My Point of View: Don’t throw stones when your house is made of glass

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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My Point of View by Brad Kramer

Benjamin Franklin once wisely advised, “Don’t throw stones at your neighbors if your own windows are glass.” In last week’s Albert Lea Tribune, Jenifer Vogt-Erickson’s column, “National farm policy should reflect our shared values,” seemed to overlook this wisdom. It appears Ms. Vogt-Erickson forgot about that whole “glass windows” thing.

Brad Kramer

Ms. Vogt-Erickson’s commentary aimed to create a negative portrayal of Congressman Brad Finstad. Contrary to her claims, Finstad used a one-minute speech to congratulate a Minnesota agricultural producer on a milestone anniversary. Weeks later, he similarly recognized a World War II veteran on his 103rd birthday. Vogt-Erickson hasn’t criticized the latter action by the Congressman.

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It’s perplexing why Ms. Vogt-Erickson would choose to attack a Minnesota, woman-owned, family farm celebrating a milestone. Perhaps she and her preferred candidate, Rachel Bohman, would rather support foreign-owned agricultural conglomerates and their corporate male leaders? Attacking women leaders in agriculture doesn’t seem to align with the values southern Minnesota wants in their national farm policy, but Ms. Vogt-Erickson is welcome to promote that stance on behalf of Bohman.

While Ms.Vogt-Erickson bemoaned supporters of political campaigns she opposes in her editorial last week, she’s been silent about the donors bankrolling her party and preferred candidates. For instance, she has not expressed similar sentiments in writings about the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, which received the most Union political action committee money of any party nationwide in the 2022 election cycle — nearly $8 million to the Minnesota DFL, and their respective caucuses. Union political spending in Minnesota, totaling over $13 million, overwhelmingly favored DFL candidates with 99% going to them and only 1% to Republicans.

In Minnesota, no player is more powerful than Alida Rockefeller Messinger, the 76-year-old heir to the Rockefeller fortune and ex-wife of Governor Dayton. In 2018, she contributed $2.2 million to DFL groups, including those supporting candidates in Freeborn County. Additionally, records show that 23 of America’s richest billionaires donated over $6.2 million to the DFL between 2020 and 2023. This includes out-of-state donors like Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who funneled over $2.6 million to the DFL between 2020 and 2022.

Bohman, like other DFL candidates, is likely to be financed by ultra-wealthy donors. Albert Lea Tribune readers likely won’t see critical commentary from Vogt-Erickson when those contributions are made. Then again, Ms. Vogt-Erickson is probably not as “turned off” as she lamented last week when top one-percenters like Rockefeller, Pritzker and Soros shower millions of dollars to her preferred candidates.

If Ms. Vogt-Erickson wanted to discuss specific agricultural policy differences between her preferred candidate and Congressman Finstad, she should have done so. However, such commentary might fall on deaf ears given Finstad’s strong record of approval from agricultural producers of all types and sizes across Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. If Rachel

Bohman’s campaign strategy involves lobbing rocks like hand grenades from her Hennepin County office toward Freeborn County, they would be wise to ensure their own, much larger, glass mansion of the ultra-rich, is in order before casting the first stone.

Brad Kramer is a member of the Freeborn County GOP Party.