To the editor:
I am writing today to thank Mr. Kirby for his public service to our community as a former police officer. Public safety for all is so important, which is why I was disappointed to read his recent letter to the editor about our state representative Erin Koegel. The truth is that Rep. Koegel has a proven track record of working hand in hand with our local law enforcement to address pressing public safety needs.
Koegel championed legislation that is now law, that authorizes police officers to stop and cite drivers who have violated traffic regulations in construction work zones based on reports from flaggers, supported Minnesota’s hands-free law, and has fought for solutions to help address the state’s opioid epidemic. She worked with the Republican Senate on a successful, bipartisan public safety package of legislation this summer during the civil unrest in the Twin Cities. She was the chief author of a bill requesting state bond funding for a regional public safety training facility in the North Metro, even hosting her legislative colleagues to come hear directly from local law enforcement about the need. While it was disappointing that the project wasn’t included in this round of bond funding, Rep. Koegel voted for a recently passed bonding package that included funds for numerous public safety facilities, including regional training centers and a new state emergency operations center, which will likely be located in the North Metro. Last year she secured funding for safety studies for Highways 47 and 65 and continues to advocate for additional solutions to enhance pedestrian safety and reduce fatalities on these corridors. And since the onset of COVID-19, she never stopped working to ensure first responders- including police- are guaranteed workers compensation benefits if they contract the virus on the job.
Spreading misinformation about who is representing us at the Capitol is not only dangerous, it’s an incredible disservice to our neighbors. In a time when political rhetoric and hate is at an all-time high, we need leaders who bring people together to get the results we all need and deserve to keep moving forward. Rep. Koegel continues to prove she is dedicated to doing exactly that.
Margaret S. Akhavan