In a letter to this paper on Oct. 29 Sue Quist, a supporter of Sen. Joe Gimse, complained that attacks on him were wrong. Despite using words such as slander, she didn't do much in the way of explaining what those attacks were and refuting them. Instead she chose to attack Sen. Lyle Koenen by dragging up financial problems from his past.
In the 1990s one of Sen. Koenen's family members required emergency surgery. This left the family mired in debt and they were eventually forced to file for bankruptcy.
Studies in recent years have shown that over 60 percent of all bankruptcy filings in the United States are the result of overwhelming medical expenses. These studies also estimate that over 75 percent of all Americans are vulnerable to financial catastrophe in the wake of a major adverse health event. This includes even middle class families with health insurance. The cost of treatment for certain diseases can easily outstrip coverage limits. This was a hurtful thing for the Koenen family to experience. It could easily have been any one of us.
Sen. Koenen has brought his real life experiences to the Legislature. In this context of health care he supported Gov. Dayton's acceptance of federal Medicaid monies which expanded health care coverage for 95,000 Minnesotans as well as creating 25,000 new jobs over a five year period. Republicans opposed this.
Sen. Gimse apparently has had difficulty in paying his property taxes in a timely fashion. It is not that for which he should be criticized. He should be criticized for having had that experience and then choosing, by his actions and votes in the Legislature, to add to the property tax burden the average citizen faces.
Compassion might be defined as the recognition that the problems and challenges we face as individuals are the same as what others are experiencing. We are at our best when this recognition causes us to act and work toward the common good.
Sen. Koenen has done this through several terms in the Legislature. He would be the best choice to represent us as state Senator.