Letter: Sen. Nelson and Rep. Norton collaboration has helped city and state
It is common knowledge that the U.S. Congress and state legislatures have often been paralyzed by gridlock. The polarization between Republicans and Democrats has been a barrier to bipartisan decisions on vital issues.
The collaboration by Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) and Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) to improve Minnesota and the city of Rochester had great symbolic meaning during my role as executive director of the Chicano Latino Affairs Council.
In 2015, Nelson and Norton made attempts to amend a bill, which transformed the nature of the minority state councils. The amendment would have made possible the formation of a legislative and community task force to democratically discuss the bill and report findings to the Legislature. Nelson and Norton also collaborated in the all-inclusive sector and community discussions to develop a pilot project, which could address the chronic and intractable educational disparities experienced by Latino and other minority students.
Such bipartisan efforts, even when not successful as in these two cases, need to be continued if we are to change today’s political context and eliminate inequities that end up damaging all Minnesotans. These legislators’ actions are examples of a true democracy. Minnesotans, especially the young, need such examples to be inspired in order to address our national and state challenges.
Hector E. Garcia
North Saint Paul