From racinos to rights, writers express views

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to editor.forestlaketimes@ecm-inc.com. Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.

Racinos Are Proven

Minnesota’s equine industry consists of jobs of all types from horse trainer to farm equipment dealers. Our state needs racinos to compete nationally and ensure the growth of an ailing equine industry.

Sen. Roger Chamberlain can help us take that bold first step.

Sen. Chamberlain will get another chance to vote on this important bill before the end of session and members of the equine industry hope he will keep its education and job benefits in mind.

If the legislature does not pass this bill in 2012, more jobs will leave Minnesota for racino states, which offer more hospitable economic environments.

Racinos are a proven economic engine. Pennsylvania, for example, grew its equine and related industries by 42,000 jobs and increased its overall value by more than $3 billion in four years.

Sen. Chamberlain: Whether you cast your vote for the horses, education or jobs, please side with the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans who support racino.

And fans, call the senator at 651-296-1253 and let him know where you stand.

Rosemary Higgins
Princeton

EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer is executive director of Equine Development Coalition of Minnesota, PO Box 203 Princeton, MN 55371.)

To Be Clear

In response to last week’s letter titled “Deserve Better”

I agree with Mr. Combs that we deserve better but, I must say the better needs to come from Governor Dayton. As a parent of two children who attend North Branch public schools, Rep. Barrett has done more for my schools than any previous legislator.

Removing the mandate on using 2 percent of the school’s budget on staff development allowed 8-10 teachers to keep their jobs in North Branch.

The DFL left a $6.2 billion budget deficit before being booted out of office in 2010, Rep. Barrett helped turn that into a $1.2 billion surplus.

The problem with education funding is Education Minnesota. They want more and more while the more always goes to other districts like Minneapolis and St. Paul have who receive bloated per pupil funding while ignoring the real problems that contribute to poor education.

Rep. Barrett addresses this problem with HF2540. He has given suggestions to fund it. Anyone who has read this paper over the last several months can attest to that. The budget surplus comes as one example of many.

It isn’t much clearer than that.

Jason Carroll
North Branch

Ideological Divide

Mayan archeologists recently discovered the reason the once prolific Central American society crumbled. An ideological and political divide griped the nation, so when faced with a natural disaster, the government was unable to lead.

Chaos ensued and the society crumbled. The power structure collapsed having become paralyzed by competing ideologies that drove the nation over the cliff into extinction.

The Mayan story sounds a bit all too familiar. The U.S. House passes a budget they know the Senate will never approve. Then both parties blame the other. Congress does nothing while Rome burns.

The Supreme Court, the institution we believed kept our sacred trust, delivers split decisions along ideological lines. The verdict allowing unfettered money into politics against the wishes of 80 percent of Americans has reduced its popularity to less than 40 percent.

The ideological divide in our country is breath-taking in scope.

As we celebrate Easter and the life of Christ, it is difficult for me to see how this great Christian nation is living out His will. There is no “love your neighbor as yourself” in our national discourse.

One doesn’t win an election to prove they have a better idea – they do it to humiliate their opponent. While we mindlessly cheer them on like Roman citizens watching gladiators fight.

If this great Christian nation is to survive – we need a real Christian revival; one that breaks down walls and brings us back into relationship with one another.

That is my prayer for this Holy week.

Wade Vitalis
Shafer

Rights Under Attack

As Americans our First Amendment rights protecting the free exercise of religion are under attack by the Obama Administration.

On January 20, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, issued a mandate which compels all Catholic universities, hospitals, schools and charities to purchase health insurance that they regard morally objectionable because it covers sterilization and all government approved methods of birth control, some which are definitely abortifacient in nature.

The provisions of health care should not demand the giving up of “religious liberty.”

In February, President Obama announced an accommodation which is nothing more than an accounting trick. On March 1, the Blunt Amendment which would have provided for conscience protection for religious organizations was tabled indefinitely.

Sadly, our Minnesota Senators Klobuchar and Franken didn’t stand up for religious liberty. They voted down the Blunt Amendment.

This is not a Christian issue. This is an American issue.

The eroding of our First Amendment rights affects all of us.

Please take time to call, email or write your senators and let them know of your great concern over their lack of conviction in protecting our religious liberty.

Mary Stolz
Forest Lake

  • Claire Lundgren

    If you stand with 80% of Minnesotans in favor of Racinos, contact your legislator to vote “YES” in favor of a $1 billion industry, Jobs, and Education. Don’t wait for someone else to do it! It won’t happen! It MUST be done in 2012 or the horses will all go south!

  • E. Baylor

    Then let the horses go…then turn the entire track into just a casino since that is really what people want anyway. It just somehow tugs at our passive aggressive prudish nature to be OK with gambling “cuz it’s for the horses dontchaknow”

    • Claire Lundgren

      If the horses leave, the tracks will close and there will be thousands of jobs lost with them. This is not just about getting a casino but about saving a large part of the agricultural economy in Minnesota. There are currently 155,000 horses in Minnesota and they are all affected by the racing in some way. Racino will ( as based on results in racino states) double or even triple the size of the agricultural economic impact. This effort is spearheaded by the equine sector to save the industry. We don’t care how the State uses the millions it will get for no investment.

  • Patrice Underwood

    As a horse enthusiast and trail rider, I would love to see Racino Pass so there is money available for Non racing horse activities. Finding money to help build and enhance horse trails in the state would be so wonderful! So many times parks are closed, or trails within the parks are closed, because they are so heavily traveled. Or it takes hours to drive to get to an open park. Legislators, please support the horse lovers in MN by voting YES for Racino so our trails, shows, 4-H, and whole equine industry can prosper!

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