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Issues on the Lawn Part One

We didn't know if anyone would come.

It turns out five people did, and it was a good sesssion. A simple ad in the New Ulm Journal and in the Shopper invited anyone to "Issues on the Lawn," a chance to talk politics as it should be done, without anger and without shouting. Since the weather had turned cold and windy, we shifted the session from the lawn to our enclosed deck, and talked issues there for an hour.

We started with public transportation, learning that many people who really need to get around and go places can't afford to. That's something public policy should address. We went on to discuss ways to address the shortage of retirement home workers; our population is aging and the system to care for them is falling apart. Child care faces the same problem of worker shortages – that's an important issue of economic development in our communities. We discussed health care in general, and especailly how hard it is for farm families to afford insurance. We talked about adoption, and mistaken ideas people had about it. And we observed that legislators could use their position for public education, helping people understand.

We discussed the precarious life of a farmer – that it took someone who was strong, smart (and who had married someone even smarter), courageous (because so much of farming is a gamble), very likely a person of faith, and above all, "you have to love it."

One person came to ask me to explain my position on abortion, which I did to her satisfaction. We talked a bit about guns, and just barely got started on legislative term limits.

Most of our visitors were women. They had a voice here that needs to be heard.

It seems to me this is the kind of meeting a legislator should have. And often.


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