Letter: Leadership and experience are needed

Published 9:51 am Thursday, November 3, 2016

In the Senate race for District 27, we are presented with two very different candidates.

Senator Sparks has had fourteen years of “experience” at the Capitol, but how experienced is he really? In the October 7 edition of the Albert Lea Tribune, there was an article titled “Sparks, Dornink spar over senator’s bonding bill vote.” Senator Sparks stood in favor of the light rail amendment added to the bonding bill in the last minutes of session, and was quoted as denying doing so. A video of the session clearly shows that he did stand. ‘They put politics ahead of doing the business of the people,’ Dornink was quoted. The article went on to say, “But Sparks challenged the claim, saying he voted no in the voice vote. He said the scene in the final minutes of session was chaotic, and he’s previously said he only stood in support of the bill when told it was the only way the bill could pass. Let me get this straight, he was against the bill but voted for it so it would pass. Huh?

It is my opinion that a fourteen-year veteran senator should have known if a last minute amendment was added on, there was no way to get a House vote on the bill. Any amendment to a  bill will prevent its immediate passage or if passed at the last minute will usually have results not intended due to the lack of thorough review. He should have known that an amendment would mean that the session would end without passing the bonding bill, so he changed his mind to “look good”? He may have been told what to say, but he had to know it was incorrect. In the end, Senator Sparks put petro trains ahead of District 27’s needs and his vote helped kill the bonding bill. Is that the kind of “experience” our district  wants?

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This is not finger-pointing, but votes have consequences, and as a senator, he needs to be responsible, accountable, and transparent with his votes. Families, farmers, and the common working-class people of our district are being hurt by the repercussions of the choices he has made.

A concerned citizen about District 27’s current leadership.

Ron Grosland,