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As others see it: Sign of the times

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One particularly annoying aspect of any election season is the use of half-truths to bash a candidate in the loyal opposition. ...

Consider the recent example that is occurring here in the District 26A Minnesota House contest between incumbent Rep. Kory Kath and his opponent, Dave Thul. A billboard on the interstate blasts Mr. Kath for voting for a bill that would allow the state of Minnesota to borrow $24 million for a natural history museum. The top line of billboard, printed in the largest letters on the sign and in bold typeface, reads simply, "Your Paycheck's History." The implication seems clear: Because Mr. Kath voted for a particular bill before the House, taxpayers in Minnesota are going to end up paying more in taxes.

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Is the billboard accurate? Well, yes and no -- but more "no" than "yes."

The bill in question was the 2009 bonding bill that did include $24 million for a natural history museum -- an item that often appears in such bills and just as often are cut from them either before final passage or by the governor's use of the line-item veto. When the 2010 bonding bill came before the House, complete with the history museum, Mr. Kath, a Democrat, voted against it twice before finally voting for it once he got assurances from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty that certain parts would be cut. So, no, Mr. Kath was not a cheerleader for spending $24 million for a museum that the state can hardly afford.

Adding insult to the injury caused by the billboard's half-truths is the fact that it was paid for by the Freedom Club, a state political action committee. In other words, an outside group that has no connection to Steele County or to other parts of District 26A and no ties to Mr. Thul's campaign saw fit to come into town and besmirch this election. ...

Owatonna People's Press

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