Letter to the Editor Concerning Tropical Birds – Senator Gen Olson

To the Editor:

Residents of the new Senate District #33 have received two literature pieces recently trashing Connie Doepke for wasteful spending of your tax dollars on tropical birds. They have been generated and paid for by the Freedom Club PAC with money given by business people for whom I have had great respect. These allegations, however, are not the truth.

The small footnote on these pieces refers you to House Journal 2010, which includes all of the actions of the MN House of Representative for that session. They have isolated a miniscule provision (on page 12,973 of the House Journal) included in a 108-page bill on Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources, a final agreement that most of us voted for, supporting then-Governor Pawlenty.

This provision allowed the DNR Commissioner to enter into an agreement, not yet reached in 2012, for improving winter habitat in Costa Rica only for songbirds that breed in or migrate thorough Minnesota, not toucans or parrots as portrayed in the literature. The money that is used for such an endeavor is from the Non-game Wildlife Fund to which people can contribute on a line on their income tax form, which clearly states that it reduces their refund or increases the amount owed. This option has been on our tax form since about 1980.

The Commissioner has set aside, but not spent, $10,000 (dollars, not millions) for this one-time effort. It must be matched by private dollars. Only people who wish to invest in efforts to preserve and protect the songbirds and other non-game wildlife are paying for such a project.

I suspect that the Freedom Club business people make their business decisions on better information than they are using for this political choice.

Connie Doepke will be a Minnesota Senator you can respect. I urge you to cast your vote for her in the August 14 primary election.


Gen Olson
State Senator
District #33