Last year, I spent my 18th birthday going to the polls to vote. With this newfound sense of responsibility, I made sure to vote on the most important issue of this decade: the climate crisis.

In the months following that empowering day, I watched my vote manifest into political discourse, compromises and progress for the state of Minnesota. All the while, I spent my time outside of school (and sometimes even during school) advocating for bold, just climate policies. I marched forth with an army of young people, indigenous people, scientists, businesses, organizers and politicians to ensure our state takes the necessary action to address the urgent issue of climate change.

The Walz administration and the House heard our calls. Together, they moved forward and passed the omnibus energy bill that would have begun to build a sustainable and equitable economy. However, the Senate refused to take action.

The Senate’s choice hurts one group in particular: those who were too young to vote in the last Senate election. Like me. It’s a twisted irony that the leaders who are supposed to defend the rights of the unheard — the young people — are the ones who are robbing us of our rights to life, liberty and happiness.

On my 20th birthday, I’m going to go vote along with thousands of other first-time voters in Minnesota. We intend to fill government seats with those who have the leadership needed to solve the climate crisis. Young people will be heard.

Lia Harel, Minnetonka

GUN REFORM

If deputy can be punished for gun inaction, so can lawmakers

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and found the actions of one deputy lacking: “There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives” (“Florida deputy accused of not acting during Parkland shooting,” June 5). The deputy now faces a possible sentence of 100 years for his non-response.

Could not that same finding be directed to President Donald Trump, Congress and the Minnesota Legislature for their collective lack of action on the issue of gun violence in our country?

Paul Hager, Northfield

HEALTH CARE

Market, for-profit approach can’t solve a market, for-profit problem

It is not surprising that the CEO of a for-profit health care organization is worried about the rising support for “Medicare for All” (“‘Medicare for All’ is not the solution,” Readers Write, June 5). Of course taking profit out of the driver’s seat in health care doesn’t sound good to him.

His letter is full of the same cautionary words we’ve been hearing for years in the battle to defeat switching to a single-payer system that offers lower costs, better quality and better results and satisfaction.

What opposition to Medicare for All has given us remains the same: Higher costs, less access and less choice. Doctors, for whom he claims concern, are being driven mad and into early retirement by data tracking. Patients, for whom he claims concern, are being driven mad by escalating costs, needless confinement of treatment options, dependency upon their employer and more.

What we have is a boondoggle, and I’m sick of hearing more talk of market, for-profit solutions to a problem that is caused by market, for-profit thinking. Medicare for All is the solution.

Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis

• • •

The main letter writer from June 5 states that “Medicare for All” would limit choice. Where did he get this information? If one looks at state Sen. John Marty’s plan, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s plan or U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan, there are no limits of choice of physician or hospital. On the contrary, it is the current system that contains these restrictions.

What these plans have in common is a consistent source of funding for health care for all of us.

The current system wastes about a quarter of each health care dollar on administrative costs, limits us to going to “network” physicians or hospitals, frequently makes us change providers or hospitals when our insurance changes, and has dismal price controls on medications so that people die or go bankrupt from the inability to pay for them. Why would we want this system to continue?

We desperately need a national discussion about universal, high-quality, affordable health care. Let’s insist that when someone talks about health care payment reform, their statements are based on facts, not fabrications or scare tactics.

Dr. Ron Jankowski, Anoka

The writer is a family physician.

ONLINE SPEECH

YouTube can’t judge what bigotry is

So YouTube will now decide what is hate or not? (“YouTube to remove hate videos,” June 6.) Who is YouTube to make this decision? The story I read said the company provided examples of banning videos containing “neo-Nazism, white supremacy and other bigoted ideologies,” but what does that mean? While most would not want to watch videos arguing that the Holocaust was fake, what if I post a video that my Christian faith is better than the Muslim faith — am I bigoted? If one person posts a video that says they hate Trump and another posts one that they hate Obama, will both be banned? Will only one be banned? I do not give YouTube or any social or government-run entity the permission to censor what I wish to view or post.

Bret R. Collier, Big Lake, Minn.

STATE FUNDING

Current formula is fairest for cities

A recent article (“Cities question receiving less aid from the state,” June 5) detailed concerns from U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips and city leaders in his district about the perceived lack of state funding available to the communities in the west metro. The article primarily focused on local government aid (LGA), but it lacked important context about the LGA program.

While I agree that the state needs to make stronger investments in city infrastructure, this is not the main purpose of LGA.

LGA is designed to disburse aid to cities that have a relatively low tax base and high needs. For comparison, look at the cities of Rogers, located in Phillips’ district, and Brainerd. Though similar in population, Rogers’ tax base is three times greater than Brainerd’s. This means that Rogers can raise almost $17 per capita for every one percentage point increase in its tax rate, while in Brainerd the same increase can only raise about $5.50. Further, many cities that receive LGA serve as regional centers for education, health care, shopping, courts and government services, which all place pressure on local resources.

If you look at all of the cities in Phillips’ district that do not receive LGA, together they have an average tax base of $3,067 per capita — more than three times the statewide average. Because of this disparity, LGA under its current formula is the best program our state has to ensure that all Minnesotans can live in a thriving community.

Ron Johnson, Bemidji , Minn.

The writer is a Bemidji City Council member and president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

DOUGHNUTS

12 summer ideas — only 72 to go

“What are we going to do today?” — a question every parent dreads at 7:30 a.m. on the first day of summer vacation. I told my kids we’d brainstorm after my morning coffee and paper. I got to the Taste section to the article on doughnuts (“Deep-fried holiday,” June 6) and counted the bakeries — 12. I then started our brainstorm session: “On Monday of every week of summer, we’ll be visiting one of these doughnut makers!” Not only did the Taste(y!) section set the tone of our family activities meeting, but it offered something to look forward to. Thanks!

Susie Valentine, Minneapolis

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