To the editor:

State Sen. Jim Carlson is running for reelection in Minnesota District 51. His policy platform is a study in intelligence and compassion; not surprising I suppose, since intelligence, graciousness and compassion are perfect descriptors of the man himself. His colleagues on both sides of the aisle would say the same.

I am heartened to know that Senator Carlson supports expanded buy-in opportunities to the Minnesota Care health plan so that all of us have greater access to affordable health care. His positions on paid family and medical leave, affordable prescription drugs, fully funded public schools, meaningful infrastructure investment, and clean energy and climate change goals, are all desperately needed initiatives in Minnesota. But in my case, it bears mentioning that I first met Jim Carlson at a meeting of like-minded individuals who want to end the senseless and ever increasing level of gun violence in our state. As someone who has lost a family member in a horrible mass shooting incident, it is gratifying to know that polls repeatedly show continuing support by wide margins, among my fellow Minnesotans for sensible gun safety legislation. We are experiencing ever higher levels of homicide in our metropolitan areas and suicide in our rural areas. But I have sat across the table from lawmakers here who have told me with stony looks, that things are fine the way they are. We cannot make progress without enlightened political leaders like Senator Carlson, who has consistently supported measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals or those who may harm themselves or others, while upholding the 2nd Amendment rights of lawful gun owners.

It is standard fare for advocates to say that this is the most important election ever. However, in 2020 I think it is abundantly clear that our vote this time is of particular consequence. As a country and a state we remain mired in dreadful problems, while solutions are certainly available to us. We simple cannot get where we need to be in our society without serious, sensible lawmakers working for us. I urge you to vote for Jim Carlson.

John Barden

Prior Lake

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