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Bulletin letter to the editor: Setting record straight on Rep. Franke’s bill

As a 25-year veteran and Minnesota House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman, I’m always looking for ways to help our veterans and ease their transition back into civilian life. One of my colleagues, Rep. Keith Franke, is new to my committee but already hitting the ground running.

In a recent letter to the editor (“Franke should be straight about his tax credit bill,” Feb. 8), the author attempts to impugn Franke, saying he is not the true author of his veterans bill, HF270. Instead of making assumptions tainted by one’s own political biases, I think it’s important to know the truth.

Franke came to me and expressed how, as a small business owner, he’d like to see incentives for other businesses to hire military veterans. It’s that simple. Franke was passionate about this issue, and I was more than happy when he chose to draft a similar (not identical) proposal to one that I, and others, had authored in the past.

Franke went above and beyond in doing additional research after the bill was drafted, and offered an amendment that shifted its focus on getting jobs to veterans who are unemployed and disabled, and cut the fiscal impact of this legislation in half.

Franke took initiative on this bill, and he is doing the legwork to get it passed. There is no "idea theft" here, and regardless, it shows a lack of understanding about the legislative process to suggest that coming up with an idea is the hard part. Bills often take years to actually pass, which means countless hours of work by their authors to shepherd them through the process. And this process starts over every two years. Franke is fully aware of this and has still chosen to take on this job for our veterans with his bill.

Though I’ve only worked with Franke for a short time, I see a deep passion for listening to his constituents and a drive to work tirelessly for his district. He’s reaching across party lines and getting things done. Don’t be fooled by cheap political attacks; Franke is working for you.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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