Comments on US Senator Paul Wellstone and the political climate following the Nov. 5 elections.
“We lost a great advocate with the death of Senator Paul Wellstone. Comments on US Senator Paul Wellstone and the political climate following the Nov. 5 elections.
“We lost a great advocate with the death of Senator Paul Wellstone. He was an advocate who understood the needs of undeserved people. He workedd to see that government was a helpful, positive force for all people. Wellstone spoke for more than just this state, but for the entire country. He reminded me of Fritz Mondale.
“We, African Americans, are going to have to work hard to hold onto the gains made in this state; we’ll have to insist that the rights and economic needs of our people are met. We’re going to have to reactivate strategies and the people to fight.
Watts said African Americans have always found ways to help ourselves and this should not stop now, with a shift in leadership.
Regarding Republican Senator-elect Norm Coleman, Watts said, “Coleman did not agree with any issue that Wellstone backed. We are going to have to go to our churches and other groups and make sure that we work things out, our answers are in our history.
“We need to never fall to indifference, that can turn into negativity. We need to bring out our ideas and keep moving forward.”
“Paul Wellstone was one of those valuable possessions –I don’t think people will actually appreciate the value that his presence brought until certain aspects of his work and his life hit them. We lost a friend.
“I supported Norm Coleman when he first ran for Mayor –when he was a Democrat. We talked about ideas and ideals when I served on his Economic Advisory Council. However, those ideas and priorities changed when he changed parties.
“We as a community will have to pay attention to Coleman the same way we pay attention to other elected officials. People do not pay attention to the community, sometimes, until they hear from the community on a wide scale –this means sending many, many letters and invitations to come to our communities.
“The Asian community needs representation, and so does the African American community. Our presence in this community –the Diverse District of 65A/Frogtown-University neighborhood—predated the presence of the Asian community. We have been involved in Minnesota politics longer than they have, but we have not garnered the support of the political parties they way they have. This lack of support is because of a lack of respect.
During election time is when parties step into the communities. They do not respect our efforts when we have been giving them long-term support for years.
Willie Mae Wilson, St. Paul Urban League:
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Senator Paul Wellstone. The last meeting I attended with Wellstone was at Higher Ground School in St. Paul. We had a good discussion on education and health care.
At the last African American Leadership meeting Wellstone attended, again we talked about issues that were pertinent to our community –he was responsive. He was always ready to help.
I worked with Senator-elect Norm Coleman when he was mayor of St. Paul. I believe that he will maintain an open door policy as a senator, the same he had when he was mayor. He always attended out meetings in African American neighborhoods.
We as organizations will have to put together our agendas in regards to health care, education, housing, etc. and present them to him.