Government officials took time to visit

To the editor:

“Leaders Ranked Worst of USA” is a front-page headline in the July 3 issue of the USA Today. The article goes on to report the results of a recent survey in which Americans rated politicians as what “symbolizes the worst of America.” The survey also found that a majority of Americans believe “traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me.”

I attended the July 6 meeting in Slayton where Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, Democratic U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson and Director of Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management Joe Kelly met with community members to discuss flooding issues in this area. They surveyed the flood damage, spoke about the emergency services and relief programs available at the state and federal levels, listened to attendees’ concerns, and answered many questions. They also pledged their support and assistance in the recovery process, providing direct phone numbers and the names of specific staff members who could provide help and advice. Governor Dayton even gave out his home phone number.

As the recent USA Today survey reveals, many people are cynical about our political leaders. Yet the government officials who took the time to visit this area, meet with community members, and offer their support demonstrate that there are politicians who are empathetic, supportive, and genuinely concerned for the welfare of the people.

President Ronald Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” However, the visit from Senator Smith, Governor Dayton, and other officials demonstrates that these words should not cause terror or alarm. These people came to our area because they genuinely want to help us. At a time when cynicism, anger, frustration, and division are tearing us apart, it is important to remember that we are all in this together.

Anita Gaul