The Flag Ceremony

The meeting at Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen was a huge success. I believe it put us in position for 2020. A highlight for me was the flag ceremony provided by the Ojibwe Veterans.

Healthcare Advocates Rally

Join Healthcare Advocates for a “Sunshine Rally” to Stop the Sunset of the Provider Tax!

Thursday, March 21, at 10 a.m., in the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda,

The Land Stewardship Project organizes for healthcare for all because we know that the lack of affordable, high-quality care is a major barrier to our vision of thriving rural communities with more farmers on the land, and with people able to choose the work they want to do without worries about healthcare coverage. Every person deserves care, and it is our responsibility as people to work together through our government to ensure we have a healthcare system that meets everyone’s needs. We know we have lots of work to do to achieve this goal of major healthcare reform. But incredibly, right now some elected officials want to take us backwards and make the rural healthcare crisis even worse by creating a roughly $700-million-a-year hole in Minnesota’s healthcare budget.

Why the Provider Tax Matters:

Minnesota’s Health Care Access Fund is used to fund public health programs and healthcare for one million Minnesotans enrolled in Medicaid and MinnesotaCare. This money comes from a 2% tax paid by healthcare providers, a formula which has worked successfully since 1992, when it was created with bipartisan leadership and signed into law by Gov. Arne Carlson. But as part of a deal to end the 2011 state government shutdown, Republican leadership of the Minnesota House and Senate struck an agreement with Gov. Mark Dayton to set a December 2019 sunset date on the provider tax. Stopping the sunset would prevent an unnecessary budget catastrophe by simply continuing what has worked well for decades to ensure stable funding for Medicaid and MinnesotaCare. But unfortunately, some legislators are now trying to misrepresent what the provider tax is and what continuing it would mean. We need to make sure we continue investing this public money for the public good.

Join Us to Speak Up!

It’s time to send a loud and clear message to our legislators: stop the sunset of the provider tax! That’s why the This Is Medicaid coalition and other healthcare advocates are hosting a “Sunshine Rally” in the State Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, March 21, starting at 10 a.m. Click here for details. This will be an opportunity to learn more about why the provider tax is so important and let our legislators know that investing in healthcare matters to us.

We are pleased that Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have made keeping the provider tax a key priority in their budget proposal. Click here to read an LSP commentary that has run in newspapers across the state describing the important steps forward in the administration’s plan. Stopping the sunset of the provider tax keeps our state on a stable footing from which we can move forward with greatly needed long-term healthcare reform, as well as short-term relief for the many Minnesotans facing unaffordable costs. The health and well-being of all people and of the land are interconnected, and we cannot thrive as a state if we cut our investments in the healthcare Minnesotans need.

We look forward to seeing you at the rally on Thursday, March 21. Please reply to this e-mail to let us know if you plan to attend, and feel free to contact us with questions or ideas.


LSP Healthcare Organizers

Paul Sobocinski, Wabasso, MN, 507-430-1509, e-mail

Johanna Rupprecht, Lewiston, MN, 507-523-3366, e-mail

Give the Devil His Due (With Reservations) NAFTA

NAFTA did need to be renegotiated. It is over 20 years old and out of date. The new deal is somewhat better than the old, not as revolutionary as touted. I think what is important to Todd County is the Dairy and to me personally is the Internet Commerce.

The following is from Marketwatch.

Is the new Nafta a modern trade deal for the 21st century or just a politically palatable do-over for President Trump that’s of little consequence?

Only time will tell. But the new agreement struck by the U.S. and Canada on Sunday night does include major changes on disputed topics such as autos, dairy, drugs and the Internet.

Wall Street reactively positively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.49%  jumped more than 250 points and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.19%  also advanced.


Here are key points of what’s tentatively being called the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.


The new deal requires 75% of the contents of any auto imported into the U.S. to be made in North America in order to avoid tariffs. That’s up from 62.5% under the old North American Free Trade agreement that originally took effect in 1994.

The aim of the Trump administration is to help American manufacturers of auto parts.

Auto Workers

For its part, Canada won concessions giving it the right to effectively continue exporting cars and trucks to the U.S. at current levels — and then some — free of any other major regulatory hurdles.

The contents of as much as 45% of any auto imported duty-free into the U.S. must be made by workers making at least $16 an hour. What’s more, the new deal includes language meant to strengthen the ability of unions in Mexico to strike.

These provisions are unusual for a Republican administration and represent a victory of sorts for U.S. labor unions that chafe at lower wages in Mexico.

If anything, Canada will also benefit from this new wrinkle.


Canada will open up more of its domestic market to American producers. It will also drop several controversial rules enacted recently that blocked U.S. products derived from dried milk and other dairy derivatives.

The dispute over dairy had been one of the biggest holdups to a new deal.


Canada will extend patent protection for certain prescription drugs to 10 years from 8 eight years.

Internet commerce

The deal sets new rules for online shopping and Internet commerce, neither of which existed at the time of the 1994 agreement.

U.S. goods costing up to C$150 or less, for example, will no longer be subject to Canadian duties. That’s up from C$20. The higher threshold should help boost online stores in the U.S. selling to Canadian customers.


The U.S. gave in to Canadian demands to retain several mechanisms to resolve trade disputes between the two countries. The concession protects Canadian lumber producers in a long-running dispute with the U.S. over charges of dumping.

One old provision that allowed companies to sue governments over alleged trade violations was scaled back, another surprising win for liberal critics of Nafta.


U.S. tariffs on foreign steel will remain in place and are subject to further negotiation between the three countries, but the expectation is that they will come to an accord in the near future. The White House has sought to protect American steel on national-security grounds

The new trade agreement could end after 16 years if the countries don’t extend the deal, a change demanded by Trump.

A senior U.S. official told reporters the sunset clause “will ensure that we never end up in this position again, with an agreement that is stale and outdated and unbalanced in a way that is not beneficial to the United States.”

The U.S., Mexico and Canada will review the agreement every six years, and if fresh problems arise, they’ll have to negotiate a fix or face the threat of the deal eventually lapsing.

“In a nutshell, Canada has made concessions, but is coming out quite clean considering the array of potentially negative options or threats that were on the table,” said Robert Kavcic of Toronto-based BMO Capital

Debate Get Together

Greetings everyone! This is your official invite to Wednesday’s night DFL “Debate Viewing Social” starting at 7 pm, Wednesday, October 19th at the Former Harvest Thyme Bistro in the Bernauer Building, downtown Wadena. Beverages will be available, but you can also bring your own. We are asking that everyone bring some snacks to share. House candidate Meg Litts will be there, so this is also a great time to chat and get to know her. We are also trying to see if Senate candidate Jason Wienerman can make it. Please RSVP back to Mim Maas: Subject the email:  RSVP