Lawmakers attempting to disenfranchise voters

A recent analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice found 106 bills have been introduced by Republican lawmakers in 28 states that would restrict voting.

I urge Americans to examine our history as it pertains to suppressing voting rights. It is replete with numerous incidents where men and women were harassed, lost their jobs, kicked out of their homes, beaten, imprisoned and murdered trying to vote. Attempts to add new voting restrictions equates to a 21st century rendition of Jim Crow laws.

The false claims of widespread voter fraud to advance this cause are disgraceful. Countless court cases, academic research, journalistic investigations, firsthand accounts of election officials and poll workers serve to annihilate the claims of voting fraud.

Undaunted, a handful of legislators are using these false narratives as a springboard and excuse for their attempts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Purging voting rolls, gerrymandering, closing polling places in minority neighborhoods and trying to restrict absentee and mail-in voting that disproportionately affect the working class have all been recently employed in an attempt to carry out this same agenda. Our history is rich with the brave men and women who have sacrificed everything for the precious right to vote.

The cost we have paid has been too great to have state legislators treat voting rights with such callousness.

If Americans have any empathy or sense of our shared history, they will immediately demand state legislatures stop these undemocratic attempts to disenfranchise our fellow citizens.

Lee Brunetti

Frontenac, Kan.


Saving Olivia in line with city council goals

The Downtown Joplin Alliance would like to thank and congratulate the Joplin City Council for its wise decision to pass Council Bill 2021-001, which creates a path forward for the rehabilitation of the Olivia Apartment building.

The proposed plan promises to restore the Olivia by March of 2023 and preserve it for future generations. Moving this project forward with this public-private partnership is in line with four of the six goals set at the Nov. 30 council visioning session:

• Improve community appearance

• Address declining neighborhoods

• Reduce crime and increase safety

• Create and grow resilient revenue

This incentive both leverages a $6.5 million investment in, as well as ensures completion of, long overdue development of property that had become both a nuisance and liability for the city and neighborhood.

Returning this project to tax roles, bringing additional residents downtown and retaining an anchor of our historic city are all wins for the city and the community at large.

The Downtown Joplin Alliance Endangered Properties Program Committee is proud to have worked alongside city officials, city staff and the new developers, Blue Haven Homes (a local subsidiary of Bykota REI), to bring this public-private partnership to fruition.

The economic benefit of bringing an additional 38 market-rate apartments to downtown and removing a blight to the neighborhood cannot be overstated. The Olivia is important as a part of Joplin's history, and this type of investment from both the city and private developers ensures that it can survive to play a pivotal role in the future growth of our community.

Lori Haun

Executive director, Downtown Joplin Alliance


American Rescue Plan offers Americans hope

Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the United States, it's time for our leaders in Washington to put aside partisan bickering and do something to help. President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan to stop the coronavirus and deal with the pandemic’s impact on our nation does just that. And the American people agree.

Real American unity is more than about politicians agreeing on a piece of legislation — it’s about getting vaccines in arms, safely reopening schools for in-person instruction, giving every American a chance to survive the crises facing our nation, and preserving critical jobs and services in our states, cities and town.

And President Biden’s American Rescue Plan meets this moment. According to major polls, there is more bipartisan support for the American Rescue Plan than virtually anything in the past few years

Even West Virginia's Republican Gov. Jim Justice said, “We need to go big, and if we waste some money now, well, we waste some money. But absolutely, we’ve got too many people hurting and the economy is going to sputter, and we’ve got to get ourselves out of this mess.”

We need unity to get out of the coronavirus crisis. We need the American Rescue Plan.

Teresa Armstrong


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