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Skoe’s aide, Persell listened to concerns

Most of us expect our elected officials to serve all of their constituents and be familiar with and willing to address and advocate for their community, regardless of party affiliation. This would include protecting those among us that are most vulnerable.

This did not happen last year when the state shut down during the month of July of 2011. Here in Bemidji, 23 developmentally disabled adults, many of whom lived on their own, lost their support services for over a month. All of these people are considered vulnerable adults in need of various support services.

Calls and emails to Rep. David Hancock and Sen. John Carlson were for the most part ignored. For two weeks, multiple requests of Rep. Hancock to meet with us and at least hear the concerns and meet the people who were being affected were met with refusal. No help was ever offered by either of these men. The only people who listened and attempted to help were Sen. Rod Skoe’s aide and Rep. John Persell. We were fortunate in the end that all of the service recipients came through the shutdown OK and hopefully we will not see another state shutdown in the future. Additionally, we all learned much from this experience, and I and many others will take this with us to the polls in November.