The three state legislators representing District 2 held a Sept. 7 town hall meeting in Park Rapids.

Sen. Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids), Rep. Steve Green (R-Fosston) and Rep. Matt Grossell (R-Clearbrook) participated in the event, offering local citizens a chance to discuss a variety of state issues with them.

Utke said he was impressed by the turnout, which filled the church to overflowing.

Green said, “There were around 200 people there and the feedback we received is very helpful.

One thing that really stood out is the high level of concern people have regarding vaccine mandates. Most of that message came from people who work at nursing homes or hospitals, but also state employees.”

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Issues at stake include personal freedom and medical freedom, Utke said, adding that if the federal government enacts a mandate through rule-making, he expects healthcare facilities that do not have all their employees vaccinated to lose their Medicare and Medicaid funding.

“That’s gonna cripple our rural nursing homes, because the employees aren’t gonna do it,” he said. “It’s gone way overboard. We have freedoms in this country. We have laws that are supposed to protect people from a lot of this, and it’s being kind of overrun at this point. So, I think that’s why people are energized and upset and paying attention, all at once.”

Utke added, “The next month or two are gonna be real interesting as push comes to shove to see who caves. I hope the people stand strong, because that’s the only they’re gonna have their rights and their freedoms.”

Other topics discussed included car emission standards, redistricting in Minnesota, military veterans benefits, private property rights, the state’s tax structure, expensive medications on the approved drug list, in-person voting and voter IDs in townships and health insurance.

“We also heard a good deal of concern about everything from school standards to Critical Race Theory, emergency powers, election integrity and Afghanistan,” said Green. “In fact, the discussion flowed so well, the meeting lasted more than three hours.”

Citizens were urged to get involved in their communities through the county board, school board, city councils, township boards and statewide committees.