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I attended a September 21 town meeting on education held by State Representatives Yvonne Selcer and Paul Rosenthal at Forest Hills School in Eden Prairie. My return to the school for the first time in seven years (my kids had had been students there) sparked appreciative memories of the teachers, administrators, kids and families that I had come to know.

Selcer and Rosenthal provided a reflective account of their successful bills and/or votes to restore the $850 million dollars that State government had “borrowed” from Minnesota schools so it make its own budget. The two also voted to provide funding for all day kindergarten; to freeze undergraduate tuition for two years at the University of Minnesota and MnSCU schools; and to adjust the current State Grant Program formula to better reflect all of the costs of a higher education and to include the growing numbers of part-time students.

Yvonne Selcer (House District 48A) represents northern Eden Prairie and southern Minnetonka. Paul Rosenthal (House District 49B) represents northwestern Bloomington, southern Edina and parts of eastern Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Selcer sits on the House Education Finance Committee and Rosenthal sits on the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee.

They and their constituents live in some of the top school districts in the Minnesota, ne the country. Both exhibited the kind of knowledgeable, moderate and open perspective to educational challenges that fit well with our suburban area. And their respective radars, I learned at the town meeting, also include urban and rural school districts.

Responding to one of my questions, each representative expressed alarm with Minnesota’s ongoing, nearly scandalous learning gap between students from immigrant, African-American and Native American families who live in low-income areas and those who are more fortunate. They agreed that all day kindergarten should begin to help close that gap.

Forest Hills School has been Eden Prairie’s most diverse school and Cornelia Elementary School, where Representative Rosenthal’s children have attended, is Edina’s most diverse school.  Representative Selcer has chaired the Hopkins School Board.   They both have a solid, practical, parental and legislative perspectives on education, Minnesota style.

Jeff Strate
Eden Prairie
Eden Prairie Patch, September 28, 2013

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Sep/13

8

Rep. Selcer’s Transportation Town Hall

After attending Rep. Selcer’s Aug. 14 town hall meeting, I told my husband it was a great meeting except for the woman who was trying to monopolize the meeting. So it was a surprise to learn that Donna Azarian felt that she was “met with hostility by SWLRT supporters” at that meeting.  Ms. Azarian was given ample time to express her concerns. It was only after her 3rd or 4th restatement of the same point that Rep. Selcer respectfully asked that others be given a turn to speak. When Ms. Azarian ignored that request, someone in the audience asked her to give someone else a chance to talk.  Hostile?  No, simply a response to someone being disrespectful of others.

Ms. Azarian was obviously there to be heard and not to listen, because she incorrectly stated Rep. Hornstein’s comments. He did not imply that we are building the SWLRT to benefit people 100 years from now. He said we are not only looking at today’s needs, but are attempting to plan for the next 50 to 100 years as well. Given the amount of time and money it takes to plan and build transportation systems, it makes sense to try to understand the future needs of our community.

Town hall meetings give us an opportunity to learn more about important topics that affect us all. Just as important, it is community meetings like this that give us a chance to practice civil discourse — something sadly lacking in politics today.

Jan Eian
Eden Prairie
Eden Prairie News, September 5, 2013

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