Minnesota heads in the right direction for employment, population increase

By Marla Vagts
Guest column for Northfield News

I was reading Rep. Pat Garofalo’s guest column about a “magazine study” that claims that rich people are leaving Minnesota in droves and taking their businesses with them.

You know, when you live on a farm, as I used to, you realize that whether it’s being shoveled by a farm kid or by a guy in a suit who drives an $80,000 sports car, manure pretty much smells the same either way.

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Vagts says Garofalo is “holding working families hostage” on unemployment extension bill

FARMINGTON, MINN. – Minnesota House candidate Marla Vagts today criticized Rep. Pat Garofalo for adding controversial legislative language to the Iron Range unemployment insurance extension bill.

Garofalo’s amendment would tack on $256 million in tax cuts for businesses, which drastically increases the cost of the bill and, Vagts said, will decreases its chance of passage. The original unemployment extension bill would help about 6,000 families.

Vagts announced back in July that she is running against Garofalo for the District 58B seat.

“We can certainly debate the merits of the $258 million handout to the business community that he wanted,” Vagts said of the move. “But he obviously didn’t think he could muster the House Ways and Means Committee members’ support for such a measure on its own merit. Instead, he chose to hold the extension of unemployment benefits to working families hostage in order to get his rich supporters their own pay-day. Then he had the gall to insist “there’s no opposition to it.”

Garofalo was quoted in a March 14 WCCO news story as saying: “There’s nothing controversial in this bill. It’s clean. It’s safe to say that both the provisions you see right now, are clean and that there’s no opposition to it.”

“Yes, there is opposition to it,” Vagts said. “I’m opposed to it. And so are many, many other people who don’t think that the livelihoods of middle-class, rural families in Minnesota should be a political football for Rep. Garofalo to play his legislative games.”

Vagts also called into question Garofalo’s claim that the bill is “clean.”

“It’s kind of a ridiculous statement that ‘both provisions’ of the bill are clean,” she explained. “A clean bill wouldn’t have the second provision in the first place. The fact that, thanks to Rep. Garofalo, the bill now has a rider on it means that, by definition, the bill isn’t clean.”

A rider, in legislative lingo, is an amendment about a completely different topic than the original bill. It is often a controversial topic that legislators try to attach to popular bills in order to get the controversial language passed. This is usually used when the legislator assumes that the topic of the amendment probably won’t easily pass on its own merits.

“It’s bad enough to use the system for your own benefit, but it’s worse when he uses the system to intentionally slow down a bill that would benefit struggling families in such a vulnerable financial position,” Vagts said. “The fact that Rep. Garofalo would play this heartless game with people’s lives shows how out of touch he is with the day-to-day challenges of being a middle class, working Minnesotan family.”



Kick Off Marla’s Campaign on October 24th

my houseYou are cordially invited to our Country Jeans and Sweatshirt FUNdraiser on Saturday, October 24th!

Mingle with local leaders and activists as you enjoy food and beverages around the fire at Marla’s log home.

magic crystal fire

Support an objective listener and problem solver who acts compassionately and thoughtfully. It’s time for new leadership in Farmington, Minnesota and Southern Dakota County. 

If you are unable to attend, please consider contributing to Marla’s campaign. Thank you!

Here I come again!

Over this last year I’ve been watching; watching the district, watching the legislature and this past legislative session. There is work to be done, and it’s not currently being done.

I will fight for school funding so they don’t have huge class sizes and kids can learn; I will fight for clean water, to make sure our wells are not too polluted to drink; and I will fight for everyone in my district to have access to technology that now runs our world. These aren’t partisan things, these are our values and I intent to fight for them.

Watch this space for official press release for my run for District 58B Representative for 2016 and pictures of events and people around the Senate District 58 and the greater Congressional District 2.

~ Marla Vagts

Vagts announces House Run

FARMINGTON, MINN. – Calling the politics of division and isolation a “cancer”, Farmington resident Marla Vagts announced Monday that she will once again run for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 58B.

The professional contract negotiator and mother-of-five was the DFL-endorsed candidate in her legislative district in 2014, and she received the endorsements of several other organizations, such as Education Minnesota, the AFL-CIO and Women Winning.

“I believe that our life-experience is what qualifies us to run for this office,” said Vagts, who began her involvement in politics about five years ago after her husband, Tim, lost an eight-year battle with cancer.

“I lost a wonderful husband and my children lost their dedicated and loving father,” she said. “When you go through something like that you learn a lot of things. You learn how precious life is and how important family is. You learn to take the good with the bad.

“You learn how to become an advocate. You learn how to prioritize spending, because cancer doesn’t just destroy a body, it destroys your savings, your food budget, your children’s college funds and your life style. You learn the value of community. You learn that some problems are too big for any one person to deal with alone. And these are lesson’s that seem to be missing at the capitol.”

Vagts said her opponent, Rep. Pat Garofalo, is a large part of the problem.

Garofalo, who was chief author last session of a bill to lower the minimum wage for restaurant employees, also made headlines last year for Twitter comments regarding professional basketball players that were labeled ‘racist” by news agencies such as Fox News.

“We need advocates at the capitol who understand that helping people at the lowest times in their lives makes us all stronger when that challenge is met. We need to prioritize our spending. And we need a representative who knows that a community that works together is stronger than any single person.”