Opinions

Wed
30
Jan
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Should Election Day Be A Federal Holiday?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

There is a national movement to make Election Day in America a national holiday. It isn’t a new movement, but it is getting new attention today. It has been proposed in Congress at least three previous times - 2001, 2002 and 2005 – with nothing coming of it.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, is changing that. She is the young woman who defeated long-time, powerful incumbent Democrat Rep. Joseph Crowley in a primary election last year and went on to win a seat in Congress. She supports making Election Day and taking away Columbus Day so as not to increase the number of federal holidays on the books.

Tue
22
Jan
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Consequential Decision Before County Board

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners is about to make a historic decision that will have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts on everything from our tax bills, to the aesthetic beauty of the historic courthouse, to future operational costs for law enforcement, to the potential economic future of the City of Benson.

Commissioners plan on voting at their Feb. 5 meeting on whether or not to construct a $17.475 million justice center that will house the Swift County Sheriff’s Office and jail operations; 6W Community Corrections; Swift County Human Services; the Swift County Attorney’s Office; and Restorative Practices.

Of that total, $11.94 million is for a justice center and $5.925 million for the human services operation. Another $390,000 represents the cost of issuing the bonds. With interest charges over the life of the bonds, however, the price is closer to $30 million.

Wed
16
Jan
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Pass A Hands-Free Cell Phone Law

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

It isn’t easy finding legislation on which Democrats and Republicans agree without intense public bickering and private negotiating leading to an agreement in the last minutes of a Minnesota legislative session. However, we might be seeing bipartisan agreement develop on a bill that is essential to public safety early in the current session.

A Republican state senator has already introduced a bill to address distracted driving with the requirement for hands-free-only cell phone use. A Democratic Minnesota House member is planning on introducing similar legislation in the coming week.

Wed
09
Jan
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Can Governor Walz Deliver For Rural Minnesota?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

With his swearing in as Minnesota’s new governor Monday, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Tim Walz became the state’s first rural governor since Rudy Perpich left office in 1991. Perpich was from Hibbing. Walz grew up in a small town in Nebraska and eventually settled in Mankato, teaching high school history classes.

He served 12 years in the U.S. House representing southern Minnesota, a district much like western Minnesota with its strong ties to agriculture, small towns, struggles with declining population and declining school enrollment, and fading main streets.

Walz has promised that those rural roots will drive his goals as he serves as the leader of the state’s executive branch of government. However, he will have to deal with a divided state Capitol, building compromises to achieve his goals.

Wed
02
Jan
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Capitalizing On Our Opportunities

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In many ways, 2018 was a good year despite what could have otherwise been seen as a year of loss and decline for the community.

We lost Benson Power, once known as Fibrominn, with its 45 full-time jobs and support for perhaps another 100 jobs in the area, its $8 to $10 million economic impact, and its $765,142 in local taxes paid to Benson, Swift County, and Benson Public Schools.

We saw our school continue to struggle against the impact of declining enrollment on its ability to provide all the classes and facilities our children deserve.

We saw the farm economy continue to struggle as low commodity prices persist and we saw its ripple effect on main street.

Wed
26
Dec
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Border Security Is Far More Than A Wall

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Most readers of this column will undoubtedly have seen the television commercials and stories about how Amazon could one day use drones to deliver packages right to your door wherever you live in America. Drones flying down the block dropping off packages and then zipping back to their base to pick up another, we are told, are coming in the not-too-distant future.

Tue
18
Dec
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Social Media, Russians Undermine First Amendment

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

This past Saturday was the birthday of the signing of the Bill of Rights. Among the 10 amendments included in the bill was the First Amendment, which guarantees our fundamental rights of freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition our government, and freedom of speech. It was signed by the nation’s founders Dec. 15, 1791.

It is considered one of the greatest foundational documents ever written to shape a democracy responsive to the citizens who elect those who govern. It gives us the power to hold our leaders accountable and voice our thoughts whether those in power like them or not.

But while The First Amendment is one of our founder’s greatest achievements it has now been shown also to be one of our greatest weaknesses.

Tue
11
Dec
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Splitting From Republicans A Risk For Miller

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

For the first time since he started serving in the Minnesota House in January 2016, Republican District 17A Rep. Tim Miller is going to be in the minority party – and by choice, a minority of the minority.

Democrats regained the majority in November when they took 18 seats previously held by Republicans to gain a 75-59 advantage.

District 17A includes all of Swift and Chippewa counties, all but two townships in Renville County, and the four southern Kandiyohi townships of Edwards, Holland, Roseland and Lake Lillian.

With that control, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party now sets the agenda for bills in the House. New House Speaker Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park controls who serves on what committee and whom the chairs and subcommittee chairs will be starting in a few weeks.

Tue
04
Dec
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A Good Economy Doesn’t Mean A Healthy America

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Conservative columnist for the New York Times David Brooks made a few observations this past week about how strong the U.S. economy is today with all the signs pointing to a nation that should be feeling pretty good about itself.

Yet something is missing. American’s aren’t feeling better; they’re feeling worse.

Gross domestic product, a measure of a nation’s economic strength, is growing at near 3.5 percent creating one of the best economies in many people’s lifetimes, he points out. Our economy has been on a steady upward climb since the crash of 2007-08 and is enjoying the second longest recovery on record.

Wed
28
Nov
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Rural America Out Of Step With Its Future

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Rural America has an image problem.

It’s a growing problem that could stand in the way of exactly what we need to turn around our dwindling population and struggle to maintain our workforce

We are growing older and more conservative just when we are in desperate need of attracting young people of the millennial generation to our communities who are more open-minded, more diverse, and more tolerant of those who aren’t like them.

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