Thank you, residents of Minneapolis, for your quiet neighborhoods on the edge of the airport, and one block away from freeways, and perched along the Mississippi River.
Thank you for your tidy houses, garages and bedrooms under construction, wobbly handrails, broken doorbells and welcoming porches.
Thank you for your autumn flower beds in russet, white and yellow, for your carved Halloween pumpkins (now left as food for squirrels), for your bright entry lights and your darkened alcoves.
Thank you for your neatly swept sidewalks and sidewalks covered in yellow leaves that whispered underfoot.
Thank you for your lawn art created from hardware and found objects and cement, your painted birdhouses and beckoning Adirondack chairs, your solar-powered path lights and whimsical door knockers.
Thank you for supporting your corner churches with the stately steeples and the hardware-store-turned-church, and the Chinese takeout, and the aquarium store, and the auto-body shop tucked at the intersection.
Thank you for your furry family members, who watch from your windows and answer your doorbells, the lively dogs and inquisitive cats, and that quiet Golden Retriever who kept silent watch out your front door.
Thank you for your candidate lawn signs, school referendum signs, rainbow signs of welcome, construction signs, mosquito-control signs, your Little Free Libraries, and even for the scary zombies erupting from your front lawns.
Thank you to those of you who work at home, those who are retired, parents who meet their children at home after school, elder caregivers, and all of you who answered your doorbells or my knock at your door, who promised to vote, who offered me water and hot tea and brief shelter from the rain and sleet.
Thank you for caring about your families, your homes, your neighborhoods, our city and our democracy. Thank you for reminding me about why I love living in the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota.
And thank you, Minneapolis neighbors, near and far, for voting.
Heidi Schneider, Golden Valley
HENNEPIN COUNTY BOARD
Thank you, Peter McLaughlin, for your value to your community
An open letter to Peter McLaughlin:
For the years working at the Urban Coalition, helping to introduce affordable housing and affirmative action to our vernacular; for teaching at Metro State University, giving an inexpensive portal to nontraditional students and underserved communities; for representing the diverse District 60B for three terms in the Legislature, creating the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan that, among other positives, helped countless lower- and middle-class folks fix up and stay in their homes; for pioneering livable wages/benefits initiatives at the Hennepin County Board; for both your effectiveness and never-say-quit leadership that brought light rail to the Hiawatha Corridor, for the wisdom of the Target Field deal that has delivered so much to the county, the city, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis schools, and economic development; for saving and then refurbishing our seven neighborhood libraries; for directing money to youth sports and arts — money that the Park Board and schools do not have — especially to the four least-affluent neighborhoods in our district; for watching out for cognitively impaired adults when large institutions closed and preserving the jobs for those who cared for them; for supporting unions and creating a jobs program; for promoting bike and pedestrian paths; for always showing up and tirelessly listening to the community; and, finally, for being gracious when your decades of progressive service did not garner the votes needed to continue, we thank you.
Martin Demgen and Wes Skoglund, Minneapolis
Skoglund is a former member of the Minnesota Legislature.
THE NATIONAL DIRECTION
Don’t be Republican-lite, newly elected Democrats; be bold
Now is the time for the members of the U.S. House to be bold. Remember all those sham votes on repealing the Affordable Care Act? As soon as Republicans’ supporters handed them both legislative bodies and the White House, they couldn’t vote to repeal because they realized how unpopular that was.
Now is the time for Democrats to give us a reason to vote for them again and to return the Senate and White House back to Democrats. Pass bills for Medicare for all, comprehensive immigration reform, universal background checks, Wall Street reform, and marijuana legalization. All of these enjoy majority support in the U.S. Force Republicans to vote no and refuse to take it up in the Senate.
Yes, we want President Donald Trump investigated, but you have to present a vision for a better America. Go big; pass meaningful legislation and leave the Republicans behind. It’s time for Democrats to realize that this country is not as conservative as the loud minority keeps shouting that it is. Progressives are sick of Republican-lite Democrats. We want and demand action in return for our support and vote.
Jeff Larson, Lakeville
THE EIGHTH DISTRICT
It all went wrong for DFLers at their inept endorsing convention
Way to go DFLers! Congrats on losing Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District seat to a Republican for the second time in more than 70 years due to “politics as usual.” When the convention in Duluth failed to “endorse” a candidate for the primary election, five DFL candidates were left to fight for primary election votes. Smart call — using your resources to battle people in your own party, rather than support the people’s choice, Leah Phifer, for endorsement. Phifer captured majority votes in all 10 ballots, garnering 53 percent of the 60 percent needed for endorsement.
Delegates and superdelegates at the Duluth convention, you should be ashamed! Yes, that includes DFL-elected officials and others who raised your hands not to support any endorsement, even after Phifer was the clear leader and responded eloquently to that ridiculous stunt by the Latino Caucus.
Shame on you for perpetuating the good-ol’-boys network! You opted for a Rick Nolan prodigy, with numerous violations on his record, over an intelligent, articulate woman with national-security experience, integrity and enough passion to serve our country that she left a career with the FBI to seek election to represent our Eighth District in Congress. Only to be disparaged by her own political party of dinosaurs, unwilling to move forward with the best candidate for the position.
DFL Party, wake up! If you are a party of the people, start listening to the people. I truly hope Pete Stauber will listen to people and serve the Eighth District well.
Jackie (Phifer) Moen, Isanti, Minn.
The writer is Leah Phifer’s mother.