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Candidate's View: Political realignment needed to put the people first

Paula Overby.jpg
Paula Overby
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Minnesotans want to be proud of America’s role in the global community. As the most powerful nation on the planet, we should be leading causes of humanity, addressing climate change, promoting nuclear disarmament, and fostering global diplomacy. Instead we are experiencing a vast inequality of wealth in America, a vulnerable economy, a climate crisis, the militarization of our police, and a lack of resilience in our health care systems — all of which have been exasperated by the coronavirus pandemic.

These negative consequences are the result of our current political process and the extreme polarizing nature of our current leaders. To ensure a successful path forward, we need a political realignment to put the well-being of the people first.

Social transformations are often accompanied by major strife. I sense a war going on in America right now. Do you? Our major parties have drawn the battle lines of wealth and power that constantly deny millions of Americans access to basic health care, livable wages, affordable housing, and even basic human dignity. The 99% are losing in that war, and that’s not acceptable.

It is time for America to bend its sword into plowshares. It is time to prioritize the health and prosperity of citizens today ahead of partisan politics and election cycles. We need party leaders who show by their actions, not just their words, that they prioritize the well-being of all citizens. No more catering to the well-to-do. I have been championing citizen well-being most of my adult life, and I intend to continue doing so as Minnesota’s next U.S. senator.

The coronavirus has illuminated the vulnerabilities that exist in our everyday lives. It also has illuminated the shortcoming of our electoral process when the progressive voice of change was quickly silenced during the Democratic endorsement for president. I oppose the trend of DFL Party leaders moving away from progressive values.

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I am proud of my record working across party lines to earn support from both independents and DFLers. My policy positions are popular with those who seek a more progressive movement.

For 100 years, the League of Women Voters has aspired to a more meaningful and interactive political process. This worthy goal is something I too strive for as a member of the league for the past three years.

The league believes in voter participation and an informed electorate. But currently, citizen participation is being suppressed as public hearings, open forums, and meaningful debates are disappearing before our eyes. These valuable opportunities for public engagement are being replaced by misleading and deceptive marketing campaigns. Emotional rhetoric fills the halls of Congress where there ought to be rigorous debate. Perhaps you are concerned about that. I am. I definitely want to make citizen participation count again.

Elections are our chance to select leaders who will stand up for what matters to most of us. It is vital to our democracy that voters know where all candidates running for office stand on issues. Otherwise, how can people vote for the candidate who represents their values? To help in this regard, the League of Women Voters prepared an online voter guide to provide a glimpse of where candidates stand. You will see that several of my fellow candidates, including our current Sen. Tina Smith, opted out of participating. Perhaps Sen. Smith would rather you learn about her from an organization which prioritizes the well-to-do and corporate interests ahead of everyday citizens.

I ask for your vote on Aug. 11 and thank you for your support.

Paula Overby of Eagan, Minnesota, is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the Aug. 11 primary. There are five Republican and five Democrat candidates for the seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Tina Smith. They were all invited by the News Tribune Opinion page to submit a commentary. Their “Candidate’s View” columns are being published this month.

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