By Rep. Ron Kresha, Guest Colunmist
My primary responsibility as your representative is to craft and debate policy that advances our district’s economic growth, educational opportunities, and quality of life in rural Minnesota. I touch on these issues daily in the committees that I serve: Agriculture Policy, Education Policy, and State Government and Veterans Affairs.
There is not a day that goes by that I am not honored to serve, but I have noticed a disturbing pattern in the recent policy creation. The tone of St. Paul policy has become more punitive rather than providing a framework for success.
Agriculture is a key industry to District 9B and the farming lifestyle has provided for many, many families in our area. Farmers are stewards of the land and the resources they manage. However, the recent policy coming from the Environment Finance committee continues to fine first and ask questions later.
Water appropriations are a big deal to our farmers, and I continually am advocating that policy must help our farmers be successful and not punish them for trying to manage the ever-complex punitive policies coming from St. Paul. I have worked with too many dairy farmers this year who are fighting the Minnesota Department of Agriculture inspectors who are intent on fining rather than helping. We need to look for ways to help make our farmers’ lives easier — not more difficult and expensive.
Education is key for our future generations, and we are fortunate to have excellent school boards, administrators, and teachers in our area. Yet, St. Paul liberals are pushing hard for a state-wide anti-bullying bill that is punitive first and proactive second.
As required by state law, all of our schools have local policies and procedures designed to provide a safe learning environment. Instead of pushing legislation on our local schools that creates additional unfunded burdens, why don’t we work with them and continue to be involved with our schools to provide a successful climate? Our school employees are professionals, it is time we treat them as such.
Our veterans have been asked to do the job that most of us would not do. They sacrifice their family time, personal gain, and dedicate their lives to our country. Yet too often, I have to debate policy that looks to reduce military pensions or the St. Paul liberals won’t consider exempting military pensions from Minnesota income tax. When did we lose our sense of respect and duty? When did we lose the “Minnesota Nice” that was a staple of our state?
You can count on me to continue fighting for our shared common-sense, “Minnesota nice” values.
Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, represents House District 9B. He can be reached at (651) 296-4247 or at Ron.Kresha@house.mn.