The difference between my legislator, Dan Wolgamott, and Mary Franson, who represents Alexandria and Long Prairie, isn’t difficult to detect. This week’s e-letter updates offer a perfect example of the difference between a compliant DFL legislator and a Republican legislative leader who’s capable of thinking for herself. Let’s start with Rep. Wolgamott’s letter.

It opens with “I want to start by acknowledging how much Minnesota and our community is hurting right now. The death of George Floyd is still incredibly fresh in our minds, and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge us in unprecedented ways.” That’s a terrible read on things. I don’t dispute that Minneapolis is still hurting, though not for the reasons listed in Rep. Wolgamott’s letter. St. Cloud is worried about reopening its economy, not George Floyd.

Further, most people think that COVID is pretty much finished. After seeing all the looting, rioting and protesting the past 2 weeks, it’s clear that social distancing and phased reopenings are history. Despite that becoming obvious to anyone with eyes, Wolgamott included this in his e-letter update:

This “Phase 3” of reopenings and lifted restrictions will begin on Wednesday, June 10, and includes the following:

  1. Restaurants can begin offering indoor dining while maintaining social distancing, requiring reservations, and seating no more than 50 percent occupancy.
  2. Indoor social gatherings can take place with 10 people or less; outdoor social gatherings can take place with 25 people or less.
  3. Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, and martial arts may open at 25 percent capacity.
  4. Indoor entertainment venues, such as theaters and concert halls, can open at 25 percent capacity.
  5. Recreational indoor entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, arcades, and museums may open at 25 percent capacity.
  6. Personal services, such as salons, tattoo parlors, and barbershops, may increase occupancy rates to 50 percent while requiring reservations.
  7. Outdoor entertainment venues, such as sporting events, concerts, and theaters may open at 25 percent capacity.
  8. Places of worship can increase occupancy rates to 50 percent.

Compare that puppy dog compliance with Rep. Franson’s e-letter update:

Today, the governor announced Phase 3 of reopening the economy, which will begin June 10th. This means that indoor dining will be open at 50% capacity, with safety measures like masks and social distancing. Salons and personal services will increase to 50% capacity as well, with all the same safety measures they are currently using.

New openings will include pools opening at 50% capacity, fitness centers and theaters at 25% capacity up to 250 people, and churches at 50% capacity or up to 250 people. Additionally, Phase 3 includes social gatherings of 25 people or less. More information on these new guidelines can be found here.

While this is another step in the right direction, I am extremely disappointed that these restrictions still seem arbitrary and unscientific. Instead of keeping businesses closed or severely reduced, we need to focus our efforts on protecting our nursing homes and long-term care facilities so we can begin the process of rebuilding our economy.

Notice that Rep. Franson didn’t try hiding Gov. Walz’s decision to send COVID-infected seniors back to nursing homes. That’s led to hundreds of deaths that could’ve been avoided.

Wolgamott swept that decision under the rug. Franson didn’t. While George Floyd’s family grieves for him, the DFL hasn’t changed their policy towards assisted living facilities. The DFL rioted in Minneapolis over George Floyd’s death. In fact they’re planning on dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department over it. Over the past 10 years, there’ve been, at most, a dozen officer-involved shootings. Riots erupted over that. At least 700 Minnesota seniors have unnecessarily died by getting exposed to COVID.

The DFL didn’t utter a word on that. In fact, the DFL hasn’t protected seniors since COVID started. The picture that Wolgamott unwittingly painted is that African-Americans are worthy of rioting over and changing our police force over but COVID-infected seniors aren’t worthy of even an oversight hearing or a mention from the DFL.

Republicans are working hard to protect seniors while reopening Minnesota’s economy safely. Thus far, the DFL have acted like little puppies. Don’t forget that when you vote this fall.

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