By Fred Slocum, Mankato
I write to heartily endorse Clark Johnson in Tuesday's special election to replace Terry Morrow in the Minnesota House.
At Minnesota State University, Clark Johnson directs the social studies program, and heads the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences advising office. In both roles, he has nurtured and mentored countless students and faculty advisors.
Clark Johnson understands the damaging impacts of years of relentless funding cuts to state higher education on students and parents: faculty cuts, ever-larger class sizes, skyrocketing tuition, students taking extra jobs and working longer hours, students and families assuming crushing debt burdens. Clark Johnson has tirelessly advocated for students and public higher education, and would do likewise in the Legislature.
The same can't be said of Allen Quist, a hardcore devotee of Grover Norquist's No New Taxes pledge, according to Mankato Free Press reports. The pledge is directly responsible for a decade of severe cuts in public higher education funding.
Quist apparently entertains other priorities -- including chiefly, ensuring Minnesota's richest few don't pay one penny of tax increase. Quist's past campaigns reveal abundant extreme and inflammatory rhetoric. Quist said he believes men have a "genetic predisposition" to head the family, blamed September's Accent Signage massacre in Minneapolis on the "deterioration of the family" (not mental health, and certainly, not guns), and demonized "Obama, Pelosi, Walz" as "radicals" who are "destroying our country."
Expect other Quist priorities to include rock-solid dedication to Religious Right positions, favoring a total abortion ban and anti-gay discrimination in marriage and adoption; his endorsement by Tea Party heroine Michele Bachmann is unsurprising.
Like other hard-right Republicans, Quist scorns compromise -- exactly the kind of lawmaker Minnesota doesn't need more of.