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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Monday, May 2nd, 2016
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The missing half of Congress’s job


By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Feb 29th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Every now and then, I’m asked if I miss serving in Congress. My stock answer is that no, I don’t really miss it, but there are definitely times when I’d like to jump right into a policy debate or be in a position to call congressional hearings.

This is one of those times.

Over the last few weeks, several media outlets have reported that U.S. military commanders are suggesting that they need more American troops on the ground in places like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya. And last month, talking about our efforts to defeat ISIS, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told CNBC, “We’re looking for opportunities to do more and there will be boots on the ground and I want to be clear about that.”

This ought to have Congress working overtime to prepare for these requests. It’s rare to find a military commander who doesn’t want more troops: they face serious security challenges, especially in the Middle East. But one can be sympathetic and at the same time skeptical, or at least probing.

So Congress should be pushing very hard to get answers to some very tough questions. Where are we headed with these proposed troop increases? If they don’t work, what’s next? What’s our exit strategy? What are the prospects for negotiations? We keep saying we’re going to support the moderate opposition in Syria: who are they, what do they bring to the table, and how are we recalibrating our approach in the face of Russian airstrikes on behalf of the current regime?

We insist that we’re going to destroy ISIS, but no other country in the international coalition fighting the Islamic State seems willing to put forces on the ground. Are we going to be the only one? And just how does the administration propose to destroy ISIS?

Congress has two key functions in our system of government: legislation and oversight. Most public attention — and certainly most media attention — focuses on policy-making and legislative maneuvering. But Capitol Hill’s role in overseeing the executive branch is just as important.

That’s because in seeking answers, Congress can force the President and his top advisors to articulate and defend their policies, their objectives, the steps they’re taking (or proposing) to implement those objectives, and the impact they expect from their policies. In other words, Congress needs to act on behalf of the American people to ens .....
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A generational call

Mon, Feb 29th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

The caucus is upon us, and it is your responsibility to make it work. Yes, YOU. Democracy is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and if the people don’t bother to take part, then it becomes a government of the slea ..... 
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Madelia: when the smoke settles

Mon, Feb 29th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

When a devastating fire took out a large portion of Madelia’s historic main street earlier this month, the town and surrounding community were understandably shaken. Madelia’s population is just over 2,200, but given the number of Minnesotans ..... 
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Racism in America: It’s time to face the facts

By Jeff Erding

Mon, Feb 29th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

If you’ve been watching the news and reading the papers, you know the subject of racism has been prominent in America. An endless series of events have spawned violent protests, destructive and unlawful behavior, accusations of wrong doing by law ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Gracing the Commentary pages

Mon, Feb 29th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

In case you haven’t noticed a change in our editorial policy pertaining to the Commentary pages, I wanted to take a moment to explain those changes and the logic behind those changes. Letters to the Editor All letters to the editor are limite ..... 
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City of Preston Ordinance 152.04

Mon, Feb 29th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By Kerry Soiney On March 7, the City Council of Preston will again discuss the 1971 ordinance that requires a screening green belt surrounding the perimeter of mobile home parks that border residential properties in the City of Preston. It was full ..... 
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Houston County must play by the rules

Mon, Feb 22nd, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By John Jordan I come from a long line of environmentally concerned men. My great-grandfather witnessed the advent of internal combustion automobiles. “We know the consequences of what comes out of the rear end of a horse,” he said, “but wh ..... 
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Remembering Scalia

Mon, Feb 22nd, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

Antonin Scalia will long be remembered as an important and significant Supreme Court Justice. Whether you agreed with him or not his nearly 30 years of service on the court should be respected. His decisions and writings are his legacy and they will ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Bluff Country’s blemish

Mon, Feb 22nd, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By now, I’m guessing you’ve heard about another episode of fraud involving Southeast Minnesota Historic Bluff Country Inc. The first time was under the leadership of director Kristina Nolte. On June 17, 2013, Kristina Nolte, of Mabel, Minn. ..... 
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