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Column: Letter asks should we use government this way?

Whether they lean toward voting yes or no on Minnesota's proposed marriage amendment, REaders' Board members unanimously agreed that John Kern's letter outlining reasons against changing the state Constitution earned the Golden Quill "hands down."

And September proved an especially good month for strong letters to the editor, they noted.

Kern's letter is more about what our country is founded on and less about personal beliefs, members noted. Kern looked at the bigger picture.

"There are so many different way to look at this issue. My biggest question is: What the heck are we doing talking about this in this arena?" Kern said this week in accepting the award.

Should we use our government this way? That's the broader question that board members said Kern's letter should prompt people to consider. Read Kern's letter reprinted below, then ask it of yourself.

On Monday, the REaders' Board discussed several other issues raised in letters last month. They included:

• Barb Betcher's letter "County Road 9 overpass is a must" of Sept. 15. Highway 52 is particularly dangerous through Goodhue County, and Betcher wrote a strong letter advocating action from public leaders. This is a safety concern that should stay in the public eye until it's resolved, members noted.

• Three U.S. Postal Service workers at the Red Wing office made clear their stance on proposed postal reforms in "Correct mandate and let USPS do what it does best" published Sept. 22-23. Dennis Bluhm, Bruce Brage and Dewey Christianson outlined how the mandated pre-funded future retiree health benefits -- 75 years' worth in a 10-year span -- has decimated the agency's budget.

Some REaders' Board members knew about the mandate, but others didn't. All appreciated that the letter provided insight for the average citizens -- citizens who surely use the U.S. Postal Service but probably don't know much about it.

• "Collaboration hatched Bob, more than a duck" was the headline of Jason Jech's piece published Sept. 19, and the REaders' Board members noted that Jech wrote about more than the Environmental Learning Center's duck on wheels: He also addressed in a caring, constructive manner the anti-gay graffiti someone applied to that enormous duck.

As with Emily Burt's Sept. 12 "Defacement raises duck's value," members said, Jech's letter turned that hateful act into almost a favor.

Anne Jacobson

Anne Jacobson has been editor of the Republican Eagle since December 2003. 

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