Don’t tie Postal Service fees, funding to politics

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In 1775, when the Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin the first postmaster general, the challenges facing today’s post office could hardly be imagined. The U.S. Postal Service is one of few federal agencies explicitly authorized by the Constitution. It is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. “Price and quality” are at the

Climate change, poor flood management threaten upper Mississippi

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Sometimes we don’t notice even the largest problem – even when it’s right before our eyes. The advocacy group, American Rivers, named the upper Mississippi River running through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, as the most endangered river in the country. Climate change is driving more intense rain storms, leading to more frequent and prolonged flooding in the Upper Midwest,

Bring the ballot box to the people

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With everyone’s attention focused on stay-at-home orders and staying healthy, it’s hard to focus on events that are months away. But now is the time to ensure this fall’s election runs smoothly and that voters will not have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Minnesota’s primary election is Aug. 11 followed by the general election on

Let’s not go back to normal

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Social distancing. Shelter in place. Distance learning. Self-quarantine. Ventilators. N95s. When will our vocabulary, not to mention our lives, go back to normal? The day will come when this crisis will be behind us. But we shouldn’t go back to normal. The coronavirus pandemic revealed weaknesses and opportunities in our social and economic life that need attention. Many of us

Accurate census headcount vital for Minnesota

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This count really counts. In the past 10 days, most people received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau asking for participation in the 2020 Census. While public health stories dominate the daily news, the census deserves some attention too. Every 10 years, the federal government counts how many people live here. Governments use that data to fund and plan

Spread a little sunshine

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Sunshine Week is coming up. But it’s not about your planned spring trip to Arizona or Florida. Sunshine Week, March 15-21, is a national initiative to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy. Good government results when the people’s business takes place in the open….when the sun shines in. When

Presidential primary comes with some election changes

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Minnesota’s March 3 Presidential Nomination Primary will be a new experience for the state’s voters with rules and procedures unlike other elections. The presidential primary essentially replaces a portion of the political parties’ precinct caucuses, where among other decisions, participants selected presidential candidates. Caucuses will still take place on Feb. 25, one week before the primary, so the parties can