Opinions

Wed
09
Jan
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Can Governor Walz Deliver For Rural Minnesota?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

With his swearing in as Minnesota’s new governor Monday, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Tim Walz became the state’s first rural governor since Rudy Perpich left office in 1991. Perpich was from Hibbing. Walz grew up in a small town in Nebraska and eventually settled in Mankato, teaching high school history classes.

He served 12 years in the U.S. House representing southern Minnesota, a district much like western Minnesota with its strong ties to agriculture, small towns, struggles with declining population and declining school enrollment, and fading main streets.

Walz has promised that those rural roots will drive his goals as he serves as the leader of the state’s executive branch of government. However, he will have to deal with a divided state Capitol, building compromises to achieve his goals.

Wed
02
Jan
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Capitalizing On Our Opportunities

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In many ways, 2018 was a good year despite what could have otherwise been seen as a year of loss and decline for the community.

We lost Benson Power, once known as Fibrominn, with its 45 full-time jobs and support for perhaps another 100 jobs in the area, its $8 to $10 million economic impact, and its $765,142 in local taxes paid to Benson, Swift County, and Benson Public Schools.

We saw our school continue to struggle against the impact of declining enrollment on its ability to provide all the classes and facilities our children deserve.

We saw the farm economy continue to struggle as low commodity prices persist and we saw its ripple effect on main street.

Wed
26
Dec
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Border Security Is Far More Than A Wall

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Most readers of this column will undoubtedly have seen the television commercials and stories about how Amazon could one day use drones to deliver packages right to your door wherever you live in America. Drones flying down the block dropping off packages and then zipping back to their base to pick up another, we are told, are coming in the not-too-distant future.

Tue
18
Dec
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Social Media, Russians Undermine First Amendment

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

This past Saturday was the birthday of the signing of the Bill of Rights. Among the 10 amendments included in the bill was the First Amendment, which guarantees our fundamental rights of freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition our government, and freedom of speech. It was signed by the nation’s founders Dec. 15, 1791.

It is considered one of the greatest foundational documents ever written to shape a democracy responsive to the citizens who elect those who govern. It gives us the power to hold our leaders accountable and voice our thoughts whether those in power like them or not.

But while The First Amendment is one of our founder’s greatest achievements it has now been shown also to be one of our greatest weaknesses.

Tue
11
Dec
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Splitting From Republicans A Risk For Miller

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

For the first time since he started serving in the Minnesota House in January 2016, Republican District 17A Rep. Tim Miller is going to be in the minority party – and by choice, a minority of the minority.

Democrats regained the majority in November when they took 18 seats previously held by Republicans to gain a 75-59 advantage.

District 17A includes all of Swift and Chippewa counties, all but two townships in Renville County, and the four southern Kandiyohi townships of Edwards, Holland, Roseland and Lake Lillian.

With that control, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party now sets the agenda for bills in the House. New House Speaker Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park controls who serves on what committee and whom the chairs and subcommittee chairs will be starting in a few weeks.

Tue
04
Dec
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A Good Economy Doesn’t Mean A Healthy America

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Conservative columnist for the New York Times David Brooks made a few observations this past week about how strong the U.S. economy is today with all the signs pointing to a nation that should be feeling pretty good about itself.

Yet something is missing. American’s aren’t feeling better; they’re feeling worse.

Gross domestic product, a measure of a nation’s economic strength, is growing at near 3.5 percent creating one of the best economies in many people’s lifetimes, he points out. Our economy has been on a steady upward climb since the crash of 2007-08 and is enjoying the second longest recovery on record.

Wed
28
Nov
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Rural America Out Of Step With Its Future

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Rural America has an image problem.

It’s a growing problem that could stand in the way of exactly what we need to turn around our dwindling population and struggle to maintain our workforce

We are growing older and more conservative just when we are in desperate need of attracting young people of the millennial generation to our communities who are more open-minded, more diverse, and more tolerant of those who aren’t like them.

Tue
20
Nov
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Fundamental Changes In Economic Development

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

Who would have imagined 20 years ago, maybe even only three, that quality, affordable and readily available daycare would be the key to economic development and a city’s growth?

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution economic development has been about bricks and mortar. It has been about the “build it and they (workers) will come” philosophy.

It is a philosophy so ingrained in our thinking and approach to economic development that it takes a profound reordering of traditional principles enshrined in a community’s playbook for creating jobs and drawing workers to fill them.

Wed
14
Nov
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The Waning Influence Of Rural Minnesota

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

When Swift County voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016, it was only the fourth time in 100 years that it has not voted for a Democrat and the first time in 60 years it had gone Republican.

It voted for Republican Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Progressive Robert La Follette in 1924, Republican Warren Harding in 1920 and Republican Charles Evans Hughes in 1916.

Based on last Tuesday’s elections, it now appears that Swift County, along with much of rural Minnesota, is turning Republican. Unless the Democrats run a candidate with wide personal appeal to voters, such as Rep. Collin Peterson in the 7th Congressional District, or Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the U.S. Senate, it is going to go Republican.

Based on the changing demographics in the state that does not bode well for rural Minnesota’s influence in state government.

Wed
07
Nov
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Public Has Chance To Shape Community’s Future

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

Would you like to help shape the future of the Benson area? You will have the opportunity during a public meeting with author, economic development strategist and community therapist Doug Griffiths Friday, Nov. 16.

Griffiths, the co-author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community, will be in Benson two full days next week. He is meeting with local business groups, community leaders of all ages, citizens on the street and you – if you care about this community.

He will be here Thursday and Friday, Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 with a community meeting planned for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at the Benson Golf Club. All are welcome.

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