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Minnesota Sierra Club honoring ‘Override Six’ legislators

The Minnesota Sierra Club says: Hurray to the six Republican state legislators who bucked Gov. Tim Pawlenty by voting to override his veto of the transportation funding bill.

They’ll honor the “Override Six” Sunday evening at the group’s 40th anniversary dinner in Minneapolis.

When the dinner was planned, I’m betting they didn’t realize the significance of the keynote speaker: Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who’s scheduled to talk about “the power that individuals have to combat climate change.” He may want to expand that a bit, and talk about the power that individuals have in voting for U.S. Senate.

Also speaking will be Allison Chin, the Sierra Club’s first female president of color, who’ll talk about the direction of the club nationally.

Getting back to the overriders, Sierra officials credit them — and “the persistence of DFL legislators and Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher” — for giving the state “a stable source of funding to build the light rail lines and bus service needed to grow our economy and work towards reducing our global warming emissions.”

“Legislators who are willing to risk political reprisal because they put the public interest first are examples of good leadership, and good public service. We are pleased to show our respect for their courage,” said former Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger, Sierra Club Executive Committee member. “Full funding for our transportation needs is consistent with environmental progress, and our values as Minnesotans.”

Five of the six legislators are confirmed to attend: Reps. Ron Erhardt, Neil Peterson, Jim Abeler, Bud Heidgerken, and Kathy Tinglestad. Rep. Rod Hamilton is unable to attend. Representative Abeler and Hamilton won re-election last Tuesday.

The group also will recognize 3rd District Congressman Jim Ramstad for his record of conservation leadership in Congress.

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