Work requirements will make life harder

To the editor:

Recently Sen.Jim Abeler voted in favor of Medicaid reporting requirements legislation that could make my life as a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, and the lives of thousands of hard-working, low-income constituents like me, even harder.

I am 20 years old, a full-time student, vice president of the Student Veterans Association at my college, and work 35 hours a week. This is all on top of recovering from my diagnosis of stage- four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year. I am a survivor, and have been able to return to work and school, because of the health coverage I receive through Medicaid.

Tying my life-saving coverage to a monthly work reporting requirement will be a wasteful bureaucratic nightmare that will hurt people like me who are already striving to succeed. Even with exemptions, jumping through paperwork hoops when I’m already balancing school, work and the possible return of my cancer will only make it harder for me to maintain my health, finish school and improve my career prospects.

I can’t imagine why anyone thinks it would be helpful to put another challenge on mine or another Medicaid enrollee’s plate when we are already working hard to climb out of poverty. I’m doing everything I can to build a better life, and this legislative proposal won’t help. It needs to be stopped, and I hope Sen. Abeler will change his mind and oppose it.

Sheyla Jensen-Boyes


Human Rights Dept. makes up offense

To the editor:

The story “Difference in Discipline?” in the UnionHerald is a self-serving publicity release from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. On what basis does the Department announce that too many “students of color” and “students with disabilities” were expelled or suspended? Simply by running the numbers: “Across the state, students of color comprise 31 percent of the student population and receive 66 percent of suspensions” the article reports. “Such disparities indicate a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act, according to the Department of Human Rights.”

Why do the numbers “indicate a violation”? Simply put: because the Department of Human Rights wants them to. It has created an issue to justify its existence, and the story and its website “indicate” it has decided it has a juicy opportunity to do so by latching onto the theory that discrimination causes various problems in Minnesota schools. Whether it be students of color having lower performance “outcomes” or their likelihood of being suspended and expelled more often than their white counterparts, the problems result from “discrimination.”

For the Department of Human Rights the issues are due to discrimination rooted in skin color or disabilities. Run those numbers and, bingo, discrimination rears its ugly head. The department’s investigations run through its prism of racism, sexism and an alphabet soup of sexual preference issues. Those are the yardsticks it uses to discover “indications” of “violations” of state law, and then it sallies forth demanding “corrective action strategies” be instituted.

Based on their guidelines, there is but one “corrective action strategy” which will suffice: make all educational “outcomes,” whether those be test scores, grades, athletic awards or disciplinary decisions, reflect racial quotas. Count noses, problem solved. Students will be smarter and safer. Such an easy solution, and it took the Department of Human Rights to come up with it.

Michael Coughlin

Oak Grove

Say ‘no’ to cuts to disability funding

To the editor:

I am very concerned about a potential cut in funding for services to people who have disabilities in Minnesota. Due to a state policy glitch, thousands of people are facing a significant cut to the financial assistance they need to access the employment and day services provided at Rise, as well as other supports they need. For Rise, the cut will be $850,000, money used to increase wages and benefits for our staff team members. It is not possible to reduce our budget in such a significant way without impacting the quality of services we provide.

As a leader at Rise for over 35 years, I have not seen a time in our history when we have faced such a significant challenge. Last month, more than a thousand people rallied at the State Capitol and met with legislators asking them to stop this cut and preserve funding for disability services. It was powerful and moving, but I worry it won’t be enough. We need the voice of our entire community to advocate for these services. Please join us in contacting our local legislators in Anoka County and asking them to support your neighbors who have disabilities to stop the cut to these needed services. People who have disabilities deserve to live their best life – they need our support.

Lynn Noren

Spring Lake Park

Coon Rapids council should show respect

To the editor:

For 18 years I served on the Coon Rapids City Council with other elected representatives. We strived to be professional while also developing close friendships. It shocks, hurts and makes me very angry to see that the current council thinks so little of us past members that we don’t even warrant a simple call. Last Friday (April 13) I read how the current council has stepped back from a proposal to preserve and renovate the Riverwind Community Building. In all likelihood, they will now tear down the building. Of course that is their right to decide. However, as every article written about this project mentioned my name as spearheading a fundraising committee, wherein I committed to raising $50,000 for renovations, I would have thought I would get the common courtesy of being invited to the meeting, or at the very least, a message about what was coming. Because both a Girl Scout group and church members were part of previous meetings with the council, they too should have been contacted. Moving forward, I hope that this council tries to show more respect.

Denise Klint

Coon Rapids

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