In a recent letter, Don Samuelson disagrees with President George Bush's claim that a better economy is just around the corner and with Gov. Tim Pawlenty for saying, "The state of the state is great." He then goes on with a list of complaints.
Let's take a look back four years. The economy started slowing down in the spring of 2000, while former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was in office. Then terrorists attacked the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. That left the whole country in a terrible shock including the economy and led to the war on terror which further strained the economy. President Bush's masterful leadership after that disaster kept the economy from sinking even further. Last year's tax refunds helped and now the economy is on the rebound. It will only get better.
Mr. Samuelson says the country needs a plan "for fair trade, and not free trade." Actually, NAFTA, the free trade agreement, was negotiated and signed by former President Clinton. I do not recall him disagreeing in any way whatsoever with that legislation. As a former senior state senator who knows 8th District Congressman James Oberstar well, he could have asked him for help. Don't blame President Bush for problems caused by Clinton administration policies.
Governor Pawlenty and the Minnesota Legislature had a tough job last session solving a $4.5 billion deficit. To their credit, they did it without raising taxes. Colleges, school districts, local governments, and others had to adjust their programs. Mr. Samuelson seems to think that was wrong.
Democrats, like Don Samuelson, always claim that times are bad and they will fix them. What they neglect to tell us is how they will do the fixing. That is because their only solution is to significantly raise taxes.
Food service response
Recently, six members of the Brainerd Lakes Area Senior Activity Center Board decided to replace NSI as their food service provider. They blamed NSI for many of the problems at their center. I have never been contacted by Steve Esser, Jim Erickson or anyone else about problems with our company or our employees. Therefore I am left to wonder whether this was the real reason for the change. In nearly 25 years in this business I have never seen anything as strange as this entire series of events.
We will continue to offer nutritious, exceptionally high quality meals on wheels in Brainerd and meals for North Star Apartments after we leave the Senior Center. We will find a new location at a better facility with better parking and a more positive atmosphere. We intend to offer some new services and give all seniors a voice as to how our services are provided. All people in Brainerd, particularly those aged 60-plus will be welcome. More information about our exciting new services will be available soon. Our current staff, volunteers and an overwhelming majority of our senior customers will follow us.
My understanding is that our meal program at the center will be replaced with a program subsidized with tax dollars. Gov. Pawlenty has encouraged privatization of senior meal services, which we were doing. If you have a concern about how your tax dollars are being used I suggest you contact the Governor's office at 800-657-3717.
President Bush's leadership is strong, from tax cuts for people like me that do not make a lot, to the war on terrorism that invades the U.S.A, to Medicare with a prescription drug benefit that will help make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors and their families, to the No Child Left Behind Act that sets high standards for student performance and provides the resources needed to meet them.
Under President Bush's leadership federal funding for education has increased 59.8 percent from 2000 to 2003. A large portion of that money goes toward helping high-poverty schools. The funds also go toward efforts to retain high-quality teachers. Local control is another crucial aspect of education reform. The No Child Left Behind Act trusts parents and local school officials to direct resources where they will do the most good for their students. The law gives parents the right to transfer their kids out of failing or unsafe schools and into better schools. President Bush's leadership has improved education in America. His No Child Left Behind Act helps kids learn and puts parents back in the drivers' seat when it comes to their childrens' education.
One last thing, Bush has not told lie after lie after lie. The only people that put him down or lie about him or tell half the story are the DFL or people that want to take all the money from people that work and give to people that sit on their butts all day.
Paul M. Odenthal
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