Letter: The new Federalism
To the editor,
As I learn more and deeper truths about the GOP in Minnesota I can't help but ponder the contradiction between deeds and words.
On the stump there is the GOP refrain to embrace states rights under the tenth amendment. The clarion call is the need to treat states as seats of experimental democracy.
And then there is ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is reportedly funded by the Koch brothers. True or not, ALEC promotes a set of common legislative items to be championed and adopted in all states. Here in our own Senate District 37 Sen. Chris Gerlach is an ALEC member and the bills introduced by Rep. Tara Mack and Rep. Kurt Bills embrace the group's underlying tenets. To the south of us is Rep. Pat Garofalo and to the north there is Rep. Doug Warlow who also promote legislation indicative of ALEC roots.
ALEC is definitely playing the long game. Slowly but surely they have turned state after state towards legislation that is all but identical. It may be union restricting legislation, it may be pro-business tort reform and one of its most egregious items is the photo ID bills showing up coast to coast. In each state it is the GOP who carries this legislation forward.
So I ask the reader and more importantly the voters here in current Senate District 37 how this common legislative action squares with the notion of separate laboratories of democratic experimentation.
Minnesota enjoys a reputation for progressive politics. That reputation was gained in a state with a long history of Republican gubernatorial administration, more by count than Democratic governors. If all the legislation being proposed last year and this year, 2012, is merely boilerplate ALEC legislation then isn't Minnesota indeed acquiescing to this new form of Federalism, the ALEC form?
Every self proclaimed conservative should be asking themselves a hard question as to whether these duly elected legislators are indeed dedicated to the tenth amendment or if their dedication is to ALEC. Do you want the intent of tenth amendment or do you want the new ALEC surreptitious Federalism?
I'm seeking the seat held by Rep. Kurt Bills and I hope to get the DFL endorsement. By contrast I would seem to be the more moderate candidate. I like Minnesota, I like the state built by the joint efforts of the old GOP and DFL. I think we get a very good value for our tax dollars. Let's keep Minnesota's reputation for progressive government and spurn this new thinly veiled version of Federalism. When fitting and proper conservative agendas based on Minnesota values are adopted in lieu of those from ALEC vote new GOP candidates back into office. For the interim consider letting the sitting Governor move us off of stalemate by casting a DFL vote just this one time in 2012.
Jeff Wilfahrt is a candidate for the Minnesota House in District 37B, seeking DFL endorsement.