NYA area residents discuss key issues

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Contested races led to about 40 attendees at the GOP caucus at Central High School, above, compared to just four at the DFL caucus, below, last Tuesday, Feb. 4. County conventions will be held in March. (NYA Times staff photo by Adam Gruenewald)

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by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA Times

The Carver County results mirrored results at Central High School in NYA, where the Republican caucus drew 34 voters in all.
Local voters favored Dave Thompson, 17, over Marty Seifert, 11, who were in a close race, while Chris Dahlberg won 19 votes compared to Julianne Ortman’s seven. Tom Emmer won 31 votes.
Democrats across the state didn’t conduct straw polls.
While there were plenty of issues discussed, NYA resident Bob Frey, the precinct chair, sent along three resolutions.
Two of the resolutions are related to the Department of Education and state obscenity laws.
Referring to examples of images and descriptions of “pornographic nature” in sexual education books for ages 10 and up, Frey wants to hold the Department of Education and its association accountable for this content. The second resolution calls for the Department of Education not to be exempt and for blame not to be placed on parents and guardians should those images fall into hands of other kids.
The third resolution relates to gifts and payments for judges.
“Judges have appointed themselves that they can receive $150 on cases that they’re hearing from individuals and corporations,” said Frey. “It doesn’t matter how many people give them their daily $150, so if there’s a rich guy, he can stack the deck.”
Caucuses also gave residents like Young America Township residents Clarence and Terry Masche a chance to explore a wide range of issues.
“I don’t like the way the country is going,” said Clarence. “Those who show up are the ones who give directions to the way the country goes. If you stay home, you don’t exist.”
Admittedly guilty of “poor citizenship” by not attending caucuses until prior to 10 years ago, Masche wanted to make a difference this year.
“The country is going broke, to make a long story short,” said Masche, attributing that to overspending. “Politicians are going wild… I’d say all the Democrats and half of the Republicans.”
Masche added he has other concerns as well, including maintaining individual freedoms.
“I would say the government is also getting bigger and individuals are getting smaller,” he said. “How long will we be free?”
Among those candidates Masche believes who could change things are Dahlberg and Thompson, two people Masche voted for.
“I agreed with those two and felt that I trusted them,” he said, adding the other candidates are OK as well. “There weren’t too many that I didn’t like. It wouldn’t be a big disappointment for me if a different person wins.”
Attendance and happenings were substantially different on the DFL side, where a total of four people attended the caucus at Central High School – Dave Eling, Dean Johnson, Mike Mooney and Brian Commiskey.
Mooney, the NYA Chair, said they passed two resolutions – one limiting term limits to 12 years for both the House of Representatives and the other calling for limiting influences by corporation and Super PACs on elections.
“They stick money into something they don’t have anything to do with,” said Mooney, adding that those groups are impacting both parties. “They’ve reversed the backbone of this country – (the idea that) you can’t buy elections. You have to cut it back and… do something other than what is happening.”
Mooney also encouraged better participation.
“The only thing in general I see is politics dividing the country, even here in NYA,” he said. “In the state legislature and in the federal government there’s this huge divide… they ought to be able to compromise. Years back they did when there were two parties. We’ve gotten away from that.”
Dean Johnson agreed with the resolutions.
“People who want things done they put money where they want and for what they want done,” he said. “I don’t have millions of dollars.”
Johnson took advantage of the opportunity to attend the caucus.
“I think people ought to be involved,” he said. “People complain about what’s happening, but they don’t show up.”
Reflecting on his District 47 announcement and on caucus night, Frey was pleased.
“It was a great night though,” said Frey. “I think we had a moderate turnout, but the people that were there needed to be there.”

Contact Adam Gruenewald at adam.gruenewald@ecm-inc.com.

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