Sara Sietsema: Congress must help state and local governments

Letter writer calls for Congress to help state and local government.

Reader Opinion letter

Frontline public service workers are putting their families and lives at risk every day to protect and provide services to our communities in this pandemic.

We are the health care workers, corrections officers, public utilities workers, public school staff, and other stripes of hard-working employees. Our work is essential for public safety and to dampen the expected economic downturn.

We can do neither if we are laid-off or fall victim to COVID-19.

Year after year we as public sector workers are asked to do more with less. We are meeting the challenge, but it is clear now how a decade of shortsighted cuts after the 2008 recession have hurt our ability to respond to this crisis when we are needed most.

This problem is only going to get worse as state and local revenue dries up.


I cannot help but point out how unfair it is that wealthy multi-national corporations have fed at the trough from federal COVID relief bills while U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnel suggests we let states and communities go bankrupt.

This is extremely dangerous and would reduce police forces, and impact utilities, hospitals, and critical services for families.

McConnell’s plan threatens our way of life and our sense of community pride. On a very basic service level, potholes and street disrepair are only going to get much worse.

Congress needs to do more to make sure state and local governments avoid bankruptcy.

Frontline public service workers deliver quality public services. We appreciate public recognition, but what we need is the support of our federal government to keep our communities safe and prosperous. Please reach out to Representative Collin Peterson and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and tell them to fund our communities.

We are proud to be public servants; however, during this crisis we need everyone working together. Citizens’ concern for the health and wellbeing of our loved ones and the future of our communities are great reasons to get involved and speak up.

Sara Sietsema

Recording Secretary


AFSCME Union Local 559

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