THREE ISSUES – Marriage Amendment, Saint Paul schools, Voter ID

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Kari Richtsmeier lives and works in Saint Paul and is very enthusiastic about politics — she loves to discuss and analyze what is going on in the world. Kari is an open-minded person who carries the German and American identity in her heart, as she has both German and American citizenship. She is an active member of the DFL and used to work on the election campaign but can’t help this year because she is too busy with her work as the Director of the International and Off Campus Programs at the Hamline University and German language teacher.

Her first issue is the Marriage Amendment:

“I absolutely believe that we should not put something like this in the constitution. The only thing it does is to allow discrimination to be embedded in the constitution. The only thing the amendment does is make discrimination legal. That’s not a good thing. I really think if it would be about other issues, let’s say African American rights to work, we wouldn’t do that. So I don’t see any difference. It is a human right to be able to be with who you want to be.”

Her second issue are the Saint Paul’s schools:

“The second is more a state or even a local issue for Saint Paul’s schools. I think we should vote on the referendum to increase our tax in order to support the school system.  One of the things that we know is that a lot of kids are going out to the suburbs because the schools are better supported. But moreover what’s happening, there are kids who are staying in the city, who cannot afford to go out to the suburbs. It’s creating a class difference between what’s being taught. So it’s stratifying the social economic area. We also need to have smaller classrooms. The teachers are not very well paid; they are using their own funds to buy school supplies. You can’t expect children to do well in school when they don’t have things that they need.”

Her third issue is the Voter ID:

“The third issue is Voter Identification. Again, I don’t think that that should be put into the constitution that you have to have an ID to vote because it disadvantages. It disadvantages poor people who can’t afford to get an ID. It disadvantages the elderly who probably live in nursing homes where they don’t get out very well.

“The crazy thing is that we have state IDs and passports, but most people in the United States don’t have a passport because they don’t can afford it. It costs $180 and if we had something that is affordable for everybody then I think a National ID would be ok, but it can’t be unattainable for those who don’t have finances, like elderly, new immigrants or poor people. It prevents them from participating fully in society, so the only way to have a National ID if it is essentially free.”