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Local Women's Voter Leader Takes Issue with Republican State Candidate

Cushing disagrees with Roseville's Mark Fotsch who has vowed not to participate in any debates hosted by the League of Women Voters-Minnesota because he thinks it is "no longer non-partisan."

On Friday, state legislative candidate Mark Fotsch, of Roseville, said he doesn't plan to participate in any debates hosted by the League of Women Voters this fall because the organization is taking  stands against the proposed Marriage and Voter ID constitutional amendments.

In a letter to the editor to Roseville Patch, the Republican candidate for new state House District 66A asserted the League's positions against the Marriage amendment and the Voter ID measure put it in sync with the state Democratic Party's platform.

"They (the League) have truly moved to support the DFL Party in Minnesota and should no longer be considered “non-partisan"," Fotsch contended.

League executive director Laura Wang disagreed. to see Friday's  Roseville Patch story that includes Fotsch's letter to the editor and a statement from Wang. 

Local League board member responds

Meanwhile, local League board member Carolyn Cushing also took issue with Fotsch's comments. She is member of the League's Roseviile-Maplewood-Falcon Heights (RoMaFC) chapter. Here is her statement: 

"The League of Women Voters has a history that dates back over 90 years
to the campaign for women's suffrage. Once they were legally allowed
to participate, women decided they would work to become informed
voters.

So women selected issues to study, worked to reach consensus
as an organization, and then took what action they could to reach the
desired changes.
In this long history, we have worked on many contentious issues but
have remained a non-partisan organization. Members have always had a
variety of backgrounds and opinions.

The League has NEVER endorsed any candidate or party. Individual members are often active in political parties. Many are independents. Sometimes our positions have been shared by one or the other of the political parties. The League has no control over which groups agree or disagree with them!

Our educational efforts have always been obviously non-partisan. We
hold candidate forums where voters can question candidates in person.
(We cancel forums if one party refuses to participate in order not to
provide special access.)

We publish and distribute position statements from all candidates so voter can easily make comparisons. We encourage citizens to register. We provide easy access to information that directs voter to the proper polling place. None of this is new. We have done this year after year.

We also have members who lobby for action on positions we have agreed
to. This is only done after members have reached a conclusion on an
issue. Our positions are public and available.

The League positions on the amendments should not be a surprise. We have long-established support for civil rights, human rights and equal opportunity. An amendment that restricts rights for a particular group of citizens does not match these positions.

As for the voter amendment, Leagues all over the country have risen up
against these laws that on close examination seem aimed at democracy.
Extending information and encouraging participation has been our
purpose. We encourage all groups and individuals to find out what is
really involved and how much we will lose. Vote NO."

