The Mankato Free Press continues its tradition of knee-jerk attacks on Republicans.

“Our View: Munson wasting taxpayer money” takes a swipe at me for introducing HF 2423, a bill allowing counties to proceed with a legal path to disassociate with Minnesota and join neighboring states. It’s a long process that requires four steps, much discussion and both a statewide ballot initiative and congressional approval.

As I told the editor before he went to press, staff drafted this bill during research requested by another legislator. I introduced the bill because so many people from my district asked about the possibility over the past two years.

One could just as easily argue bills pushed by the DFL leadership in the house, like a punishing inheritance tax and mandates for zero-emission electric vehicles, that will never pass the Senate, an even bigger waste of time. Yet, the reality is many bills are introduced to start a public conversation and draw attention to problems. This is especially true when one is working within the minority.

This year I have introduced 26 bills, including 11 for local projects. Even with Republicans in the minority, I have had five hearings this year due to my work and the persistence of my caucus staff that you’ve labeled fringe and not “legitimate.” To be clear, every Republican in the House is a member of the Republican Party. A caucus is simply a group of legislators who discuss bills together.

I choose to caucus with a group of Republicans who want their staff to work for their districts and not report to a leader who is an employee of a Washington D.C. lobbying firm representing multinational corporations. I report to my constituents and do not require approval from some lobbyist-leader in St. Paul to introduce legislation. If these principles cause you to label us as “extremists,” you may want to ask yourself what type of government you desire.

To describe this proposal as “outside the bounds of rational thought” ignores that state borders have changed throughout history. Oregon recently passed a similar bill and now has five counties voting on whether to join Idaho.

It also ignores the chasm that has developed between Greater Minnesota and the metro area. We live differently, vote differently, and a majority disagree with the way we are being governed.

We don’t want to be hostage to an increasingly ungovernable Twin Cities that we do our best to avoid these days. Many rural people are upset with the per-pupil funding gap between metro and rural schools.

Many people are upset at the high taxes and regulations found in Minnesota compared to the neighboring states. Many seniors do not like that Minnesota taxes social security, while our neighbors do not. Many people are angry at the governor’s attack on our constitutional rights and liberties.

The Dakotas have waged successful campaigns to poach businesses and residents from southwestern Minnesota.

This bill draws attention to all those issues and many more.

Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal, represents District 23B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

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