News Tribune Editorial Board
In May, the Duluth City Council approved a sick-and-safe-time ordinance without having any idea whatsoever how much it might cost taxpayers. Worse, as Mayor Emily Larson revealed in an interview this week with the News Tribune Editorial Board, no city councilor even asked her or her administration about potential costs. "That did not happen," Larson said.
Like we do after most elections, voters in Duluth and across Minnesota can give ourselves a big ol' pat on the back. Nearly 2.6 million of us statewide went to the polls Tuesday, achieving a nearly 64 percent voter turnout. It was the highest percentage of voters for a midterm in Minnesota in 16 years. More impressively, it was the most voters ever for a midterm in the history of a state that long has been bragging, and for good reason, about its high level of civic engagement.
Ah, gridlock, glorious gridlock. The political pendulum swung with another Election Day, and on Tuesday, checks on single-party power were the big winners in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. Balance found a stronger place in the halls of our capitols.
Now comes the hard part. As much as we maybe don't want to, after weeks and months of divisive politics and down-in-the-mud campaigning, we need to find a way to come back together anyway, to start thinking again of our shared well-being rather than our red- and blue-tainted divides. For the good of all Duluthians, all Minnesotans, and all Americans — and of every political stripe or of no bent whatsoever — we need to get back to working together for the good of us all.
We made it. Election Day. Finally. The vile attacks, the filthy accusations of those intentionally dishonest, the misrepresentations, the ugliness — so much ugliness and for so many weeks and months this election season — are over. At last, it's decisions time. Our turn. On our own, each of us, in private at our polling places with a ballot in one hand and a ballpoint pen in the other, will fill in those little eggs and determine our next elected representatives.
FOR MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: TIM WALZ, DFL-MANKATO Walz promises to be a leader who can mediate and relate across party lines. He was a command sergeant major and a member of the Minnesota National Guard for 24 years, a congressman and the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress, and a onetime high school geography and government teacher and basketball and football coach. FOR U.S. SENATE: AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-MINNEAPOLIS
Why do we do it? Why do newspapers endorse candidates for public office? It's because newspapers' opinion pages exist to help lead and provide a forum for the responsible, civil public dialogues our communities need to be having and must be having in order to prosper and to find solutions to shared problems. From many ideas come the best ideas. During election seasons, those conversations can be about candidates and races and issues. The discussions can help voters pick the elected officials who promise to be most effective.
She was on the front line when polarization hit perhaps its lowest point: during the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. But U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar — despite the political pit that Washington, D.C. can be, and in spite of the many cries for "resistance" from her Democratic colleagues — not only has persevered; she has found success. She has continued to go to work for Minnesota and for our nation, reinforcing her already-stellar reputation for bipartisanship and productivity.
Spend some time with the major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate seat vacated when Al Franken resigned, and this quickly becomes clear: Both Republican Karin Housley and Democrat Tina Smith promise to be strong, well-informed advocates for the issues that matter most to the Northland and to the state of Minnesota. And both have experiences and qualifications for any voter confident in his or her choice at the ballot box on Election Day, Nov. 6.
Few voters want to go to their polling places on Election Day to cast ballots they know will harm students and the future of our community, that would take funding away from already-struggling public education. So voters in the Duluth school district on Nov. 6 can resist any temptation to vote against the first of three levy referendum questions on their ballots. The first question is simply to renew or reauthorize a retiring levy that voters decided in 2013 was needed and was a good idea. No new or additional taxation would result from voting "yes" on the first question.