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Darrell Downs: Local projects needed a purple vote

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If Sen. Jeremy Miller’s Purple Caucus was real, I would have expected him to reach across the aisle to support local projects, like the WSU Education Village.

On May 5, 2016, when the DFL was the majority of the Senate, Sen. Leroy Stumpf (DFL) introduced a capital investment bill that included the Education Village. The bill failed by one vote short of the required three-fifths majority. It was a partisan vote – Miller voted no.

Had he reached across the aisle, his single vote would have passed the bill and saved thousands of dollars. When the GOP took over the Senate in 2017, Miller changed his vote to support the project when it was packaged in a Republican-led bonding bill. Miller’s compass pointed red, not purple.

If the Purple Caucus was real today, Miller might have voted for the Winona County Jail funding, WSU’s replacement of the Gildemeister and Watkins buildings, and improvements to the Preston Veterans Home.

He didn’t vote for a bonding bill that included those projects because the GOP plan didn’t involve working with Democrats.

Hope springs eternal for these projects in the next special session, but so far, Miller’s purple is just another shade of red.

Darrell Downs, Winona


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