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Pawlenty, get'r done!


Fri, Sep 7th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

It was a genuine good feeling in the immediate wake of the horrific flooding to see a stream of politicians visiting southeast Minnesota - assessing the damage personally, visiting with officials, and giving assurances to people who had lost everything that help was on the way.

Since August 19, Rushford has been our own ground zero as volunteers have showed up to offer assistance - helping to clean out the muck, knocking down old drywall, hauling debris out into the streets. They have stood back to back with their neighbors in Rushford, moved out of a sincere compassion to lend a helping hand.

They have been young and old, men and women; in some cases whole football teams and offices of workers. They have been Jewish, Mormons, Buddhists, Lutherans, Baptists, Amish and others whose faith calls for charity in difficult times.

They have come not so much because someone asked them to, but because they were moved to respond out of their own sense of humanity.

Others have given money or donated food and equipment or provided a necessary service.

And the leadership on the ground has been profound. Les Ladewig, the mayor of Rushford has stood strong these last three weeks giving direction and leadership, standing next to every Rushford citizen. He has been carrying that city on his back for three weeks now.

But he isn't the only one. All of Rushford and their community of neighbors who have come to help have stood along side Ladewig these last three weeks.

Unfortunately, the only no-show has been our state government. Rushford needs their help, and they need it now. They need to call a special legislative session immediately to respond to the emergencies Minnesota has faced this summer, namely the I-35 bridge disaster and the floods in southeast Minnesota. Governor Tim Pawlenty's executive funding actions announced on Friday fall far short of what is needed.

Politicians were in Rushford again last Wednesday. Democrat Rep. Ken Tschumper talked at the high school about the legislation he will propose for Rushford. Later a House Bonding Committee delegation toured the city.

Meanwhile Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty visited City Hall and later Montini Hall. But Pawlenty needs to do more than make the rounds.

Pundits say that Pawlenty wants a deal cut with legislative leaders before he calls a special session, so that he can limit the scope of any legislation.

A woman at Montini Hall told the governor on Wednesday that a special session should be called and that legislators should volunteer their time and do it for free.

That's a good idea. Better yet, Pawlenty should convene the session in Rushford, or Stockton, or Hokah, so that every citizen will see first hand how our politicians plan to work on their behalf.

Mr. Pawlenty, it's time to act like our governor. The people of southeast Minnesota can't wait any longer for state politicians to get their ducks in a row before calling a special session. It's time to get'r done.

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