Winona speaks up: Letters to the editor for the week of Oct. 16, 2020 | Native

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Calling on Congress to support the travel industry

As a travel agency owner for the last 13 years, I can tell you that we have survived much. Commission cuts, 9/11, even a recession. I can honestly say we not only survived, we persevered. Clients rely on us for our knowledge and expertise. My agency actually made a profit each year.

This pandemic however has been one our agency may not be able to survive without your support. We are now in our seventh month of little to almost no business. With little open to travel to for so many months, and the fear the media has put into everyone, everyone is afraid to start the process of travel again. We started our loss earlier than most other business’s as well. In February when the virus was first talked about, we started to have cancellations. When a client cancels, we are not paid a commission by our tour operator suppliers. So, we have done the work, the research and put in all the time required to book our clients, only to receive nothing, or to have to give what we did receive. We are down 87% from over the last few years. We have had to lay off staff.

Of all of the “bailout’s” the government has done in the past, I ask that it’s time you work with travel agents. We are not a thing of the past, and my past tax records will prove this.

Every business in the country has been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. But few sectors have been as hard hit, or face a longer road to recovery, than the travel agency industry. According to the American Society of Travel Advisors, 64% of travel agencies in the U.S. have laid off at least half of their staff—even with the federal relief programs provided by the CARES Act in March. What’s more, over 70% will go out of business within the next six months without additional federal relief.

My message to our elected officials on behalf of the 140,000 people who work at travel agencies across the country is simple—Get back to work and support the small businesses who desperately need your help. Doing nothing is not an option. The future of our country depends on it!

Miller’s vote showed ‘cowardice, not leadership’

This summer, Winona became the fifth Minnesota city to ban conversion “therapy.” The decision to work at the community level was intentional to movement building—a critical mass of Minnesota cities will force change at a statewide level—but it was not where we had started. In May 2019, Sen. Jeremy Miller met with us to discuss a state-wide ban.

That same month, Miller voted down a ban on a party-line with Republicans arguing that conversion “therapy” was a matter of religious freedom, critiques we had directly addressed during our meeting. We emphasized that this practice is discredited by the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association and can lead to trauma, harm, and suicidality.

Miller’s vote refutes medical scholars. We echo Senate candidate Sarah Kruger’s sentiments at the League of Women Voters’ debate: “That’s cowardice, not leadership.”

We will vote for Kruger who stated: “Conversion ‘therapy’ is not therapy. It is a harmful practice that has been widely denounced by every major accredited psychiatric and medical organization and has been likened to torture by those who have been subjected to it.”

Mary Jo Klinker and Tyler Treptow-Bowman

Supporting Jovy Rocky for mayor

I am voting for Jovy Rocky for mayor of Winona. I attended one of her Parks Tour stops just before the primary and was impressed with her ability to speak knowledgeably about a wide range of topics including public transportation, public schools, and the lack of affordable housing in Winona. She answered questions with ease and knowledge, listened to concerns, and outlined her ideas for addressing them.Rocky is an open-minded listener who comes up with proposals that are doable and reasonable. She will be a great mayor. Vote Jovy Rocky for mayor of Winona.

Sen. Jeremy Miller gets things done

I wish to express my strong support for our state Sen. Jeremy Miller. In these times of great political turmoil, when it seems like most politicians only focus on partisan politics and not people, Miller has stood out for his efforts to work across the aisle to get things done.

That is the key, Miller gets things done. He helped firefighters get workers comp for PTSD. He has been a tireless advocate for the construction trades and infrastructure job creation. Miller supports the men and women who built this region, and importantly, their right to collectively bargain.

We need leaders like Jeremy Miller in elected office now more than ever, and he has earned my support with his actions, not his words.

President, International Union of Operating Engineers

A key reason to vote for Sarah Kruger

There are many reasons to support Sarah Kruger for state senator instead of Jeremy Miller. I will mention one: she, unlike Miller, is not a fan of President Donald Trump.

For almost four years we have listened to Trump make all sorts of unpresidential, frightening, vulgar, racist, immoral, and unconstitutional statements. Most recently, he has said, repeatedly, that he would not support a peaceful transition of the presidency if he loses. That is to say: he would presumably support violent disruptions instead, if such violence meant he could keep his job. What did Miller say about this outrageous unconstitutional and un-American statement promoting violence? Nothing. Indeed, he has never repudiated publicly anything said or done by Trump. So: he must be a big fan of Trump. Who knows, maybe he has photographs of himself and Trump plastered around his legislative office.

Are we to infer from Miller’s pro-Trump fandom that he too does not favor a peaceful transition if Joe Biden wins? Does Miller’s eagerness for Trump mean that Miller will encourage whatever Republican thugs lurk in southeastern Minnesota to be out in force on and after Nov. 3 deliberately disrupting voting and the counting of votes? The very fact that such questions have to be asked about Miller suggests that he is no longer fit to be an elected official in Minnesota.

So: if you are not a fan of Trump you should consider yourself not a fan of Miller. Instead, vote for Sarah Kruger. As a Democrat, she respects the way America’s democratic republic is supposed to work.

Miller misleads on LGBTQ community support

At a recent forum held by the League of Women Voters, Sen. Jeremy Miller was asked about his support for the LGBTQ community in our state. His response that “we should treat everyone equally and fairly” is beyond misleading.

