By Roman Witucki, Guest Columnist
During the last campaign, Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, said over and over how he’d work across the aisle if he was elected. He also said a legislator needed to “put on his big-boy pants.” Big boys take responsibility for their own actions.
Last week, Kresha wrote a guest editorial in which he was already blaming Ag Committee Chair, Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis, for things that haven’t even happened yet. He went on to describe how instead of working across the aisle, he and fellow Republicans voted to try to change the ag committee structure. This was a 100 percent Republican vote. So much for working across the aisle.
Kresha said he had “deep concerns” about Chair Wagenius, and claims that she “has a record of voting for policies that disproportionately favor Metro cities and suburbs over Greater Minnesota.” The session is only in its first week, and it sounds like he’s already trying to come up with someone else to blame when he doesn’t get what we need here.
It’s too bad that Kresha blindly followed his Republican caucus in attacking Rep. Wagenius. If he’d done his homework, he’d have found out that during the 2007-2010 period, Rep. Wagenius chaired the Environmental Finance Committee. In that role, she was instrumental in helping establish our Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail, and she assisted in getting additional funding for the Pine Grove Zoo. She did that because she listened to our local legislator and understood our local needs.
That’s a lesson Kresha should learn quickly if he expects to help our district. The system may not be perfect, but it’s what we have, and he’ll need to stop blaming others and work within that system.
Last session, the Republican majority pushed through huge property tax increases on farms and rural property instead of raising taxes on the wealthiest. Those rural tax increases were much higher in rural areas than in the metro. Our local Republicans, Rep.Mike LeMieur, R-Little Falls, and Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Cass County, voted for rural tax increases.
Representative Wagenius voted for rural Minnesota, against those increases. Who was really looking out for rural Minnesota?
Rural Minnesota will always remain a minority in the legislature. Rural Minnesota’s voice and influence is up to the wisdom, the respect and the work of those who represent us.
If Rep. Kresha is serious about representing this area, it’s time for him to stop blaming others, and get to work on issues we care about. Part of doing that job right is to accept responsibility for what he can or cannot get accomplished, and not blindly join in on partisan publicity stunts.
Roman Witucki is a resident of Little Falls and is the Morrison County DFL chair.