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Let’s set aside divisions and work together to address key state issues

Rep. Sandra Masin

Last month Minnesota had the opportunity to host hundreds of lawmakers from across the Midwest and Canada for the Council of State Governments. It gave us a chance to show off our fantastic metro area and give leaders from across the country a look into what we have to offer. 

Democrats and Republicans from Minnesota also got to interact with Democrats and Republicans from other states on issues ranging from education to jobs and the economy. We weren’t members of certain parties. We were just people looking to find solutions to key issues in our states and provinces.

One of the interesting speakers at the conference was Jonathan Haidt. He studies the things that cause people to disagree and provides suggestions on what we can do to repair the divisions that are causing friction in our society and our legislative bodies.

Focus on solutions

Instead of spending time on the things that divide us, we should be spending time figuring out solutions to problems that keep cropping up in our communities.

Some issues are so important that everyone agrees they need to be addressed. We all want quality schools for our children. We all want a strong economy. We all want a budget that is balanced and stable.

This year in the Minnesota Legislature we started working toward addressing those issues. We invested in education ranging from age 3 all the way up to 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities. We tripled our investment in job creation and lowered unemployment insurance by $346 million for Minnesota companies so they can do business more easily. We balanced our budget and lowered property taxes.

As we move forward, I hope we keep our focus on these important issues and how we can work together to find solutions. That is what lawmaking should be all about.

Sandra Masin, DFL-Eagan/Burnsville, represents District 51A in the Minnesota House.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/10/2013 - 10:50 am.

    First, we have to specify

    what those ‘issues’ really are. The two sides of the aisle have very different ways of defining these problems.
    For instance:
    Is the education problem one of inadequate support for public education, or the lack of public support for private education?
    Is a strong economy one where corporate profits are maximized, or where public demand (and thus wages) are maximized?
    Is it a given that state revenue cannot be increased, and thus budget balancing must all be done on the expenditure side, or should we adjust both revenue and spending?
    Until we can agree on basic assumptions, we do not have the common ground for a reasoned discussion.

    And note that Haidt’s work is far from universally accepted by psychologists and economists.

  2. Submitted by David Frenkel on 08/10/2013 - 04:41 pm.

    special interests

    There are too many well financed special interests that will not allow this to happen. Whatever there agenda is they want it out front and center. Politics has changed and there is no going back to smoke filled rooms where agreements between parties were hammered out.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/12/2013 - 09:25 am.

    Say goodnight Gracie…

    We’re going to rely on psychobabble to resolve our political divisions? Why not just hire Tony Robbins and have the legislators go to a “Power Weekend?”

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