Washington County Watchdog: Citizen oversight to the local government in Washington County, MN. A place where concerned taxpayers can get informed and inform others. We are not paid. We don't represent any political party. We keep all sides in check.
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Monday, May 4, 2015
At Her Own Crossroads: Will Representative Fenton Lead or Appease
Representative Kelly Fenton (R) of District 53B in Woodbury is now at her own crossroads. She must decide, will she lead or appease regarding the Gateway Corridor/ Gold Line bus rapid transit corridor as the 2015 legislative session winds down. In her very own recent survey, 600 of her constituents responded with 45.6% stating they want the corridor; yet only 26.8% of them said they'd be willing to pay the necessary higher taxes to pay for the $485 million dollar corridor.
Thankfully, we live in a republic not a democracy. We have elections to appoint representatives who we assume do their due diligence to research on the best way to lead. Weighing cost vs benefit of every decision. Here the evidence is staring her in the face. Like a parent with a child who has little understanding of money when wanting every toy... 45.6% of her constituents are saying they want the Gateway Corridor; yet only 26.8% of them stated they'd be willing to pay more on even just one of the revenue sources for the corridor such as this (the sales tax). Like any responsible legislator or parent, they'd see this disconnect as an opportunity to educate and state that you can't have something without paying for it. Furthermore, understand the added costs of the purchase, etc.
Woodbury is waking up to this expensive reality of the Gateway Corridor. A brick is yet to be laid, yet support for the corridor has fallen 12% according to a 130 page survey recently released from the city.
Recently elected, Fenton appeared to be the perfect candidate for this delicate job of explaining the common sense principle of having to pay for what you buy. She campaigned as a strong fiscal conservative "I will work steadfastly to ensure that government services are provided efficiently and that dollars are spent wisely. Fiscal restraint and effective, smart government are complementary to each other and I will work on your behalf to promote both in St. Paul." She was outspoken against wasteful spending and numerous times referenced the Gateway Corridor as a prime example of wasteful spending in her district.
However, once elected she surprised us all and has joined with the far left to support the Gateway Corridor. Far left, because the Corridor was denied State funding requests even with majority democrat control of the legislature the two previous sessions. Her outspoken base was alerted to this when she authored House file 1616 this year to fund the Gateway Corridor with $3,000,000 and defended it in a House Committee on March 25th. One previous supporter, Bob Tatreau stated in the Woodbury Bulletin, "Fenton’s performance presenting this transit request on March 25 is a stunning turnaround from her campaigning statements I heard condemning and decrying this spending. I heard her speak against wasteful transit spending."
Will Representative Fenton lead based off the results of her own survey and campaign promises or will she appease the special interest groups with vested interests in seeing this corridor built regardless of the mounting evidence the cost of the corridor is far greater than any perceived benefit?