Follow-up to Westrom/Backer Town Hall

At least 17 Indivisible Morris members attended the Westrom/Backer Town Hall meeting this past Friday. Thank you to everyone who showed up and to everyone who spoke out!

Whether you were in attendance or not, there’s something more you can do. Contact Representative Backer and Senator Westrom. We urge everyone to follow up Friday’s Town Hall with additional comments or questions. If you couldn’t be there or if you didn’t have an opportunity to address an issue, ask for another Town Hall soon. Feel free to use the Talking Points assembled prior to the meeting and available here: 2018 townhall materials.

In response to questions about meaningful gun reform legislation, Westrom and Backer consistently answered in ways that were incredibly evasive and frustrating. They refused to directly address the issue and tried to turn the discussion to video games, mental health and pornography.  Sara Lam shared the following email that she sent to Westrom and Backer as follow-up to that issue:

Hello Representative Backer and Senator Westrom,

Thank you for visiting Morris today. I would like to follow up on the conversation we had at the town hall.

1. Evidence about states with expanded background check requirements
This article provides a good overview of the research on various gun safety measure, and provides links or citations to the original studies so that you can verify their credibility. A summary about background checks:

On average, states with expanded background check requirements had 35% fewer gun deaths per capita than states without those requirements. Those states also have 53% fewer firearm suicides, and 31% fewer suicides overall (showing that the decrease in firearm suicides was not just compensated for by suicides by other means).
One survey of state prison inmates convicted of offenses committed with guns in 13 states found that only 13 percent obtained their guns from a private seller that had to conduct a background check.

2. Current background check requirements in MN

Every source of information I have seen says that private gun sales in MN do not require background checks, with the exception of some specific types of guns. I looked at a variety of types of sources to avoid bias. Here are some examples.…/private-gun-sale-laws-by-stat……/…/…/gun-show-firearms-bankground-che…

Please show me where I can find the law that requires universal background checks for every gun sale regardless of whether it is through a federally licensed dealer.

Best regards,
Sara Lam

It takes only a few minutes to let our elected officials know that we are paying attention to what they say and do. Please call or write now.

Thank you for taking action,

Your Indivisible Morris Team


To help you take action, here is the contact information for our representatives:

Representative Jeff Backer (R) District 12A

593 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

Join my email updates list for announcements.

Legislative Assistant: Ryan Liebl 651-296-4141

Senator Torrey Westrom (R) District 12

image star red Capitol Office
95 University Avenue W.
Minnesota Senate Bldg., Room 3201
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-3826

Westrom/ Becker Town Hall Meeting

call to action

Representative Jeff Backer and Senator Torrey Westrom will be visiting Morris for a town hall meeting this Friday March 23 from 11:15 am to noon at the Morris Public Library. Both of them are on agriculture policy committees, and Backer has authored two bills preventing state agencies from taking action against dust emission from temporary grain storage bins and from creating water resource protection requirements.

If you have any questions/talking points about these environmental issues, please contribute them by contacting Sara Lam at They will be compiled and made available as hard copies to people attending the town hall who would like to make comments or ask questions of Backer and Westrom.

In the wake of the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, people across the country have risen up to demand that Congress stand up to the NRA on gun safety. The students of Parkland and other youth leaders have unapologetically demanded that their Members of Congress (MoCs) protect them from the uniquely American epidemic of mass shootings. Indivisible Morris is committed to changing our gun safety laws and protecting our country’s students, both at the state and federal level.

According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will focus on improving school security and access to mental health services to keep students safe after saying Wednesday that gun control measures he continues to push are unlikely to pass the Republican-led Legislature.”

Let’s ask Republicans Backer and Westrom WHY they are unwilling to support reasonable gun safety measures such as the ones Florida recently passed.

If you have any questions/talking points about gun safety, please contribute them to Sara Lam at They will be compiled and made available as hard copies to people attending the town hall who would like to make comments or ask questions.

Even if you don’t want to ask a formulated question, simply SHOW UP to support those who do. Numbers talk!

Also our partners at Indivisible DFL MN CD-7 have organized 2 additional events for Saturday, March 24th in Starbuck, MN. Join them if you can! Details below:

9:45am:   Meet at Starbuck Community Center (307 E 5th St, Starbuck, MN 56381) for Town Hall Meeting

10:00am:  Town Hall at Community Center with Paul Anderson-R  (12-B), Jeff Backer-R (12-A), Torrey Westrom-R (SD 12) until 10:45am

11:00am:  March For Our Lives (staging begins at 10:30am in VFW Parking Lot, 212 E 6th St, Starbuck, MN 56381)

Morris Rally for Science



The Trump administration continues its mission of undermining science and denying facts. Saturday, April 14 provides an opportunity to push back.

In 2017, more than one million people marched in more than 600 locations around the world to support and defend science. In 2018, we unite once more to advocate for science’s crucial role in society and policy. More than 175 satellite events around the world have already registered to participate in the 2nd annual event. And the Morris Rally for Science is one of them.

