Readers’ Views

Vote for Wardlow

To the Editor:

Doug Wardlow is the Republican candidate for Minnesota attorney general. He is currently a counsel for the conservative Christian advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom.

Doug has spent his career fighting for free speech and other constitutional rights. He has litigated against China’s unfair trade practices, and for Minnesota farmers, mine workers and steel producers.

Doug will roll back illegal regulations drowning farmers in red tape. He will fight for the Iron Range. He will rebuild the criminal law division to fight human trafficking and prosecute welfare fraudsters.

Early voting is now open. Vote for Doug Wardlow for Minnesota’s next attorney general.

Shane W. Schofield

Truman

Wind energy beneficial

To the Editor:

Wind energy is hometown, clean and American. Last month, I was happy to take part in celebrating American Wind Week and its many benefits to rural communities.

I am proud to be one of many rural advocates who appreciates the benefits of wind energy. Our businesses in Fairmont work with and accommodate thousands of guests annually who are in Martin County working on and with the wind energy. They are a very important part of our Martin County economy.

Rural communities have a lot to gain from hosting wind projects. Wind turbines provide a guaranteed source of income for landowners through easement payments. The local economy benefits from wind farms. They bring new jobs, new sources of county tax revenue and new business for local stores. Last year, wind farms paid $12.7 million to 24 of Minnesota’s counties that welcome wind farms. Counties often use this new revenue for funding schools, improving roads and bridges, and lowering property taxes.

Our state is blessed with outstanding wind resources, and that’s made a positive difference for many Minnesotans. In our businesses, wind energy helps support jobs and helps our businesses be able to reinvest back into our assets to improve them for everyone to enjoy.

America’s wind energy development is playing a vital role in Martin County’s economy and I believe that we should all support the development of renewable energy and fuel sources.

Jason Subbert

general manager

TPI Hotels Fairmont

Early Risers mark 40th

To the Editor:

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers, dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.

This is the essence of the mission statement of Kiwanis International. What a difference a century makes, as in 1915, Kiwanis began as a single club in Detroit, Mich., and in September 1922, some 50 men from the area met at the Fairmont Hotel to charter the Kiwanis Club of Fairmont.

This year, our Kiwanis Club of Fairmont-Early Risers, is celebrating its 40th anniversary of its chartering on Sept. 27, 1978, as an outgrowth of the original Golden K Kiwanis Club of earlier days. Today, we still have two of our original members remaining in the club, Lee Liljenquist and Dr. Lynn Reeve.

Our club numbers 30 active members today, striving to always fulfill the focus of our mission statement. As our Early Risers Club matured, it has remained deeply ingrained in many activities, always striving to enhance the quality of life throughout the community.

With the sponsorship of many community-based and child-focused projects throughout the year, we remain an active group, continually seeking new members and promoting child-centered programs. Those programs and projects, including Koats for Kids, annual Fishing Derby, Bike Rodeo, Safe Routes to School, Ditch Pick-up, Kinship, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Stuff-A-Backpack, Free Book Project, Student-of-the Quarter and support for the Fairmont High School band trip.

As for community-focused projects, Early Risers are involved in current and past projects as bell ringing for the Salvation Army, support of Dollars for Scholars, Let’s Go Fishing With Seniors, Pioneer Drive Memorial Sidewalk, the Hobo Trail, Adopt-A-Park, providing snacks for STEM Camp, Kids Against Hunger meal packs, Lakeview Bingo, Youth for Christ and school booster clubs.

Our service club is very grateful to the entire community for its support of our annual pancake feed fundraisers, usually the first Monday after Thanksgiving, and in the spring the first Monday in May. Without that support, many of our community and child-focused programs would not happen.

Harlan Gorath

Fairmont

Another white elephant

To the Editor:

Well, the “experts” have spoken and they say the community center will draw on a population of 30,000 within a 30 mile radius. Wow. Since this is being railroaded through, we better initiate a traffic study right away. Can our streets, some at Third World quality or less, really handle the onslaught? Wait. Cancel the study. There will be no onslaught.

It is said (who knows for sure) that the second level of this new white elephant will be an exercise facility. Are we expected to pay taxes to pay for a facility that directly competes with private sector companies currently operating? This is just plain wrong. And how much rental income will the banquet facility take away from current private companies and non-profits that currently rent facilities for meetings, wedding receptions and such?

Check the Census Bureau website. They estimate that since the 2010 census, Fairmont’s population through 2017 has dropped by 540 residents. This is not unreasonable if you pay attention to the obituaries as I do. Who do these proponents think is going to be here to pay for this costly future white elephant?

You know what? I’d love to be wrong. It would be great if a larger or several medium employers were to choose Fairmont and replenish our population and economic base. But that should occur before taking on a project like this. A community center will not bring them, and if they don’t come, we’re stuck with debt to be paid by a shrinking population.

And speaking of debt, the Opera House is trying to raise $10 million, a new law enforcement center is now being put forward for approximately $40 million and we are still paying off a $30 million water treatment plant. And we have plenty of other needs for public expenditures. But it’s always said that “it’s just” or “it’s only” a few bucks on your property tax bill. Well, an “it’s just” here and an “it’s only” there and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Fairmont is an incredible place to live. I laud those who give of their time to work to make it even better. But there is a time to dream and a time to face reality. On this subject, it’s time to face reality.

Craig Nelson

Fairmont

GOP fosters rate drops

To the Editor:

On Oct. 2, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released final rates for the 2019 individual insurance market. For the second consecutive year, Republican-led reforms have proven to help reduce or hold flat individual market health insurance rates after years of double-digit increases following the implementation of Obamacare in Minnesota.

All five of the carriers on the individual market are lowering premiums for 2019, with average rates dropping between 7.4 percent and 27.7 percent. For example, a family of four from Fairmont could save $2,064 while a 61-year-old from Jackson could save $5,916 next year as a result of Republican reforms compared to two years ago. The individual market serves Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own, not through an employer or the government.

Thanks to these reforms, the double-digit premium increases residents had been experiencing years ago are long gone. It cannot be argued that our work at the Capitol has lowered premium rates for those who need to purchase insurance on the individual market.

From 2014-2017, average rates increased by double digits every year, including up to 67 percent for 2017. Thanks to Republican reforms enacted in 2017, individual market rates for 2018 remained flat or were reduced for most Minnesotans on the individual market. The Minnesota Department of Commerce confirmed last year and this year that without Republican reforms, rates would have risen by 20 percent or more.

The nationally recognized Republican-led reforms were supported by just one Democrat in the Minnesota House. Gov. Mark Dayton refused to sign the measure, opting to let it become law without his signature.

Republicans also pushed for and successfully passed other key reforms to increase the number of health care options for Minnesotans by expanding agriculture co-op plans and allowing more insurers into the market, a move that is already paying dividends for seniors on Medicare and employees. Democrats pushed unsuccessfully during the 2018 session to eliminate these health plan options.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,

R-Fairmont

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