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As Shutdown Continues, Eagan Residents Voice Concerns

At a public forum Thursday night, residents and union workers spoke out against the shutdown and shared their thoughts on the state budget.

Eagan residents, state workers without jobs, and other concerned citizens spoke up Thursday night about the state budget and government shutdown.

At the Eagan Civic Arena, a crowd filled a room to share their thoughts for more than an hour. The Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation and TakeAction Minnesota put on the forum, during which they recorded the thoughts and questions Eagan residents shared. The videos will be posted on YouTube and sent to local legislators Sen. Ted Daley (R-District 38), Rep. Doug Wardlow (R-District 38B) and Rep. Diane Anderson (R-District 38A).

All three senators were not at the meeting, and criticized for it at the forum. Patch could not reach the legislators for comment before publishing time.

“To be polite to them,” said Robert Kasper, president of the Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation, “they’re doing their job. I hope so.”

Kasper and Steve Rogness, deputy political director for TakeAction Minnesota, started off the event by inviting comments and thoughts on the shutdown and the budget impasse.

“It’s important for us to hear how you’re affected,” Rogness said. This kind of event can put pressure on both parties to end the shutdown and reach a budget deal, he said.

“Our children are at stake, our elders are at stake, and our disabled are at stake,” Kasper said. “… There are a lot of people’s lives at stake.”

For more than an hour, people from many different backgrounds spoke up. Some had emotional stories to share. One woman said she worked in a psychiatric ward but decided to retire early because she thought budget cuts were inhumane and damaging lives. A transit worker wondered why cuts to transportation would be a good idea. State workers who lost their jobs to the shutdown voiced their concerns. Some said they felt they aren’t being represented and urged others to vote in the 2012 elections.

Marilyn Remer, a utilities engineer at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, was laid off. She got up in front of the crowd. “I just can’t believe how much money we’ve already wasted,” she said.

After the meeting, she said this is also terrible for state workers’ morale. Some of her colleagues even expressed that they wanted to keep working, despite the shutdown. That’s because their plates were already full. “We’re going to have so much work to do,” she said.

“It’s so hard not knowing how long it’s going to be” until they can go back to work, Remer said.

awm July 08, 2011 at 01:35 PM
There seems to be surprise in the tone lamenting the no-show of the legislators. Let's get something straightened out. The 3 Rebulican legislators are financed and supported by contributions from big business. I would estimates the contributions to their campaigns coming from labor and liberal and progressives are minuscule or non-existent. (I never checked the official record to see who/what contributed to their campaigns.) Why on earth would these legislators spend more than 5 seconds total time listening to a progressive, possibly liberal, labor-minded forum? They never intended to represent this constituency to begin with, and they instead represent big business, large corporate interests and money and media interests. No reason to be surprised they never showed up. Avi M.
Thomas Anderson July 08, 2011 at 02:56 PM
The Republicans were elected on a promise of jobs, jobs, jobs. Who knew that they meant eliminating them? The Republicans will say anything to get elected.
Thomas Anderson July 08, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Can we recall these Republican non-representatives for malfeasance for the damage they are doing and their failure to negotiate in good faith?
Barbara Gilbertson July 08, 2011 at 03:21 PM
The radical right has duped voters again. The only recall recourse we have (far as I know) is the 2012 elections. Circle November 6, 2012 on your calendar as the day we reclaim Minnesota for Minnesotans. And then dig in to help Democrats make that happen. WWNF!!
ellen holmes lafans July 09, 2011 at 08:28 PM
The richest 1-2 % need to pay their fair share and it looks like the Republican legislators Sen. Daley, Rep. Wardlow, and Rep. Anderson only want the budget balanced on the back of the lower and middle class. The richest should pay at least on a percentage what the rest of us do! Furthermore, Rep. Diane Anderson, who sits on the MInnesota Health Finance Committee, did nothing to make the powerful corporate insurance bureaucracies accountable with our 3.2 Billion dollars of tax money for health care. HMO's are walking away with our money and are not audited, do not open their books, and do even not use general accounting principles with our money. (A whistleblower named Dave Feinwachs, who was their general council has come forward to tell us this story and it was reported on numerous times.) Rep. Anderson said that this hasn't been proven but no one has truly looked into this. Unless we can track this money we won't know where this money goes except into the pockets of the highly paid CEO's etc... and as a consequence fewer disabled and elderly people are getting the health care that they need to live! It was reported that the CEO of United Health CAre got 48 Million last year! Shame on Rep. Diane Anderson for not stepping up to the plate to correct this even after three bills were introduced to hold the HMO's accountable! That money would have gone a along way to balancing our budget here in Minnesota and for health care for the sick!
Ken Coy July 11, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I do love the way the folks on the left think. The Democrats had been in control of the legislature for what seemed like forever. They passed all the spending bills. They passed all the tax bills. At the end of all their work on their supposedly "progressive" taxes, we find out that the wealthy pay a lower percentage of their gross income in taxes than the rest of us do. When Republicans in the past offered flat tax proposals coupled with a large standard deduction that insured that the wealthy would pay not only the same percentage of their income, but actually a higher percentage than low and middle income workers, the Democrats rejected them in favor of their progressive tax rates (with huge deductions for the wealthy) that caused the wealthy to pay a lower percentage than the low and middle income workers. But who do those on the left blame? Yeah . . . gotta love the way they think.
ellen holmes lafans July 11, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Sarcasm at a time like this is not appropriate. This is serious, people in our communities have been laid off of their jobs and our family has been unable to get my daughters school loan processed. Women should also beware as the republicans have slipped into the budget proposals to decrease reproductive rights. All of us should be aware that the Republicans remain intent on kicking 140,000 Minnesotans off their health insurance, cutting special education funds for 129,000 children, forcing drastic property tax hikes on the middle class to the tune of $1 billion, crippling state government with massive cuts and layoffs, and making the largest cuts to state universities in history. And they're doing it all to protect millionaires from paying their fair share in taxes. I think we are seeing first hand that we need that revenue to run a state and that these service are good and supply jobs. I stand with Dayton and the Democrats! I hope the people of this state realize what they did when they electing the republican majority in the senate and house. They voted against their own self interest. The republican's are talking up the same platform that happened in Wisconsin. They seem to be the puppets of the corporations, big businesses, and the wealthy - not for us lower and middle working class!
ward tatro July 11, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Ellen-You must be one of Governor Goofeys speech writers. I have always been suspect of Women with 3 names, and now I know why. If you vote Democrat-YOU ARE STUCK IN stupid
Ken Coy July 11, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Yes, this is serious. That's why I mentioned a couple facts that you so conveniently chose to ignore since you can't dispute them. I'm sorry about your daughter's loan, but since I've been unemployed for over two years after working for 50 years of my life, I guess I'm not overly concerned. Maybe if the left would get away from their political ideology and actually look at things objectively and honestly . . . Nah you all have proven that you can't do that. Like the staff editorial in the Sunday Pioneer Press said - "6 percent increased revenue should be plenty." But apparently it isn't for the Democrats. So go ahead and stand with Dayton and the others who laid off thousands of workers and are preventing your daughter from getting her loan. I'm sure you'll still be standing with them when they give the Wilfs their hundreds of millions for their private playground.

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