Letter: Schoen did as he was elected to do
I recently read a viewpoint piece from Matt Kowalski, who stated he thinks state Rep. Dan Schoen needs to be “held accountable.” However, I noticed he had a number of his facts wrong.
First, the Democrat-controlled Legislature voted to give day care providers the right to form a union should they choose to, not to force them into one. Second, the legislative majority voted to use a mixture of tax increases and spending cuts to structurally balance the budget. The two major taxes were the cigarette tax, and the income tax on the wealthiest Minnesotans that was supported by a vast majority of Minnesotans. Finally, the majority of the new spending went into public education, which had bipartisan support including that of Republican state Rep. Denny McNamara, as payback of the very ugly “school shift” funding fiasco.
In just two years the DFL- led Legislature has paid back every dime of the school shift, while also increasing funding for K-12 education and providing state-funded, all-day kindergarten for every child in Minnesota.
Schoen did everything he was elected to do. He worked to find common ground with Republicans numerous times to create good legislative policies and came out with 10 bills signed into law, with many featuring Republican co-sponsors. He also was widely praised for his effort to get guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, which got strong bipartisan support and came out of, in part, a local incident in 2012 where a domestic abuser killed his estranged wife and then turned the gun on himself.
As for Kowalski, he states he would put his Tea Party beliefs over the principles of compromise and finding common ground, no matter what the issue. Kowalski essentially would be an ideologue more interested in political grandstanding than working on sound legislative policy.
Schoen has been an outstanding, bipartisan legislator by any reasonable measure. Perhaps it is Kowalski and his Tea Party Republican friends who need to be held accountable for their irrational, uneducated and over-the-top ideology instead.
William Labovitch is outreach director of Senate District 54 DFL