On Oct. 5, I had the opportunity to attend a candidate forum hosted by the Wabasha County DAC (Developmental Achievement Center) and Great River Homes. The forum was held at the Wabasha VFW.
In attendance were House 20A House of Representative candidates, Pam Altendorf (R), Laurel Stinson (D), and Roger Kittelson (I); House 20B candidates, Steve Jacob (R) and Elise Diesslin (D); and Senate 21B candidates Steve Drazkowski (R) and Brad Drenckhahn (D).
Executive Director of Great River Homes and moderator for the evening was Cari McCann. She pointed out the importance of the forum as three of the seven members on the panel will be representing us in the 2023 legislature.
Ms. McCann asked the questions and all candidates were given ample time to give their response. All the questions were related to disability services, such as funding, defining vulnerable people and what they actually know about the services that DAC and Great River Homes provide.
Near the end of the program, time was given to those in the audience to voice their concerns. Heartfelt stories from many of the residents of the care facility hopefully made an impression on our future legislators.
I was asked after the forum on how they did. At best, I would have to give them all a “C.” At times, they all responded with good answers, but I think they all failed to recognize who their audience was. I don’t think all the references to less government, lower taxes, government fraud and more freedom resonated with those attending.
What they really wanted to hear was compassionate and sincere answers to their problems such as funding to keep their doors open and being able to pay employees equitable salaries. As one resident said, she loves her home, but her biggest fear is that she will one day be living on the street.
On Nov. 8, please vote for candidates that will best represent your beliefs and are willing to work across party lines to best represent our district.