Getting tired of Torkelson

To the editor:

We could have had a completed four-lane highway to New Ulm from Mankato. We could have gotten the necessary funding to get the road built. We could have had commerce expanded. We could have had a safer road with fewer accidents. We could have had all of this, but the chair of the House Transportation Finance Committee, one Paul Torkelson, didn’t change the language in the legislation that could have provided a progressive and practical solution to this 50-some-year-old infrastructure issue. Austerity does not build roads.

Some true leaders in our area have supported a final funding bill to complete the Highway 14 project. Like Clark Johnson, the representative from the district that contains St.Peter and North Mankato. Johnson warned us about the flawed language in the funding bill of the 2017 legislative session. Torkelson, in his canned newsletters to his Republican constituents, talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. We’ve let our “representatives” sneak away from another unproductive, overly partisan legislative session without holding them accountable or owning up to their actions, or “inactions,” if you will.

Paul Torkelson has once again failed us in one of the most basic areas of governance: roads and bridges. He has been in the House since 2009. He is the chair of the House Transportation Finance Committee (and “serves” on the Environment and Natural Resources policy and Finance Committee, the Ethics Committee, the Legacy Funding Finance Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee). You’d think he and his “majority” would have the power (a.k.a access to public monies; the “way and means”) to get something done. Even when Torkelson is placed in the best position possible, he still can’t do the right thing. He still just follows the party line, without asking some basic questions, such as, “What do New Ulm, Springfield, Redwood Falls, and Sleepy Eye, and, indeed, all of the people in all of the counties and townships in District 16B need?”

With 10 years and no answers, I have to ask you, “Are you Tired of Torkelson?” I know that I am. And, annoyingly, every two years, I get “retired” of Torkelson and begin thinking that he should retire.

Franz Kitzberger

New Ulm

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