LETTER: What’s the wrong with progressive?

To the Editor:

Republican State Rep. Randy Jessup stopped by my house recently to drop off his literature and introduce himself. I told him that I support Democrats. He then left by saying, “Just don’t vote for a progressive!”

I just thought that was odd. Some pundits and news sources have taken words like “liberal” and “progressive” and turned them into epithets. A progressive is someone who believes that our work is not done. Republican President Theodore Roosevelt called himself progressive because he thought the status quo created barriers against clean water, competition in the marketplace, and safe workplaces. 

Progressives (in both parties) have broken down barriers to Americans in civil and voting rights, gender and marriage equality, the environment, public health and safety, infrastructure, safe food and water, and equal protection before the law. Not all these goals have been realized completely despite what the law says, or past accomplishments are under threat. 

Please look around, Rep. Jessup. We have it pretty good in Minnesota because progressives stood up and provided so many of the things we enjoy today. So yes, I’m a progressive, because America and Minnesota still have a lot of work to do.

Kelly Richards, Shoreview

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