In endorsing Don Samuels for Congress ("Samuels over Omar in DFL primary"), the Star Tribune Editorial Board points to some laudable achievements: leading many vigils marking frequent senseless gun deaths; leading MicroGrants, helping low-income people start businesses; and co-founding what is now the Northside Achievement Zone, helping with education of low-income students. I agree, these are all wonderful, but I must point out that these are all the initiatives of a private citizen and have no overlap with the job in Congress. Neither does even his public work on the Minneapolis City Council or Minneapolis school board.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, on the other hand, has a solid record in Congress, with more than 48 bills and amendments introduced in the House, more than a thousand bills co-sponsored, 150,000 constituent letters answered, more than 60 roundtables and town halls, 1,600 constituent cases worked on, 4,000 meetings with constituents like me, and $17 million in community funding recently secured.
Just as with Omar's DFL challenger Antone Melton-Meaux two years ago, the Editorial Board endorses someone whose main impact would be to diminish the national impact of the wonderful advocate we have in Omar. It is a benefit primarily to Republicans, who would silence her, and wealthier Democrats uncomfortable with her courageous positions. The board gives Samuels well-deserved praise for his citizen actions like LightsOn! to replace car light bulbs and lessen deaths during presumptive police stops but doesn't mention any missed opportunities while he was chair of the public safety committee while on the City Council. The board praises his early childhood work with the Northside Achievement Zone, but doesn't mention his support of vouchers and privatized education or his past wish to "burn" North High.
His citizen work is admirable, and I urge him to continue it. Meanwhile, I personally endorse Omar to continue her remarkable advocacy in Washington. Her voice there cannot be replaced.
Charles Underwood, Minneapolis
Spread ranked-choice statewide
Kudos to Tom Horner for pointing out "The adverse effects of primary elections" (Opinion Exchange, July 31). The result is they promote hyper-partisanship, and totally block any aspiring candidates who are focused on issues and not the party's extreme agenda. They promote "a world in which politicians are elected on far-right/left platforms in which 'compromise' isn't just a dirty word, it's grounds for expulsion from the clubs of extremists."
It is time to change the rules. Ranked-choice voting, which is used in Minneapolis and St. Paul, would allow new fresh candidates to submit a petition with a reasonable number of signatures, pay the filing fee and let the top finishers move on to the general election. Bravo! This would allow a fresh new candidate like Stephan Quie, former Republican Gov. Al Quie's grandson, and a whole new political party that he calls the Honesty Oath Party, to be a viable candidate for a seat in the state House in northeast Minneapolis ("Another Quie runs for state office," July 31). The theme of the party is centered around the idea, according to the article, that "misinformation is rampant in modern politics and politicians should pledge to always tell the truth." How refreshing is that? I'm in. How about you?
Linda Peterson, Plymouth
The writer is a former chair of the Minnesota No Labels caucus.
Thank you to the Star Tribune for printing a thorough description of how the election system works in our state! ("'Feels like it's a whack-a-mole,'" July 31.) It was very informative and helpful. It was also well-placed in the center of a page that included some of the current attacks on the election system in Minnesota by Rick Weible, a resident of South Dakota. Weible is the founder of a group that wants to undermine elections in Minnesota by claiming that our voting system is "insecure." He lives in South Dakota! His accusations are, in my opinion, just another example of someone repeatedly using hyperbolic rhetorical rants to scare people into believing something for which there is no solid, verifiable proof! Sound familiar? Please, Minnesota, let's not mindlessly cave to another snake-oil salesman.
Kathy Robison, Edina
Whatever your political beliefs, I'd like to think most of us agree that the winner of our elections should be determined by we the people. But back in 2020, that almost didn't happen. In some places, it came down to just a few courageous election administrators who stood up to the liars and cheaters, refusing to fudge the numbers.
But while we dodged a bullet in 2020, that same anti-democratic threat still exists today. As we head toward the 2022 midterms, extremists are working to intimidate and replace nonpartisan election workers with "yes men" who might reject election results — and they could pull it off.
These lies and attacks on America's elections have led to harassment and even death threats directed at public servants — election heroes who are truly the backbone of our democracy. In a recent survey, 1 in 5 election workers said that they're likely to quit before 2024.
Fortunately, there are ways we can all help. The only way we can defeat these threats to free and fair elections is for all of us — left, right and center — to band together. Educate your friends about what's going on, send letters of support to your local election clerks and administrators. Heck, sign up to work elections yourself! We need all hands on deck, and I hope you'll join me.
Zachary Arons, Brooklyn Park
A serious, underplayed risk
Thanks to the Star Tribune for coverage of the opening of the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty ("Nuclear treaty talks open amid tension over Russia," Aug. 1). The article gets it right in saying that the purpose of the meeting is to "generate a consensus on next steps, but expectations are low."
But the article is misleading at best when it says that the five countries, including the United States, whose nuclear arsenals are treaty-recognized "agreed to negotiate toward eliminating their arsenals someday." The relevant wording in the actual treaty is not "someday," but "at an early date," and that was looking forward from 1970.
The benefits of a treaty arise not from signing on, but from participating countries doing what the treaty promises. Your readers need to understand that their country's behavior toward its nuclear disarmament obligation under this treaty has been evasion since day one.
Reduced warhead count, and that much only because the Congress knows that our diminished arsenal is still enough to wipe our adversaries off the map, is not disarmament.
We all hear a lot about the threat of climate change. We need more awareness of the threat of nuclear war, the only man-made threat that can lead to the ruin of civilization in a day.
Chuck Baynton, Cambridge, Minn.