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Letter: Know the facts in campaign debate

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To the editor,

The 2010 campaign season is officially under way. In the months ahead, candidates for office will be sharing their ideas about how best to deal with the challenges facing Minnesota and asking you to make decisions that will affect the future of our state.

Constructive dialogue about different approaches between the people who wish to represent you is a positive thing. It represents the sort of civic engagement for which Minnesota stands out among other states.  What is not so positive is the negative campaigning and intrusion by outside parties into local races that has become all too common in recent years.

Already, outside groups are engaged in negative campaign tactics that will distort my record and mischaracterize my votes. Just last week, a special interest group attacked me for my efforts to keep high quality teachers in our classrooms.  Let me be clear -- I support high standards for teachers, and thorough and thoughtful methods of assessing quality teaching. But the changes proposed this year could have opened the door to thousands of undertrained teachers coming into our classrooms at a time when thousands of highly-qualified and well trained teachers -- including more than one hundred right here in District 196 -- are losing their jobs due to school budget cuts. The proposal I disagreed with did nothing to help our local schools. To suggest otherwise is pure fiction.

The message I hear every day is that you want an end to the partisanship that blocks progress. While some may try to cloud the issues or distort important debates that take place at the capitol, my simple request to you is this:  As we move through the election season, don't be swayed by high dollar special interests or negative rhetoric.  Instead, please contact me directly with any questions you may have.  My votes represent my commitment to stand with the citizens of Apple Valley and Rosemount.  I will continue working hard to represent you.  And as I've done since you sent me to work for you, I'll keep working with all parties to do what's best for our community.

Phillip Sterner,

Rosemount

Phillip Sterner is State Representative for District 37B

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