To the editor:

In a virtual town hall on Feb. 20, constituents asked questions of Minnesota Sen. Nick Frentz (District 19) and new Minnesota Rep. Susan Akland (District 19A), who last November beat Jeff Brand by just 108 votes.

Having attended several of Brand’s town halls in the past, I was accustomed to clear, well-argued, and evidence-based positions, even early in his first term. Akland came nowhere close.

She weighed in even when she was under-informed, as on ranked-choice voting (“I probably lean toward feeling like that’s not the way I’d want to go, because it seems to defy ‘one-person one-vote,’ but I need to look deeper”). Her response indicated that she doesn’t understand the topic.

On another issue she seemed to read from a list of talking points but afterward appeared at sea. And she showed troubling inconsistency on the issue of masking. Akland said she opposes mask mandates, in favor of relying on people’s sense of consideration for others. She stated that she herself wears a mask in public. However, when someone in the audience described witnessing Akland and companions walking maskless through a restaurant, Akland began her response with the excuse that the restaurant was empty. Challenged on this point, she seemed at a loss, finally saying, “It is what it is.”

How I miss Jeff Brand: consistently prepared, well-spoken, and trustworthy. He bases his positions on facts, not just feelings. Sadly, we now have Akland. “It is what it is,” as Akland would say. The future, however, is yet to be written. Let’s hope Akland learns from experience. A lot of us already have.

Marian Broida

St. Peter

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