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Actions reveal priorities in St. Paul

Friday, December 13, 2019

By Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston

I realize that we can walk, legislate and chew gum at the same time. But how we act, what we say and how we spend our time tends to reveal our priorities.

What we have seen is that Democrats in St. Paul have been eerily quiet on numerous urgent issues impacting people across Minnesota. They have failed to provide swift and appropriate actions on DHS failures. They have failed to ensure workers and public safety officials won’t be threatened on the job during a pipeline replacement project in Northern Minnesota. And they have sat on their hands over a highly questionable U of M hiring decision.

Meantime, Senate Democrats and the governor have both recently held press conferences to address climate issues. As a backdrop to this, let’s remember Minnesotans used to enjoy some of our country’s lowest energy prices. But, thanks to Democrat policies, our energy costs are now above the national average and could get even more expensive as they continue heaping expensive tax increases, fees, requirements and policies on people in our state.

While Democrats have been busy finding ways to make our energy less affordable, problems continue mounting at DHS, which is our state’s largest agency. There has been an endless string of stories portraying waste, fraud and abuse, along with mismanagement, failed leadership and a culture of retaliation and fear at the agency.

We just learned a DHS data issue will cost Minnesota another $76 million in federal funding — on top of the $106 million in payment errors previously identified. And DHS is billing counties to cover for its own mis-payments for chemical dependency programs. While each county’s taxpayers are impacted to a different degree, DHS is putting the folks in Hennepin County on the hook for $2.1 million.

Why won’t Democrats publicly demand answers for what is wrong with our state’s largest agency … and to lay out their ideas to fix it?

The Democrats also were mum when radical activists recently disrupted workers from conducting normal business at the Clearbrook pipeline terminal, causing a law enforcement response on an icy morning when our officers could have been needed elsewhere.

Why aren’t the Democrats publicly condemning these extremists while ensuring pipeline workers and public safety officials won’t be threatened on the job as the Line 3 replacement project continues?

Then there is this week’s news from Dinkytown, where the U of M is looking to hire a provost for $500,000 per year salary plus benefits. This news coincides with the University of Minnesota-Duluth recently announcing budget cuts and layoffs, along with rising tuition costs at the University. On top of that, the candidate under consideration (for $500K + benefits/year) has never served previously as a provost … and would be paid more than the outgoing executive vice president and provost, who has been in the role for nearly a decade.

Why aren’t the Democrats condemning this state institution for grossly overpaying staff while making cuts and raising tuition?

Let’s start showing some real leadership by focusing on what Minnesota’s taxpayers care about and deserve instead of taking our cues from teen-age extremists halfway across the globe.

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