Herald Journal Columns
April 15, 2002 Herald and Journal
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Howard Lake gets short straw in redistricting


With the new state representative and senator districts that were announced recently, you'd have to look long and hard to find another community that got a worse deal than Howard Lake.

The whole point of redistricting, of course, is to divide up the state into relatively equal pieces of population, according to the most recent census.

This meant some shifts in boundaries, and also that current legislators found themselves with different constituents to serve.

For Howard Lake, it means losing Tony Kielkucki as state representative and replacing him with Bob Ness.

That's like trading Paul Revere for Benedict Arnold.

I go back to the legislative session of 2000.

After a lengthy, bitter process in conference committee that year, the legislature gave us what was arguably the worst education bill in Minnesota's history.

Without going into painful detail, the final law was full of deceptive language that encourages the federal government's takeover of public education.

Remember the Tenth Amendemnt? It says: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

This would include education. Considering that, a federal department of education shouldn't even exist.

Yet despite that, the federal government is steadfastly developing a socialistic system which "trains" students to work in pre-assigned jobs.

This is in total contrast to how America was built ­ by educating people as much as possible so they can become whatever they want, limited only by their own motivation.

Ness was in a position on the conference committee to stop this disaster. He sold us out.

I have an e-mail from Ness from early in the 2000 session in which he stated he "supports repeal of the Profile (of Learning)."

But when it came down to it, he voted against giving our children a good education.

A piece of wise political advice is: "Don't listen to what they say. Watch how they vote."

That certainly rings true in this case.

Since Ness is a former superintendent, I thought he would know better. His vote proves otherwise.

Renee Doyle, president of Maple River Education Coalition, the leading education watchdog organization in Minnesota, wrote:

"I personally spent a great deal of time with Rep. Ness who made it quite clear that he supports state-run education, federal mandates, and parents being held accountable to the system.

"I found Rep. Ness to be deaf to the concerns of parents and his constituents who were pleading for him to eliminate the Profile . . ."

So you see what we're getting?

This being an election year, it means we have a chance to get rid of people like Ness in the legislature, and since we have him in our district, now we can even vote against him.

But we need a strong candidate with traditional values to step up and run against him.

If you fit the bill, we need you now more than ever.

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