To the editor:
When I heard the news that Al Oberloh was running for the State Senate, my first thought was, he's exactly what we need - a tough-minded, independent problem-solver who will shake up a state legislature that hasn't gotten much done.
My second thought was a question: Is he a Democrat or Republican? Al is so well regarded that both parties tried to get him to run. Even through Minnesota mayors like myself have worked with Al for many years, most of us don't know or care what party he's from.
From serving with Al on the board of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities l do know that he's one of the most respected mayors in our state and someone who has gotten people to work together, no matter where they're from. He's an expert in Local Government Aid, the State program that makes up half the budgets of many southwestern Minnesota cities. Keeping up core services like police and fire protection while keeping down property taxes depends on fixing the relationship between the State and our communities. Al Oberloh will walk into the Capitol on Day 1 with fresh ideas and support from people on all sides and a boatload of experience.
Al is the classic independent who puts solving problems ahead of partisanship. But some outside groups are spending a boatload of money attacking him. That's the same old garbage that has messed up our politics. Don't buy it.
You have a chance to send a real independent problem-solver to St. Paul. Al Oberloh has earned the respect of people in southwestern Minnesota and around the state, like me. He will be the breath of fresh air we urgently need.
Mayor, city of Granite Falls