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opinion Morris, 56267

Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

Vote no on Minnesota marriage, voter ID amendments; wrong way to legislate

Constitutions are all about the structuring of government; they offer overall guiding principles and framework to help make sure our rulers don't trample on our personal rights and liberties. They're big-picture documents.

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Also, constitutions don't change, generally speaking, so founders are careful about what to include in them. Minnesota voters on Nov. 6 can be just as careful with the state's constitution. They can vote "no" on a pair of ballot questions that aren't as constitutional as they are legislative, as they are matters more appropriate for our lawmakers' careful deliberations and decisions.

Neither the marriage amendment nor the voter ID amendment rise to the level of constitutional consideration. Both the marriage and voter ID issues scream for more conversation at the Legislature, not quick and uninformed passage by voters in next month's election.

To some, requiring picture identification at polling places is a way to protect the integrity of elections. Election fraud is nearly nonexistent. It's on Minnesota's lawmakers to firm up our state's laws. The current amendment proposal doesn't do that. Rather, it's rife with unanswered questions about potentially astronomical costs, just what sort of fraud would be addressed and more.

"Since constitutional changes are essentially forever, voters should know what legislators are actually proposing," Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said in a statement.

That goes for the marriage amendment, too. Same-sex marriage already is against the law in Minnesota. Why add it to the constitution? Would that just end the conversation? It seems a conversation that should be just beginning. Like many in Minnesota, Forum Communications doesn't endorse same-sex marriage. But that doesn't mean disapproval belongs in our constitution.

Minnesota's constitution demands respect and reverence for the important document it is. Misusing it to pass laws when appropriate channels prove unsuccessful cheapens it. And who in Minnesota wouldn't vote "no" on that?

Peterson is choice for the 7th District

The 7th Congressional District, including much of west central Minnesota, faces the same choice in 2012 as two years ago: Collin Peterson, a Democrat from Detroit Lakes, or Lee Byberg, a Republican from Willmar.

The choice is simple: Peterson has a strong record over his 11 terms and deserves to be re-elected.

Peterson is a congressman with an independent streak, often voting for what he believes is right regardless of either party. He opposed both the 2009 economic stimulus plan and the 2010 health care reform act, both major issues to the Obama administration.

He is a fiscally conservative Democrat and was a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition in the House. A social conservative, he opposes abortion and gun control. His positions often match those of his rural district.

Byberg is a Willmar business executive, serving in several positions with Willmar Poultry Co. His primary campaign issue still remains the out-of-control government spending, a rerun of his 2010 tea party line. He also opposed the health care reform act and the proposed dairy part of the 2012 Farm Bill.

Peterson remains straightforward and direct so voters always know where he stands. He continues to work hard on issues of importance in his district: passing a farm bill, working toward deficit reduction or fixing health care reform.

We believe the best choice for 7th District voters is re-electing Peterson to Congress.

Re-elect Klobuchar, her vision to move forward

Tapping, perhaps, into her blue-collar, Iron Range roots and that immigrant optimism that helped found and build Minnesota, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said at a candidate forum last month in Duluth she sees better days ahead for our nation.

For six years, Klobuchar, the first Minnesota woman ever elected to the Senate, has stood strong with job-hungry Minnesotans and with job-producing Minnesota businesses. She consistently has been in our corners. On Nov. 6, voters who are eager like she is for our nation to "move forward" again can be in her corner, re-electing her and sending her back to Washington to continue to work and to fight on our behalf.

Klobuchar's Republican opponent is Kurt Bills, a straight-talking city councilor and high school economics teacher from Rosemount. Like Klobuchar, Bills talks about a way forward. His includes an unspecified "great compromise."

Hers includes an educational system that fills the jobs of tomorrow. And it includes fiscal stability.

How? "You have to make sure you bring the debt down in a balanced way," she said. "It's going to take sacrifice from everybody. It's going to take spending cuts, but it's also going to take comprehensive tax reform and looking at it in a way where we actually bring the business rates down so we encourage business development in Minnesota. ... And it finally means looking at red tape, rules and regulations in a very thoughtful way."

Vote Romney, his promise of a way forward

There's little argument President Obama has been aggressive, bold and willing to take chances in the name of returning our nation to a place of prosperity and security. Recall his stimulus bills, the bailouts, the Affordable Care Act and even the daring mission that took out Osama bin Laden.

But the president also has refused to fail quickly, to be willing to change course when things weren't going as he thought they would -- or should. Instead, without selling them to the American people, he stubbornly held tight to policies and approaches that drove our country into recession and a recovery that has been slow to arrive. The results and numbers make clear Washington is ripe for new leadership and a more-promising direction.

Republican Mitt Romney has had a few stumbles of his own, including his unfortunate "47 percent" and "binders full of women" comments. But such campaign flubs are quickly forgotten and easily overshadowed by the clear message he has put forward: Reviving the economy and putting our nation back on firm financial footing demand to be top priorities.

Romney's plan to bolster the middle class and reinvigorate the U.S. economy encouragingly includes tax reductions, less government spending and the elimination of unnecessary regulations that hamper job creation. He wants to give states more control, realizing the best solutions come from the local level. That's in stark contrast to Obama's top-down style of governing.

Can Romney get the job done? If he doesn't, voters can hold him accountable -- and can cast their ballots in 2016 to bring about a second straight one-term proposition.

These endorsements were written by the editorial boards of the Duluth News Tribune, West Central Tribune and Forum Communications.

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