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Lawmakers should reject Obama trade deal

Did you know the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) contains provisions to allow corporations to move “hundreds of thousands” of foreign workers into America without any restrictions? This is part of the trade mergers quietly being negotiated under the fast-track authority Congress is about to grant to President Obama.

Also, did you know, according to Forbes, once these workers get their new Social Security numbers, they can apply for up to three years in back taxes, even though they never paid in a penny?  But what is more alarming is that our South Dakota senators and representative don’t seem to know these facts — or are they just ignoring their constituents in favor of the big money global corporations that seem to have their ear? According to Sen. Jon Tester, under NAFTA, America has lost sovereignty by the creation of international courts known as NAFTA tribunals and if these new mergers are allowed to happen, we will lose even more.

As our three U.S. representatives have made very clear: they intend to vote to give Obama what he wants unless they hear from more of us. Call them today, because the vote will happen soon.

— Gary Velder, Newell

Kooiker has worked to improve race relations

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As we look to the future, one of Rapid City's greatest needs is to improve race relations in our community. There is a widespread perception that we are a racist city. Only a concerted effort can change this perception.

Sam Kooiker has worked hard to promote better race relations and to show that discrimination will not be tolerated here. He has strengthened our Human Relations Commission, which hears complaints of discrimination. He has reached out to the Native American community, for instance, after the beer-throwing incident at the civic center. Kooiker and our new police chief held an open meeting at an area church and heard a litany of long-held grievances. As mayor, Kooiker has maintained an open door to the entire community, not just the people who agree with him politically. He has been the victim of prejudice himself, because of a physical disability, not because of his race. This experience has made him more sensitive to other types of prejudice.

Our city has some serious issues to confront, including improvements to the civic center and support for our schools. Sam Kooiker is in the best position to move us forward.

— Jay Davis, Rapid City

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