You can rsvp for the event here:

Come out and show your support for fact-based reasoning in all political decisions. The president’s budget has slated the North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory in Morris for closure. The rally highlights the importance and influence of the lab for our community, the region, the science of soils, and the federal network of agricultural research facilities. Organizers plan to collect signatures and endorsements for a document, to be sent to our political representatives. An open mic will be available to all groups and individuals who would like to speak. Political leaders and candidates have been invited to attend.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Minnesota Morris will begin at 10 am in Oyate Hall on campus. Research and scholarly work in science, social science, arts, and humanities will be presented by students. Please come after the rally.

You can also find more information and volunteer to help organize or speak at the Morris Rally for Science here:

*CALL-TO-ACTION* SUPPORT the Morris Soils Lab (USDA -ARS North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory)

Lab Photo sign3

The President’s proposed FY19 budget came out recently.  As expected, there are proposed ARS lab closings that include Morris and Brookings, SD as well as 18 others.

What can you do?  Send a letter of support to members of congress for the continued operation of the North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory in Morris or for the continued need for long term agriculture research. Please do so before March 15 (deadline for member requests). Sue Dieter suggests you fax your letter “because mail won’t get there until sometime in April (I kid you not).”  Calls and emails are also beneficial if you are not able to fax a letter. (When calling, be sure to ask for the staffer who deals with agriculture.)

Here are some talking points for you to use in support of the lab, when calling or writing:

The USDA -ARS North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory, or Soils Lab, has an annual budget of $2.8 million.  There are approximately 18 FTE employees, which does not include student interns or other, non-federal employees.

The Soils Lab has been leading research on novel, year round cropping systems for the Upper Midwest to promote pollinator health, rejuvenate soil health, enhance water quality, prevent soil loss and stimulate rural economies. Their work provides independent and trustworthy research that enables farmers to increase productivity and profitability while simultaneously enhancing soil, water and Air quality.

The research being done at the Soils Lab greatly benefits society but is not and likely would not be done in the private sector.

As Congress deliberates Federal spending, we urge continued support of agriculture research in general and USDA-ARS Specifically.

Studies have shown that every dollar invested in agriculture research now returns over $20 to our economy. *

*study available here https://medium.comusda-results/ch11-ad47897cba7#.ap1qc5xhp

Please fax, email or call to express your support:

Senator Amy Klobuchar

Fax:  (202) 228-2186

Phone: (202) 224-3244


Senator Tina Smith

Fax: (202) 224-0044

Phone: (202) 224-5641


Congressman Collin Peterson

Fax: (202) 225-1593

Phone: (202) 225-2165



You can also send letters to ARS Administrator Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young (FAX (202) 720-5427 )

We suggest that you provide a copy to the beleaguered folks at the Soils Lab, as a show of support. Jane Johnson is the Acting Research Leader

Thank you for taking action,

Your Indivisible Morris Team


From Now to November

Indivisible Morris Meeting

Thursday February 15, 2018, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Morris Public Library Community Room

102 E 6th St, Morris, Minnesota 56267

We spoke out at the Women’s March. We spoke out on Caucus night. Now what? What do we say next and how do we say it? One of our greatest opportunities for resisting the harmful policies of the current administration is by making sure that Minnesota has strong progressive voices in positions of power. There’s a lot at stake in November, including: our next Governor, 2 U.S. Senators, a U.S. Representative and a MN Representative. Who will be representing OUR views and fighting for our OUR beliefs?

To quote Senator Amy Klobuchar, “We’re not just resisting, we’re insisting on a better way forward!” Come to the meeting with ideas about how to move forward as we brainstorm our strategies from Now to November.

Attend Your Caucus

Are you ready for your Precinct Caucus? This is the most basic, grassroots way to be politically active and it is more important than ever that progressive voices speak out. It’s not enough to vote. We need to play a part in shaping the conversations and building the political party structures that will determine our futures, the futures of our children and grandchildren, and the future of our planet.

All Minnesota caucuses take place this coming Tuesday, February 6. Registration begins at 6:30 pm. Caucus meetings begin at 7:00pm.

Whichever political party you favor, you can find the location of your precinct caucus here.

Have never attended a precinct caucus? Find more information here.

Be prepared to participate in a straw vote for Governor. After registering by completing and signing the precinct roll, each eligible attendee will be given a ballot on which the attendee can indicate a preference (including uncommitted status). You can find out more about all candidates running for Governor and other offices here.

Be prepared to propose and adopt progressive resolutions. The DFL resolution form can be found here: Resolution-Form The Republican resolution form can be found here: 2016-Resolutions-Form-GOP Check with your preferred party for other resolution forms. Some of CURE’s partner organizations have drafted resolutions about progressive rural issues and you are encouraged to present these resolutions at your caucus or use them as inspiration to write your own. You can find them online under the Rural Democracy Project link at CURE River.

Be prepared to serve as a Convention Delegate. Progressive issues will have a greater voice if progressive delegates are selected. If no more want to serve than there are delegate positions, no contest exists and a formal election need not be held; those who wish to serve will be delegates. If there is a contest, delegates are elected by precinct attendees.

We must take action NOW if we want progressive voices representing us in NOVEMBER.