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Bulletin letters to the editor: Domestic violence, health insurance, kind stranger

Sieben, Schoen represent our interests on health insurance exchange

We are lucky in this area to have the leadership of Katie Sieben, second in command in the Minnesota Senate, and rising star Dan Schoen, in just his first of hopefully many terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

They truly represent our interests over the excessive profit motives of commercial insurance corporations who fought long and hard to be the fox in the hen house when it comes to the new Minnesota health insurance exchange. Thanks to the yes votes of Sieben and Schoen, the new exchange will have a board that is free of financial conflicts of interest. It will also have the ability to pick insurance plans for the marketplace without insurance representatives voting on which ones to allow. Finally, the exchange's $60 million operating cost will be paid for by the insurance companies that will profit off the exchange as 300,000 uninsured Minnesotans start obtaining coverage at the end of this year.

Thanks to loyal public servants like Sieben and Schoen, perhaps some fairness will begin emerging into the way we finance health care in our state, restoring Minnesota's national reputation as a model of health care reform.

Eileen Weber

Denmark Township

Thanks for covering women's dinner tab

A gracious thank you to the unidentified gentleman who picked up the dinner tab for five senior ladies at Park Café in St. Paul Park on March 16. How generous of you!

Jackie Zenner and others

St. Paul Park

Forum sought to help domestic violence victims

Thank you to the people who came to our recent event in Cottage Grove on March 18 at Park High School. The topic was domestic violence. Although it's often a tough issue to have a conversation about, there were about 80 people who came together and did just that -- we talked and listened.

First, we watched a documentary called "Telling Amy's Story." The film was about a case of domestic violence that ended with the woman, Amy, being killed by her husband. Amy left behind two little children. The film talked about how, in hindsight, there were so many signs that this was a potentially deadly relationship.

Next, we heard from two experts in the field. From our own Cottage Grove Police Department, detective Sgt. Randy McAlister talked about how law enforcement handles these cases now and the tools they use to help assess how dangerous a situation may be. We also heard from Courtney Zuber, a legal advocate with Tubman, who talked about things like some of the warning signs of violence, protective orders and resources available for those in the situation. It was very helpful information from these two.

Lastly, we featured a survivors panel. I moderated it and participated in it as well. There were four other very brave ladies who too had experienced domestic violence. Thankfully, all five of us are no longer in those situations, but we certainly know how hard it is sometimes to get out of that harmful relationship. That is why we were compelled to talk about our own stories in a public forum like this. We felt that if we can talk about it publicly, then maybe there was another woman or two out there who was struggling with feeling all right about talking about it and reaching out for help to get to a safer place in life.

Special thanks to Sgt. McAlister; Courtney Zuber; panel members Amy Christiansen, Kathy Bestul Braun, Jodi Rohr and Robbin Kadera; the city of Cottage Grove, its police, the Cottage Grove Crime Prevention Board and the Cottage Grove Human Services/Human Rights Commission; Tubman; the Minnesota Battered Women's Coalition; Park High School; South Washington County Telecommunications Commission; and the Bulletin.

Jen Peterson

Domestic violence survivor and Cottage Grove City

Council member