I've seen several letters that question Don Samuels, saying that all the people who endorse him are former officeholders and that we need someone from today.
I support Samuels precisely because he represents the ethic of a former political age, when being "effective" meant that you worked collaboratively with colleagues to tangibly improve people's lives ("Samuels over Omar in DFL primary," Editorial Board endorsement, Aug. 2). As a volunteer on his campaign, I have seen firsthand the outpouring of support he's received from the moment he announced. The underlying feeling is gratitude: "Thank you, Don, for stepping up. We need new leadership."
We are exhausted by the politics of "today": the absurd public antics, the lies, the scandals, the performative votes and statements that antagonize whole communities, where "effective" means getting lots of Twitter likes. Our district has many needs that are growing more acute, while U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar fills her campaign website with empty boasts.
Samuels knows how to use an elected office to serve, which is why former officeholders, who also have served, support him over Omar. It is why current officeholders who want to reset today's course support him as well. He is endorsed by a long list of former DFL leaders, and the list would include current DFL leaders if they were free to say so publicly. We hear it privately.
We need to restore the ethic that holding office means serving the community. Samuels can lead the way because he's been there before. On Aug. 9 we can reset course.
Jessica Shaten, Minneapolis
Omar is a flawed progressive being challenged in next week's primary by Don Samuels, a flawed conservative. Much of Samuel's funding comes from moderate Democrats who believe that electoral success comes from being not too progressive. Forces of fascism are gathering on the other side, and these moderates wrongly believe that clinging to the status quo is our best defense. This is foolish.
Fascism is fueled by inequity. Most Donald Trump supporters are not stupid; they're angry. They may be misreading the source of their declining economic prospects, but Democrats cannot address their anger without addressing the enormous imbalance in the American economy. Progressive taxation, strong labor laws, a robust safety net, including health care and a government clearly promoting the public good, are the only remedies for this inequity.
Oligarchs use fascist tools of scapegoating and misinformation to defend their status. Inequity creates fertile ground for these methods. Inequity is the enemy of democracy, and it must change if we want democracy to survive.
Tim Mungavan, Minneapolis
Activists and legislators play important, but very different, roles in the process of democracy. Running for her third term, Omar has yet to demonstrate that she understands the difference. Activists push and prod the process from the outside and advocate for ideal solutions. When you win an election and take your seat in Congress, the voters put you on the inside. That's where legislators must collaborate and compromise to achieve solutions, which most often are less than ideal, yet make meaningful and significant progress. You can be confident that Omar will keep her promise to continue putting her "body on the line" with other activists in protests for progressive causes on the outside. But if you want to be represented inside Congress by a progressive legislator who legislates to achieve real results, rather than an activist who agitates to make a point, you have a clear choice: Samuels.
David Aquilina, Richfield
I found myself taking serious issue with several of Samuels' statements in his July 22 commentary ("Don Samuels: I offer a new direction," Opinion Exchange). However, his statement that "Omar and I have much in common. We are both immigrants" cannot go unchallenged. Samuels mistakenly equates his experience — "I emigrated to the United States to pursue a college education and a career" — with Omar's experience of fleeing civil war in Somalia with her family at 8 years old and living in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years before coming to the United States as a refugee.
A quick Google search of "What's the difference between an immigrant and a refugee?" on my phone brought up Britannica's website (britannica.com), which states, "Simply speaking, a migrant is someone who chooses to move, and a refugee is someone who has been forced from their home." Being an immigrant and being a refugee are two vastly different realities and experiences that often have very little in common. I hope that Samuels and each of us will do our own Google search to become more aware of this critical distinction. I also hope that Samuels will consider offering an apology to Omar for this mistake.
Beth Rademacher, Minneapolis
EIGHTH DISTRICT RACE
Replace Rep. Pete Stauber
U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber proclaims that he is protecting "our way of life."
He has cast so many "no" votes over his tenure that are completely out of whack with the people I know and respect in the Eighth District. His votes have irrevocably proven that he has no interest in protecting the rights of the people in the district.
He voted no on protecting access to birth control. He voted no to investigating domestic terrorism infiltration in our military and police. He voted no on gun safety laws. He voted no on the right of citizens to marry the people they love. He voted no on taxing out-of-control gas and oil companies as they gouge the very people he represents. He voted no on the infrastructure bill; he voted no on protecting workers' rights. (Let us not forget that he signed on to the lawsuit attempting to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.)
Thankfully we have an incredible person running in the Aug. 9 primary to take on Stauber and his dystopian view of the world: Jen Schultz. Current state Rep. Schultz understands that our very democracy and personal rights are under attack by Stauber.
Jen is a person of incredible integrity and intelligence. She is an extremely effective legislator from Duluth who knows how to work with all to pass legislation, is a fierce advocate and has an extraordinary work ethic.
She will be an amazing congresswoman.
Mary Theurer, Prior Lake
An outrageous imposition
To Mr. George Badeaux ("Morning-after pill denied; suit follows," Aug. 1): Christianity has from its beginning required its adherents to make sacrifices for their beliefs. This includes the ultimate sacrifice of one's own life. Requiring a woman who does not share your beliefs to make a sacrifice for your beliefs is the most un-Christian act I can imagine. Try spending a little less time making others suffer for your beliefs and a little more time reading your Bible.
Craig Wood, Apple Valley
I have legally been an adult for less than a year, but already I am starting to learn things about the adult world. Today I learned that women cannot rely on pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. Moving forward, I will take this outrageous reality into consideration.
Samuel West Robertson, St. Paul