Talk to any roomful of Minnesotans and ask them what they are (“Pawlenty’s campaign derides immigration,” July 15). They will say “Irish, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, German” or will name any other nationality. I guarantee few will say “American,” even though they probably all are. People in our state and our country identify with where their ancestors came from, and we can agree that the contributions of immigrants have largely enriched our communities. But candidate Tim Pawlenty has a problem with welcoming new immigrants. He needs to know that their skin color and native languages may not match those of past immigrants but that this new wave of immigrants has every bit as much to give to their adopted land as those who came before.

Stephanie Wolkin, White Bear Lake

• • •

If there’s one thing former Gov. Pawlenty’s attack ads are showing us, it’s that it’s time we use ranked-choice voting for our statewide party primaries. If he felt he needed to earn the second choices of his opponent’s supporters, he’d run a more positive campaign focused on the issues, instead of insulting and denigrating the man he is running against.

Kelly O’Brien, Minneapolis

• • •

In a July 19 commentary (“How I’ll fight for all Minnesotans as the ‘people’s lawyer’ ”), U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who’s running this year for Minnesota attorney general, did a very good job of handpicking the issues he has adopted as his priorities. He sounds almost Republican in his concern about many things financial — it’s all about the money. He raises the left’s cause du jour — family separation at the border — and clearly states his position. He is to be commended for his concern about and disdain for the current administration’s policies and actions. I agree with his concerns about the future of affordable health care, womens’ rights, and workers’ and immigrants’ rights.

I notice, however, his total failure to address hateful speech as spewed regularly and officially by the leader of the Nation of Islam.

As a voter in his congressional district, I have sent three separate e-mails to Ellison’s congressional office asking for him to refute these hateful, anti-Semitic statements. The first reply took more than two months to arrive and was a boilerplate response to probably every message received. The replies to the next two were virtually identical, telling me that either no one had read my e-mails or that no one in the office cared to craft a direct response — the issue was just not that important.

For these reasons, I take Ellison’s commitment to work for all of us with a grain of salt. He will work for some of us, but will ignore those of us who cannot deliver a bloc of votes to his campaign.

He has lost my support and my vote.

Michael Cooper, Richfield


Seems like it’s important beyond ‘the wrong candidate won’

Gary Abernathy’s conclusion that Russia’s attacks on the 2016 election get more press now compared with 2008 and 2012 because “the wrong candidate won” does not necessarily follow (“Foreign interference in our elections isn’t new,” Opinion Exchange, July 19). There are many reasons it is getting more press. One is that it has been found that Russia patently wanted Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton for economic and political reasons. Another is that in 2016 the interference was to the extent that it very possibly swayed the results (Trump won by fewer than 110,000 votes in three states targeted by Russia’s disinformation campaign on social media).

What our national leaders need to be talking about beyond “was there collusion?” (obviously a very appropriate point of investigation) is “what needs to be amended in our Constitution in the event that election interference can be decisively proven to change the outcome, collusion or not?” Do the American people need to live with that “false majority” for four years? (e.g., if collusion can’t be proved, there will be no grounds for impeachment). Other nations’ constitutions have in place referendum processes that allow for a new election when circumstances require it. We need to be exploring options beyond simply protecting against and worrying about “the next time.”

Michael Haasl, Brooklyn Park

• • •

I give up. A July 19 letter writer disdains the whole intelligence community because of the Iraq war. Because an administration cherry-picked certain things and misrepresented to all of America what it “heard,” it is not a reason to throw the intelligence community under the bus.

We are now hearing that a soon-to-be president was shown direct evidence, including texts and e-mails, proving that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed the election hacking, disruption, and help for a preferred candidate. And that now-president has spent the past 18 months deceiving the American people. But because a previous administration was not honest with us, we are now supposed to rally around and believe another president who has also not been honest with us.

Experience with the Iraq war intelligence should lead us to heed intelligence warnings rather than to throw them aside. To ignore current intelligence leaves us in the same position that led us to a needless war.

Tom Krueger, Crystal

• • •

To a July 18 letter writer, I would like to point out that Minnesota does not need mail-in paper ballots as a “default method” for the sake of security. In Minnesota, paper ballots are the method. We do not have electronic voting.

Mariella Haas, Minneapolis


Minnesota physicians do not want to be our vaccination police

A July 19 letter from the presidents of the Minnesota Medical Association and Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics urges our legislators to act to “tighten Minnesota’s law by closing the current loophole that allows parents to express a conscientious objection to administering vaccines.”

In our view, there is no reasonable disagreement that scientific information readily available to parents and vulnerable communities about vaccinations is a laudable goal and worthy public expense. For example, the Somali community is combating false claims that measles vaccines cause autism in their children. Moreover, today children who are not immunized for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) in Minnesota are denied admission to schools or day care programs unless their parents formally object (the conscientious objection).

This is how it should be. Our Minnesota public health goal ought to be to reduce parental objections. However, requiring Minnesota’s licensed physicians (and other professionals) to administer vaccines is counterproductive. Making a medical license contingent on administering vaccines smacks of George Orwell’s dystopia. Such public policy only sows patients’ distrust for doctors and discontent among clinicians.

Dr. Lee Beecher, Maple Grove

The writer is president of the Minnesota Physician-Patient Alliance.

• • •

A July 19 letter writer stated: “We give vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases to infants hours after birth that are not needed until later in life.”

Her statement made me curious, so I researched vaccination schedules on the CDC and Mayo Clinic websites. The only “at birth” vaccination listed was hepatitis B.

I presume the letter writer was referring to the hepatitis B vaccine. If the mother does have hepatits B, then the vaccine could protect the newborn from contracting it. Also, hepatits B can be transmitted by accidental needle sticks. While hepatitis B can occur from sexual contact with an infected partner or sharing needles, it isn’t exclusively an STD.

Jolane Jones, Minneapolis