In 2013, Miller voted against the bill authorizing same sex marriage. More recently, he voted against a state-wide ban on conversion therapy—a highly controversial practice denounced by every federal and state medical association, condemned by Pope Francis, banned in more than 20 states, and classified as torture by the United Nations.

We need leaders with a strong moral compass who do what is right—even when it’s the hard decision to make. We need leaders who truly believe that all Minnesotans are equal and deserve to be treated as such. And perhaps more importantly, we deserve leaders who do not misrepresent their previous records to jump on a bandwagon. We need leaders like Sarah Kruger.

Honest leadership needed now more than ever

In an emotional campaign speech recently, our next First Lady, Jill Biden, said “ We need leadership worthy of our nation, honest leadership to bring us back together, to recover from this pandemic, and prepare for whatever else is next.”

Winona Mayor Mark Peterson has led this community with passion, honest hard work and an eye to the future for almost eight years. We are better for that. Both Paul Schollmeier and Pam Eyden should be re-elected to the City Council for their experience and good work.

Honest leadership is needed more than ever now in national, state and local public offices. People with good moral character exhibiting attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of illegal conduct are the ones that deserve our votes. I will be voting for Scott Sherman to be Mayor of Winona as he exemplifies this behavior and will be the face of Winona that we deserve.

Sarah Kruger for state Senate!

Sarah Klinger supports affordable healthcare for all, funding for K-12 public education, protecting the environment, and expansion of renewable energy.

Let’s send Sarah Kruger to Saint Paul. We need a fresh new voice in the Minnesota state Senate!

Moore for school board

We highly recommend Torry Moore for the Winona Public School Board. He is concerned with bringing Winona Pubic Schools to their best.

He graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth. At Winona Senior High School, he was an great student while involving himself in music and athletics. In athletics he participated in cross country, nordic skiing, and track and field. He will be interested in all of the areas of Winona Public Schools. He has two elementary daughters, and has taken a much interest in their education, especially their Spanish Emersion Education.

Please vote for Torry Moore for the Winona Public School Board.

Jim and Maxine Flim, Winona

Supporting Feehan over Hagedorn

Rep. Jim Hagedorn tells voters government-funded health care will close rural hospitals. Hagedorn presents this as a fact and a reason to abolish the Affordable Care Act. But, Hagedorn often gets his facts wrong and there are multiple academic studies showing he is wrong.

Rural hospitals have lower operating margins and more of their patients are uninsured compared to urban hospitals. This means rural hospitals must provide more uncompensated care. The expansion of government insurance in the form of Medicare helped solve this problem. That is why states that expanded Medicare under the ACA, like Minnesota, had less hospital closings than states that refused expansion.

This is fact. Hagedorn should be aware of this. But I suspect he simply repeats what his party tells him, without checking for himself. We need better representation; we need Dan Feehan.

A vote for Rockey for mayor

Winona is blessed with two great candidates for mayor. I am going to vote for Jovy Rockey. She is a small businessperson and she is a very caring person.

Lastly, thank you to Mark Peterson for all of his years of service.

Support these candidates for health care

There is a very strong possibility that the Affordable Care Act will be struck down by The Supreme Court in 2021. While there are several consequences, there are two in particular that will affect Minnesotans.

Medicare recipients will face higher costs for preventive care and prescriptions. Medicare premiums will go up significantly as cost controls in effect by the ACA will be eliminated. Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans will have rising costs resulting in higher premiums, rising deductibles and higher copays. Medicare Advantage plan networks may shrink, offering fewer choices, as insurance companies try to prevent sticker shock.

Minnesotans who obtain their health insurance through MNSure will face significantly higher monthly premiums as subsidies will no longer be offered. There will no longer be protections for those who have preexisting conditions. All in all a potential disaster is on the horizon.

While we can’t block The Supreme Court, we can pre-empt the Republicans from inflicting further damage on affordable health insurance. We can elect Dan Feehan for Congress in CD1. We can reelect Tina Smith to the U.S. Senate. And for state Senate we can elect Sarah Kruger. The incumbent is supporting the attack on the ACA and has favored closing down MNSure in the past.

Feehan and Smith will work to protect Medicare and keep the cost to recipients reasonable. At the state level Kruger will be an ally, not an opponent to Gov. Walz as the incumbent is.

Who we elect matters. Vote as if your access to healthcare depends on it because it does.

Sarah Kruger will fight for us

I proudly support Sarah Kruger for Senate. I served as a detention deputy in the Winona County Jail for over 28 years. We must provide adequate and humane conditions for those interned. It’s not just inmates who face out-of-code conditions, but jailers are at risk too.

Last February, Sen. Jeremy Miller introduced a Senate companion bill to Rep. Pelowski’s bill in the House meant for funding allocated to the Winona County Jail. That bill was referred to a committee on which Miller sits—where it died. The project could have been included for consideration in the bonding bill but wasn’t.

I can’t support Miller. We tried to get him on board with our concerns, and we only got excuses and half-measures. Miller could have followed Pelowski’s lead in the House to fight for jail funding in the Senate. Miller chose not to fight for us.

Miller doesn’t even support some of his own bills, so what should voters believe? What I learned is that Miller knows how to make excuses. I am supporting Sarah Kruger because I believe that she will fight for us. We need strong and honest representation for our communities.

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