Letter to editor stock photo blue paper and pen

A reader last week described Rep. Brad Tabke as "tone deaf." I disagree, and for several reasons.

The governors of every state have the ability to issue executive orders in times of emergency, disaster or great crisis. Those powers vary depending on the individual state’s constitution. It’s easy to point fingers, place blame and explain how any one of us would do it differently and better once the hard lifting has been done. Governors are given this authority in order to expedite decisions, direct resources and provide assistance during times like this. It shouldn’t become a power struggle between parties, and I wonder if the Republican caucus would be so quick to try to limit the governor’s power if he were a Republican. In my opinion Gov. Walz has done an excellent job of meeting this extraordinary challenge. The governor has executed his authority to the best of his ability in keeping this state safe and no one is ‘tone deaf’ to the extent that jobs, families, businesses, the economy and lives have been affected and lost by this. No one. That is ridiculous.

Public employee contracts were negotiated and agreed to long before the pandemic, and in good faith. Public employees have a long history of enduring blame, contempt, ridicule, hostility, etc., and those same public employees have a history of providing safe streets (Minnesota State Highway Patrol); public safety (corrections officers and “prison guards”); clean, safe state parks (Department of Natural Resources' officers, park rangers and park personnel); clean, safe, passable roadways during the winter and summer (Department of Transportation workers); and then there are nurses, employees staffing colleges/universities, labor and industry, VETERAN’S SERVICES, and the list goes on. These jobs and these people help drive this state and make it what it is, consistently rated near the top in this country. Many of those jobs are “essential," meaning while a majority of the state was home or quarantined, these people went to work EVERY DAY. The state patrol didn’t take time off to “be safe." Those prison guards didn’t stay home. Neither did the nurses, DNR, or take your pick from those services that are essential to keeping this state open. People love to villainize state employees until they need a service the state provides.

If this gentleman has a personal problem with Rep. Tabke or the governor, then address that and leave hard working state employees out of the argument. They are not living an extraordinary lifestyle, as some want to believe. It’s easy to take shots when you don’t have to do the work. Today is Saturday, maybe volunteer to take any member of the State Patrol's place on the front lines in downtown Minneapolis tonight. Volunteer to take an eight-hour shift on one of the tiers in St. Cloud or Stillwater prisons. State employees are not your punching bag. Not when times are tough, and not when times are good. Rep.Tabke is not "tone deaf." And yes, we are all in this together.

Larry Lindahl



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