City must connect with the silent majorityWe are a group of regular citizens who love our town and work to help make Red Wing a better place to live, work and retire.
By: The Voices of Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
By Mike Halvorson,
Dale Mehrkens, Lyle Mehrkens, Steve Castner, Ralph Diercks, Duncan Engh, George Grotkin, Mitch Lawrence, Peggy Rehder, Jerry Olson, Dean Massett,
Gary Nordmark, Paul Reding, Dennis Tebbe, and Mike Wilson
The Voices of Red Wing
We are a group of regular citizens who love our town and work to help make Red Wing a better place to live, work and retire. We hear the many silent voices in our community.
The principles of what has made this community special for over 150 years are core to us. Each of us has ties to our community that make it special and drive us to take steps to preserve these values, ensure the community’s identity, and not re-invent what this great community is.
In these economic times, it is our belief that all citizens need to be a voice in community solutions for today and future direction. We as a group can be effective in providing a transparent connection to regular citizens and business owners through involvement.
As we look at issues within the community, the recent direction with Xcel Energy and decisions to pursue lobbying and retention of special legal counsel has brought questions in our minds. Because of this and our perception of what has been communicated, we felt it important to do our own “Reality Check.”
On Nov. 11, a group of us sharing common concerns and questions met with Sen. Steve Murphy and Rep. Tim Kelly. While these individuals have opposing political backgrounds, they remain united on doing what is best and can be reasonably accomplished for the community.
These individuals chosen by the people to represent them have expressed a core belief we embrace. This is to act in the interest of all citizens and taxpayers to find attainable practical solutions under today’s economic and political climates. This can provide a win-win opportunity for both parties.
The straight talk exchanged with them solidifies our belief we should urge you as elected officials and decision makers to consider the following:
1.) Get back to the negotiation table with Xcel and do not pursue the recent actions taken with lobbying and legal counsel. We feel this will be counter productive and not of value for the taxpayer funds invested. Act quickly — the sooner the better.
2.) Red Wing and Xcel have several common interests because of the uniqueness of our community. Explore long-term partnerships in these common interest areas.
Both parties have related energy production interests and experience, energy conservation goals, and common environmental principals. Some of the city’s past and present staff has worked closely on these issues. Go beyond just the money and look to partner to realize long-term efficiencies and foster trust, credibility, and trust.
3.) Re-engage our legislators to help with long-term solutions. Solutions that will be less impacted by economic downturn, statutory rule changes. These must be fair for all parties locally, regionally, and statewide.
They have pledged to help even though reports of recent actions may have not been well received.
Along with these requests we also extend our hands, hearts, and minds to offer assistance. We have many ideas along with our questions and concerns.
We would offer to mediate or facilitate with any of the parties. We offer to be part of a solution.
Many of us have lobbied or been part of processes that may be helpful in stabilizing the future of the community. We bring experience, historical knowledge, and desire to see success for our community.
As you move forward, we feel that it is important to evaluate budgetary reliance on state aid funding for normal operations. It is important that this community does not continue to be exposed to the state’s budgetary reactive nature.
Identify the core services and relationships which have made this community what it is. For many long-standing citizens, they have believed in these services for decades.
Restore our trust. Go back to the mission statement we all see on Channel 6 and be “Open and Engaging.”
This is not just holding public hearings or open houses. Reach out to the silent majority and connect again with them and not just those that contact you on an individual need.
Thank you and please consider our request before taking the next steps which may impact us in ways none of us want.