he will work to ensure that shelters and centers for victims of domestic abuse continue to receive funding, and that mental-health services continue to be accessible to those who need them to recover from any of life’s challenging circumstances. While I hear much outrage about domestic abuse from Wardlow, I have not heard anything that would indicate to me that he would work in the same manner that Ellison would for the well-being of the victims.
The Rev. Paula Bidle, Minneapolis
Editorial Board seems set on ‘R’ in a ‘DFL’ district
I’m not sure why the Star Tribune Editorial Board seems so insistent on getting a Republican elected to the Eighth Congressional District seat — it endorsed Stewart Mills III in 2014 over the greatly more qualified Rick Nolan — despite the fact that the district has been represented by a DFLer for 70 of the past 72 years. Time for a change? Not this year when the voters of the Eighth have the opportunity to elect another outstanding DFLer in the mold of the district’s previous great members of Congress, including John Blatnik, Jim Oberstar and current Rep. Rick Nolan, who is retiring, and in this year’s candidate, Joe Radinovich.
As the Nov. 1 endorsement of Pete Stauber so aptly stated, “a more valid test of character, as a state House member in 2013 Radinovich cast a vote for marriage equality even though he knew it would be politically damaging.” It did — it cost him his House seat. That alone in this age when most people think all state and federal legislators only take safe votes to get re-elected warrant Radinovich’s election to Congress. While Stauber is well known in the Eighth District and by all accounts is a decent human, unlike the president he so vehemently supports, the fact of that support alone disqualifies him for the seat. The last thing the Eighth District, Minnesota and the nation need at this point in our history is more Trump supporters in Congress. Joe Radinovich, for those and many other reasons, is the far superior candidate for the Eighth.
Dan McGowan, St. Paul
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Really? Being a hockey player is a major consideration for endorsement? The Editorial Board points out little difference between Stauber and Radinovich other than Stauber’s hockey background. And of course President Trump’s endorsement. Which speaks volumes. Very disappointed.
Joan Nephew, Dayton
Editorial Board promotes myth: Walz as unifier
The Star Tribune Editorial Board opines in its Oct. 28 gubernatorial endorsement that Tim Walz can unite Minnesota. The article comments favorably on Walz’s qualifications but skips positions that are likely to prevent the unity so confidently advanced.
Walz wants Minnesota to become a “sanctuary state.” This ignores existing law and undermines the government to serve a romantic, naive idealism. A sanctuary state grants shelter, financial and other assistance to those who are here illegally, at the expense of so many deserving citizens in need. One also is led to wonder: If elected, will Walz then also work to eliminate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? Either position is hardly a unifier or voteworthy.
By simple reckoning, abortion is a contributor to Minnesota’s workforce shortage and its effect on businesses. This is something that a candidate of the supportive Democratic Party would do well to keep in mind.
John P. Dunlap, Fridley
These seats shouldn’t be blue-red; vote third-party
Election Day is just around the corner — thank goodness! If you are like me, you’ve had enough of the endless barrage of negative political ads being thrown at us. I understand why people are emotional about political races; with issues like health care, immigration and education being at the forefront, the Democrats and Republicans are trying to scare people into not voting for the other party’s candidates.
There are two races that should be set apart from this political frenzy — two races that shouldn’t be political at all. The offices of state auditor and secretary of state should be held by people who are completely independent from partisan politics. These offices must be focused on impartiality and service to the people of Minnesota.
I am voting for Chris Dock (Libertarian Party) for state auditor and William Denney (Independence Party) for secretary of state because I believe these two candidates are the only ones on the ballot who can provide the level of independence we need in these offices. I hope you will consider voting for them as well.
Paula Magadan, Maple Grove