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This country has a way of taking what should be frightening situations Americans are living and turning them into feel-good stories that are shared on social media or at the end of newscasts. We see these types of stories way too often; it’s cities and towns coming together to raise money for lifesaving surgery or treatment, or people going on GoFundMe to raise money for a family who cannot pay for food. While these stories highlight the good that so many people do, we have become so sensitized to these that we rarely see the horror of how these people got in their situation and that this country refuses to take care of its people.

We are now seeing the same thing with insane voting lines all around the country. We are highlighting the resilience in voters, finding amazement in people who are waiting a half a day to cast their given right to vote. It’s utterly embarrassing that we have elected officials who find no issue with this. Absolutely no one should wait for hours to vote, nor worry about being watched at the voters booth. Every single year, states across the U.S. try to find ways to suppress voters, often in nonwhite geographies, from casting their ballot. Clear voter suppression that denied people from voting decades earlier in this country still exists, but is redone to seem like a nonissue in the 21st century. This country would be so much different, and possibly elect individuals who fight for the voiceless, if we gave the voiceless equal opportunities to vote like the rest of us.

Jack Parker, Minneapolis

THIRD DISTRICT RACE

Qualls’ campaign contradicts itself

As a lifetime resident of the Third District, I pay close attention to local politicians’ campaign promises. I visited this new Kendall Qualls’ website and read his interviews. I found major contradictions. If his big concern is the deficit, why run within a party that pushed our deficit to $1 trillion (pre-pandemic) and promises to add more? If he believes our pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area needs protection, why support an administration that hides taxpayer-funded studies and steamrolls environmental protections? If he is running to heal divisiveness, why campaign with Trump, whose entire campaign is base-instinct division? Qualls has defended Trump and when asked about his atrocious behavior by the Pioneer Press, said, “I can’t speak to that” and then explained that before 2016, “everyone wanted to hang out” with him. Even if I was the only one repulsed by Trump pre-election, where has Qualls been the last four years?

I hear he’s a nice guy. But Erik Paulsen, my previous “nice guy” representative, even repudiated Trump before his election, then consistently voted with him and failed to slow the damage to civility and the environment we watched for two terrifying years. We don’t need another politician who lets Trump behave like a child-king and only says “his style is not my style,” as Qualls did. In contrast, our incumbent, lifetime Minnesotan and problem-solver Dean Phillips has been true to his words, repeatedly held town halls and regularly voted my values. I’m voting for someone who has proven to champion civility and Third District attitudes.

Dave Paulson, Minnetonka

• • •

Regarding the Star Tribune’s editorial endorsement of Rep. Dean Phillips for the Third District (“Third District’s Dean Phillips deserves another term,” Oct. 14), do you not see the irony here? The Republican challenger is a Black man with an incredible background and firsthand knowledge of real, very relevant issues. Your column says that for the “increasingly diverse” Third District, Phillips, the DFL candidate, is the more qualified. You had the opportunity to endorse a highly qualified Black candidate — but he is a Republican. Does diversity in thought and opinion matter?

Elizabeth Willis, Wayzata

SECOND DISTRICT

Marines aren’t trained for government. Angie Craig is.

While I respect his service as a Marine, I — as a former combat Marine, father, grandfather and involved citizen — disagree with Tyler Kistner’s primary campaign message. He uses the motto “Send in the Marine” as if that is the cure-all for our country’s problems.

Our Marine Corps training did not include the skills needed to deal with the multiple crises of a melting planet, coastal fires, hurricanes, a pandemic, financial meltdown and protests over centuries of racial injustice.

Kistner says that Minnesota needs a defender in Congress. But we already have one in Rep. Angie Craig. Craig has defended Minnesotan’s access to affordable health care. Craig has defended Social Security and Medicare, and she has defended our communities from COVID-19. She has defended veterans, service members and their families by co-sponsoring bills that benefit them.

The recent Star Tribune endorsement “In Second District, Angie Craig has earned a second term” (Oct. 13) states, “In fact, on most key issues, Craig is not focused on ideology, but on problem solving. ... For now, Second District voters should proceed as if Nov. 3 is Election Day. And they can cast their ballots with confidence that Angie Craig will continue to work for them in Washington.”

In this time of crisis when Americans are more divided than ever, we need to send in the peacemakers and the consensus builders. This is why this Second District Marine will be voting to re-elect Rep. Angie Craig on Nov. 3.

Michael Orange, West St. Paul

• • •

I applaud the Star Tribune Editorial Board for highlighting Craig’s support of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). However, it got one important word wrong. HR 763 does not set a fee on fossil-fuel “use.” Rather, it charges fossil-fuel companies a fee per ton of CO2 at the point of extraction. The producers pay the fee, not the end users. The dividends are then distributed equally to every U.S. citizen.

A recent household impact study showed that, in spite of the subsequent increased costs of dirty fuel, 96% of America’s poorest households and 68% of all individuals would see a financial benefit. Fossil fuel companies, heavily subsidized with taxpayer money, have avoided paying the tragic costs of pollution and climate change. Instead, we the people pay for the droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, air and water pollution. HR 763 rights this imbalance and sets the stage for an economic boom in clean energy.

Laurel Regan, Rochester, Minn.

TRUMP’S RE-ELECTION

Honesty is nonnegotiable

Steve Wenzel has written a detailed and reasoned piece, “Why Donald Trump is the president we need” (Opinion Exchange, Oct. 13). The difficulty is that President Donald Trump does not tell the truth. For that reason alone he has disqualified himself. We cannot have a president whose behavior does not meet the standards that we as parents ask of our 10-year-olds.

Elissa Hulin Peterson, Minneapolis

• • •

Wenzel’s editorial counterpoint is most notable for what it does not address. Yes, this deeply imperfect president has had some foreign policy, defense, economic and judiciary confirmation successes. However, in one of the most telling tests of leadership — crisis — he failed. He knew, as revealed in Bob Woodward interviews, that COVID was a highly lethal airborne contagion for which there was no vaccine or cure. Doing worse than nothing, January through March he told America virus cases were headed to zero, would go away and were no worse than the flu. He told us he probably wouldn’t wear a mask instead of proudly donning one and reminding us that this is America and we look out for each other. Shunning strong federal leadership, he hid from these truths, giving the virus a three-month head start as it spread border to border, coast to coast. The result? With around 5% of the world’s population America has around 20% of all deaths and infections.

A dishonest leader forfeits moral authority. Come November we’ll remember. Trump lied. Americans died.

Charles King, Farmington

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