The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Vote candidates who live their values

By Zachary Teicher

In addition to the important governor and senate races in Minnesota, a number of other offices will appear on our ballots this Nov. 7. On the surface, the Secretary of State and State Auditor might seem unglamorous—possibly even boring—but they are key to the preservation of Minnesota as a state of opportunity and equality. I am proudly supporting Mark Ritchie for Secretary of State and Rebecca Otto, a Mac alum, and encourage you to vote for them as well. As Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie will restore the public’s trust in our elections. In recent years, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office has been used for partisan political purposes; Mark will put a stop to this. With Mark as our Secretary of State, we will not need to worry about elected officials suppressing our citizens’ votes in order to ensure a victory for a specific party or candidate.

During 2004, Mark led National Voice (the people who made those “November 2” t-shirts), a national coalition of non-profit organizations. Under Mark, the coalition registered and turned out over five million voters. While doing this, he dealt with Secretaries of State from across the countRy. Mark saw that these officials can either make it easier for all eligible citizens to vote or they can make it more difficult. When dealing with our own Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer, he encountered someone who fell into the second category.

In 2004, Kiffmeyer distributed posters to local election offices advising voters to beware of Middle Eastern men smelling of rose water. She made it a practice not to let Native Americans who live off-reservation use their tribal IDs as proof of identity, and she made voter registration cards more complicated than they had previously been. Last session, she supported a bill that would have stopped any college student living on campus from voting on his or her campus, effectively making it impossible for students from outside Minnesota (such as myself) to vote in Minnesota.
The State Auditor ensures the financial integrity and accountability of Minnesota’s local government offices. Though the job is supposed to be non-partisan, Pat Anderson, our current State Auditor, has used her office for partisan advantage. One striking example of this partisan impropriety is the inappropriate double-duty of her deputy auditor, Tony Sutton. Sutton, who is the State Treasurer of the Republican Party, is thus on the payroll of both the State of Minnesota and the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Anderson has also made a number of mistakes in financial accounting. She has issued numerous budget reports containing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of errors. Minnesota needs a State Auditor who will provide sound financial oversight and who understands what the role of Auditor is in state government, unlike Anderson. We need a State Auditor who will provide sound financial oversight.

We also need an Auditor who will bring strong progressive values to the office. The only Macalester graduate running statewide, Otto has brought the values she and her husband (also a Mac alum) learned while at Macalester. Otto and her husband, Shawn (screenwriter of The House of Sand and Fog), live in a passive solar and wind-powered home they designed and built with their own hands. Otto believes in living the values she believes in, and she will bring that commitment to the State Auditor’s office. She is someone who truly understands that being fiscally responsible means planning for the future, whether it be educating our youth (Rebecca was an environmental science teacher), living in an environmentally-conscious home, or making sure our schools are funded (Rebecca chaired a levy campaign and served on the Forest Lake School Board).

Join me in supporting Mark Ritchie and Rebecca Otto on Nov. 7. Sure their offices might not appear glamorous, but if you enjoy the right to free and fair elections and believe that our state government should keep accurate financial reports, these candidates might be for you.

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    Gabrielle GrahamSep 7, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!