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Primary Candidate's View: DFL political machine is destroying Duluth

From the column: "I was on the Duluth School Board for eight years, and what an eye-opener that was."

Art Johnston.jpg
Art Johnston
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I'm a Walk-Away Democrat. I’ll explain why.

For years I was active in the local DFL, but the ugliness of it finally became too much to bear. Either you became a True Believer or they went after you. My excommunication from them was welcome. We can shake our head about national politics, but the way politics work in Duluth, and its character-assassination modus operandi, has been the precursor to the worst of what we now see nationally.

From the column: "I respect the limits that constitutions place upon the Legislature."

Let's talk about where the DFL political machine running Duluth and Minnesota has gotten us.

Two years ago, America was energy independent and actually exported energy. No more, thanks to the DFL war on energy. For ideological reasons, the DFL and national Democrats have killed the Keystone XL pipeline and tried to stop Line 3. This is stopping affordable, efficient energy flowing in our country, stunting our standard of living, making energy too unaffordable to those who need it most, and curtailing well-paying local employment. The DFL has declared war on coal, decreasing railroad tonnage to the Twin Ports and causing port shipments to drop to their lowest level in years. This, of course, increases electric rates and lowers employment opportunities.

But too many DFLers aren't content with curtailing energy. They have killed the Twin Metals mine and would like to kill PolyMet. Steel and our precious metals to sustain our lifestyles are plentiful in our backyard but are imported instead from dictatorial countries without adequate environmental protections.

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Has any of this helped you? What have you gotten from these DFL policies?

Hyperinflation is the worst our country has seen for 50 years. And we now have a political machine that begs, like panhandlers on our street corners, to have nasty foreign countries give us energy and materials.

The DFL no longer represents working people. Our local DFL politicians are the keynote speakers at Sierra Club gatherings where elite ideological purity and anti-science prevails, and the pain that they are causing working-class people is ignored and even lauded.

The DFL in Duluth is also imbedded by the Democratic Socialists, who can be anti-Semitic and who blame the U.S. for Russian President Vladimir Putin's genocide in Ukraine. It is time we kick the Sierra Club and the socialist carpetbaggers out of our community.

I was on the Duluth School Board for eight years, and what an eye-opener that was. And the pandemic policies of the DFL showed more parents and taxpayers what an increasing disaster our schools have become. COVID relief and taxpayer money flowed into our schools, but with what results? The numbers of graduates from Duluth schools are among all-time lows, and academic proficiency and graduation rates have gotten even lower for our students of color. Gender junk and racism is replacing academics and excellence. It is time we say “no!” to obsolete, self-serving, bloated education bureaucracies that aren't doing their jobs. Our schools receive $15,000 of taxpayer money for each student, whether or not they are educating them. If you have three children or grandchildren, you should be able to take that $45,000 to educate your own children.

Last but not least, the anti-police policies of too many DFLers have accompanied increased crime. And this has contributed to the fentanyl pandemic in our town, homelessness, and mental illness.

You can see why I'm a Walk-Away Democrat. I welcome you to join me.

Art Johnston of Duluth wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.

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ABOUT THIS PRIMARY: In the Aug. 9 primary election, Republicans Art Johnston and Allan Kehr are vying for the chance to run against incumbent DFL Rep. Liz Olson in Minnesota House District 8A. The district covers central and western Duluth. The general election is Nov. 8. Early voting for the primary begins Friday, June 24.

What to read next
From the column: "A broad range of efforts and events are underway in the Northland right now to foster a more welcoming culture."
From the column: "A starting point is recognizing that racism does exist in law enforcement — not surprisingly, since it is embedded in many institutions in Duluth and elsewhere."
ABOUT THIS PRIMARY: In Minnesota Senate District 11 — which stretches from about Cloquet in the north to about Rush City in the south — DFLers Michelle Boyechko of Tamarack and John A. Peura of Moose Lake will meet in the primary on Aug. 9. Early voting has already begun. The winner will advance to challenge Republican incumbent Sen. Jason Rarick of Brook Park on Election Day on Nov. 8.
ABOUT THIS PRIMARY: In Minnesota Senate District 11 — which stretches from about Cloquet in the north to about Rush City in the south — DFLers Michelle Boyechko of Tamarack and John A. Peura of Moose Lake will meet in the primary on Aug. 9. Early voting has already begun. The winner will advance to challenge Republican incumbent Sen. Jason Rarick of Brook Park on Election Day on Nov. 8.