I was left agape with incredulity by U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s Aug. 25 commentary criticizing Minnesota’s U.S. senators for delaying Justice David Stras’ nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Paulsen complains that “[s]talling Stras’ nomination is the latest example of partisan game-playing in Washington” and urges Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken “to end their obstructionism and allow [the] nomination to proceed for a confirmation hearing and vote.”
If Paulsen believes this is the “latest” example, I anxiously await his upcoming op-ed piece excoriating the Republican Senate majority for the “greatest” example of partisan game-playing in Washington: the failure to hold a hearing or vote on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Garland is a judicial moderate (unlike Stras) and undeniably qualified.
Or maybe Paulsen will pen a paean to the Senate Democratic majority that confirmed 68 of President George W. Bush’s nominees in the last two years of his term and will decry the partisan game-playing and obstructionism of his Republican brethren in the Senate who confirmed only 22 of President Barack Obama’s nominees in the last two years of his term.
Given the time saved by avoiding face-to-face town hall meetings with his constituents, I trust that Paulsen should have ample time to draft these pieces. If he does, I will be left agape at the demonstration of his beloved bipartisanship.
Brad Engdahl, Golden Valley
Nolan shuns his constituents, is undeserving of re-election
In response to U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s full endorsement of sulfide mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area watershed, I wanted to present a perspective from one Iron Range resident on this issue. We live on a farm surrounded by mineral exploration, living in fear that all we have worked for will be lost to environmental devastation. We attended a Nolan town hall to express our concerns about sulfide mining at home and near the BWCA. The congressman’s staffer gave us only industry platitudes and proceeded down the road and claimed that we were paid extremists. That is how he treats his constituents, favoring foreign interests and big unions over people. He ignites people with Trump-like rhetoric. I was at the Virginia Forest Service listening session where his supporters hissed and shouted at speakers. He teams with others to eliminate a science-based study of the effect of mining on the BWCA and dilute environmental protections, while falsely claiming that he supports science and regulation. A sure sign that a politician does not deserve re-election is treating his constituents without respect and not telling the truth. Nolan fits the bill on both accounts.
Kelly Dahl, Cook, Minn.
ADOPTION LAWS IN MINNESOTA
Open those records; it will benefit both children and birth parents
For years, I have lobbied with the Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform because as a “search angel” for my three children I not only listened to their need to know but I enlighten listeners to the gift we also gave the birth mothers. All three birth mothers indicated they wanted to search but feared upsetting their child, so their being found by their child was healing to them also. I will stress that issue again this year to legislators (“State keeps door shut to adoptees’ searches,” Aug. 20). Hopefully, Minnesota will join the 29 states that offer adoptees some access to their records. If not, why are we so lagging?
Eunice Anderson, Burnsville
A close-to-home example of what policy changes have wrought
We are members of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (OSLC) in Circle Pines. Our director of music hails from South Korea and has been in the U.S. on a student visa for nine years. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the U.S.
The director was selected after an extensive search process in February 2016. He was the most qualified individual to fill the position. He has spent several months working toward permanent residency by following the process in place at the time, and OSLC hired him with the expectation that this would be easily achieved.
Due to changes in the process and rules made by the Trump administration, the progress slowed considerably, and as a result, his student visa has expired. He can no longer work for OSLC or for anyone else. This has left him, his wife and two young children in a very difficult financial situation. This has adversely affected the members and ministry of OSLC.
First, we are asking our congressional delegation in Washington to expedite the process to afford our director of music the necessary legal status to return to employment at OSLC. Second, and long overdue, we’re asking them to work with their congressional colleagues to pass meaningful immigration reform legislation that will benefit our country.
We know there are many very gifted, talented and hardworking immigrants in the same situation as our music director. We need these people as citizens of this country to be able to move the U.S. in a positive direction. Look at the position in which we’ve put our director and his family. This is an embarrassing, demoralizing and distressing situation for a country built by immigrants. We need to do better.
Dwight and Patricia Benoy, Circle Pines, Minn.
MAYO CLINIC AND ALBERT LEA
A political conflict of interest?
On behalf of the Save Our Hospital group, I want to thank the Star Tribune for its front-page coverage (Aug. 22) of our current struggle to convince Mayo to keep our full-service hospital in Albert Lea.
The seventh paragraph of the story leaves me with a question, however. If Gov. Mark Dayton has oversight of millions of dollars in state funds going to Rochester for Mayo’s Destination Medical Center, is it ethical for his second-in-command, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, to chair the corporate board of that project? Wouldn’t this be considered a conflict of interest?
Joan Claire Graham, Albert Lea, Minn.
Former coach still doesn’t get it
Reading former University of Minnesota football coach Tracy Claeys’ Aug. 24 commentary (“I’d do some things differently, but we achieved much”), one can draw two conclusions: Claeys cared deeply for his players and the team. Second, he still doesn’t get it. The fact that the county attorney decided not to bring charges against the players suspected in the alleged sexual assault of a woman does not mean that the players acted honorably, or even close to honorably. Players on a Division I team, or any college athlete for that matter, need to represent their team in a manner that reflects honor and integrity onto their school. What those U football players did put an enormous black eye on the athletics department, and what Claeys did in supporting them, further victimized the woman they abused and, possibly worse yet, made those young athletes believe that their actions were vindicated.
Richard Greelis, Bloomington