John Kysylyczyn September 09, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I have supported the League candidate forums in the past and have encouraged candidates to participate. I have participated in them myself. Over the last 15 years, in my opinion, there has been a shift in this organization to one that is more partisan. I have to agree with Mr. Fotsch's posiiton. These recent constitutional amendments, and the League's decision to not only take a stand, but to actually sue in court, has moved this organization into partisan political activity. I would have to say that this is the straw that broke the camels back and I applaud Mr. Fotsch for his position.
John Kysylyczyn September 09, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Fotsch's comments about LWV are spot on. This organization has an identity problem. They want to be considered non-partisan and issue oriented, but they fail because they push forward selected information that fits the personal goals of certain members. They claim that they don't support candidates and hang their hat on that. Big deal. A lot of groups spend money and claim not to support candidates. What makes an organization rise above the fold of partisanship is whether they choose to present all the information on a given subject and promote balanced discussion. This same concept defines an excellent city department head from a marginal one. An excellent city department head brings forward all options and information to the council. They provide pros and cons for all options. They leave the decision to the elected officials. The marginal department head brings forward some of the options. Often times they leave out options they personally don't like. Then they bring forward only that information that supports the options they personally agree with. They steer the council to a certain outcome. Both are department heads, and both receive a salary for their work. But clearly one is better than the other. There are lots of organizations out there. LWV is simply in the marginal category like most, not the excellent category.
Luke September 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The two amendments should not be partisan issues. One denies human rights to select group of people and the other takes away the right to vote for an hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans. Everyone, regardless of their falling on the political spectrum, should be against these issues. Fotsch is just running scared from Representative Lesch. If he won't debate, good luck winning. Why should we vote for someone who won't even stand up for himself in a debate, let alone our district in Congress?
John Kysylyczyn September 09, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Luke, it is rather obvious that you are some sort of plant who doesn't live in the district since you don't even know tho Fotsch is running against or what office he is even running for. Let me give you a few small hints, it isn't Lesch. Second hint, it is a female. Third, it is a state office, not federal. If you are a phony that is going to masquerade as some resident of this district, you have to do a better job than this. This attack reminds me of the DFL ad that recently ran out of town where they attacked MN House member David Hancock but published a photo of Member of Parliament David Hancock of Canada. LOL...
N Riano September 10, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Luke, explain, if you can, what "human right" is being denied, and who is being denied said alleged "right". Secondly, the right to vote is NOT being taken away from anyone but illegal aliens and dead people. Why are you afraid of people having to prove who they are to vote? Shouldn't we be sure that I am who I say I am when I go vote? I could easily (but won't) go to your polling place, say I am you and vote in your name. The fact is that a majority of voters, on both sides of the aisle are for a voter ID law. And where do you get the number "hundreds of thousands" of Minnesotans? You just made that up, didn't you.
Luke September 10, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Sorry, I got 66A and 66B mixed up. I was stuck in the pre-redistricting areas. Hausman and Fotsh are running for the Minnesota House of Repersentatives, also called the Minnesota Congress. As for Fotsch, I hear of him so rarely it hard to remember what he's even running for. Maybe if he went to a debate or two we'd get to know him...
Luke September 10, 2012 at 07:06 PM
First, marriage is a human right. Everyone is equal to the same access to marriage. UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 16: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml Then we have the Loving v. Virginia case, in which marriage is declared a "fundamental right" on par with those granted in the bill of rights: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml Finally, Article 1, Section 2 of our own Minnesota Constitution declares that everyone shall have equal rights: https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/constitution/ To deny a certain group of people the right to marry someone they love because of their sexual orientation is no different than to deny because of race. As for voter ID, the Secretary of State's office predicts 215,000 voters will be affected by the ID. From the Star Tribune: https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/constitution/ In Minnesota, we have the highest voter turnout and we should be proud of that. Why make it harder to vote? In a democracy, we want everyone to vote. I didn't hear any complaint about voter ID 5 years ago under Pawlenty. Now that old white men are finally becoming a minority and power is slowly slipping away from the Republicans, they will do anything they can to stem the tide. We've had 13 cases of voter fraud between 2000 and 2010. Since you don't seem to trust me, look it up: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/voter-id-charts-maps
John Kysylyczyn September 10, 2012 at 11:00 PM
"...also called the Minnesota Congress"... Who calls it this? LMAO
Luke September 10, 2012 at 11:43 PM
I enjoy Roseville Patch for its articles on local news, but the community leaves something desired. Comments out of context, ignoring the majority of my points, ad hominen attacks, etc. If you have an issue with my stance, debate it with me. Otherwise you're nothing more than a troll. Seriously, "LMAO" and "LOL"? What are you, twelve? I've met you before and you seemed like a fine person, so I don't know why you think just because you're on the internet means you can do anything you like. The reason I like debates like those sponsored by the LWV is because they educate the public, which is apparently quite necessary. Minnesota, like much of the country, has a bicameral legislative system. That means we have two separate legislative chambers, the Minnesota Senate and the Minnesota House of Representatives. Together they make up the legislative branch of Minnesota, called the Minnesota Congress or the Minnesota Legislature. So Fotsch is running for both the House of Representatives and Congress. Earlier you accused me of not living in this district because I didn't know these things. I know you live here, I'm just wondering if you not just a kid trolling over the internet.
Luke September 11, 2012 at 02:28 AM
John Kysylyczyn and N Riano, don't run away now just because I used some facts. There's plenty of studies out there that disagree with me. I'd love to have a good debate for once. Maybe you can make for Fotsch's refusal to debate!
John Kysylyczyn September 11, 2012 at 07:44 AM
Sorry but I had some work to do tonight. I didn't have time tonight to play in the sand box with an anonymous person named Luke. Wasn't there a move called Cool Hand Luke? Paul Newman?
John Kysylyczyn September 11, 2012 at 08:08 AM
LMAO again. Come on Luke. I actually use my real name. The forum manager has met me personally on numerous occasions. You are asking me if I am real? The guy who is posting with just a first name that is probably fake? LOL... You are going after a legislative candidate. Defending an organization that is holding informational forms on issues that they have taken a side on and then claims that they are bi-partisan, non-partisan, or whatever. Then you keep referring to this Minnesota Congress. Sorry, but we have now entered the Twilight Zone.
Luke September 11, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Yeah, using a name that you entered totally makes you a real person. The John Kysylyczyn I knew some what matches your personality, but its a common thing and I doubt he was tech savvy enough to use the internet. Its probably a lot worse to imitate a mayor anyways. Does he know you're doing this? How does "knowing" the forum manager mean anything? Guess what? I know the forum manager as well. Prove me wrong. As for the earlier posts of mine arguing for Fotsch to have a debate, you still haven't answered that. I'll take that is a forfeit.
John Kysylyczyn September 11, 2012 at 08:02 PM
LMAO... Whatever Luke Skywalker.
Scott Carlson September 11, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Some of the recent comments have gotten chippy and a bit too personal. Please stick to the issue. There is enough to debate here without personally attacking one another. There has been plenty of good debate, pro and con about Mr. Fotsch's stand.
Mark Fotsch October 26, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I am excited to be in a debate with Representative Alice Hausman and Dave Thomas. Luke, John and Nestor, you are all very well educated voters and I hope you will attend the Patch debate next Thursday. Regards, Mark Fotsch Announcement: Roseville Patch is pleased to announce that on Nov. 1 we will host a debate between Republican Mark Fotsch, DFLer Alice Hausman and Independence Party candidate Dave Thomas for Minnesota State House District 66A. The forum is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. that evening at the Radisson Hotel Roseville, 2540 Cleveland Ave. N. Since we first announced this forum, Thomas has also committed to participate.

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