I wrote a Community Voices story over at Twin Cities Daily Planet – “Governor’s Office, Legislature at odds over funding for Veterans Home” – because I’m a recipient of a Media Skills Fellowship and I’ll be covering veterans issues. From it:
Long story short: the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis used to be a pit. Among the Home’s campus were old buildings that had not been well maintained along with others that even had they been properly maintained were obsolete anyway. And, a dangerous one. In addition to the deferred maintenance there were problems with care to the point that patients had died. So a plan was put in place, and the turn around began.
Bottom line? There’s a 3 phase plan; phase 1 has been completed. Phase 2 has been funded, but cannot commence until Phase 3 has been funded. So this project to fix a major problem is on hold, because for some reason, the leadership hasn’t figured out what Governor Dayton’s office has: not only is it the right thing to do, it’s political suicide to do the wrong thing and NOT fund it. Right now, in the veteran community, Dayton is a hero. House and Senate leadership? Not so much, to put it mildly….
Here’s a quote from a GOPer on this very subject:
“We started renovation of the Minneapolis home back in 2009,” said Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake). “Are we really doing what we should be doing for our men and women who have served our country? I really feel that the perception out there that we’re not. We’re putting money into museums, state trails, sculpture gardens, nature centers and so forth. I think our men and women that have served our country over the years really deserve better. … I think we should be looking at finishing that project in Minneapolis and then going forward with some of these other concepts.”
Does anyone really think that if the DFL-led House and Senate pass a bonding bill without funding a project that’s already started that Democrats across the state won’t be seeing lit pieces based on that above quote hitting mail boxes in their districts?
This is an unforced error. And that’s becoming a pattern; just last week The Big E wrote about this one: “First raise the minimum wage”.
Any bets the GOP 2014 Lit Piece on not funding the veterans home will include that one, too?
The House and the Senate need to step up their games, and fast. Funding the veterans home, which includes a large chunk of federal money, is a good start.