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August 15, 1995

Francisco J. Gonzalez
620 N. 5th Street
Mankato, Minnesota 56001

Dear Mr. Gonzalez:

I am writing to respond to your letter, dated July 28, 1995, in which you expressed concern
over the response of the LeSeur County Human Services Office to a racially derogatory
document which was posted within those offices. Based on the information you provided, it
appears that the County's Human Services Department conducted an inspection to make sure
that this document, or similar materials, were not being displayed, and issued a warning to staff
against having any material of this nature in the worksite. Your concern appears to be that the
County did not respond to your suggestions for additional responses such as investigation of
services delivery practices and training on cultural diversity.

The Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination by public services, such as counties,
based on protected class status including race and national origin. Complaints of discriminatory
treatment can be filed with the Department by an individual, and in some situations a
commissioner's charge may be filed. In the situation you have described, the county appears
to have taken action to make sure the posting was removed and warn employees about similar
violations. The fact that the county has not taken other remedial action would not, by itself,
constitute a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. If you are aware of situations in
which it appears that persons seeking services from the County have been denied service or
were treated differently for discriminatory reasons, I would suggest that you provide me with
that information and/or advise those individuals to contact the Department about filing a charge.
Discriminatory treatment could include being subjected to racially derogatory comments by
county employees, or exposure to racially derogatory material, such as the document at issue
in your c0111plaint. Please be advised that the Minnesota Human Rights Act provides a one year
statute of limitations for filing discrimination complaints.

If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact me at the number shown
below.

Sincerely,

JL- j~' 1--


Lucy Jo~SOn-GaineS, Supervisor
Intake Unit
(612) 296-7518

LJG/kjj

AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

500 Bremer Tower, 7th Place and Minnesota Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101 (612) 296-5663 or (800) 657-3704
State of Minnesota
Department of Human Services
Office for Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action &- Civil Rights
Hwnan Services Building
444 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-3812

February 13, 1996

Francisco J. Gonzalez
620 N. 5th Street
Mankato, MN 56001

Dear Mr. Gonzalez:

I am writing to update you about further developments related to the Department's inquiries into
the May, 1995 incident involving the posting of the racist poem at the LeSueur County
Department of Human Services. Recently, I spoke with Mr. Marion to follow up on his plans to
implement cultural diversity training in his agency and he informed me that in the next four to six
weeks, he will be involved in two activities that will begin to address issues of cultural diversity
and awareness in the LeSueur County community.

First, Mr. Marion is waiting to hear from the LeSueur Board of County Commissioners about the
formation of a multi-cultural task force to advise the Board on multi-cultural issues and concerns.
The idea for the taskforce was presented to the Board by local community-based organizations
with the desire to work with the Board on these matters. The Board will officially address the
formation of the taskforce in the very near future.

Second, Mr. Marion plans to arrange for a guest speaker to address his staff on issues related to
cultural sensitivity on the job. Mr. Marion is interested in asking you to serve as that speaker. He
believes that you can offer his staff an authentic perspective because of your dual status as a
member of the HispaniclLatino community and as a financial worker in a neighboring county.

I
In my discussions with Mr. Marion, encouraged him to contact you to create on-going
communication. Likewise, I want to continue to encourage you to remain in contact with him for
the same reason. I still believe that the two of you have the same goal which is to take action
necessary to prevent repeat incidents, such as the posting of the poem, and to improve cultural
sensitivity and understanding among LeSueur County staff As you are aware, in the end, it will
take your combined efforts to reach this goal.

Sincerely, () ,
~lLlL dCLmD~
JOANN DA S:q:.VA.
Civil Rights Coordinator cc: James Marion, Director, LeSueur County Department of Human Services

AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER


Don Ostrom Minnesota
State Representative

District 24B
House of
Nicollet, LeSueur
and Blue Earth Counties Representatives

January 24, 1996

Mr. Francisco J. Gonzalez


620 North 5th street
Mankato MN 56001

Dear Mr. Gonzalez:

Thank you for your e-mail message expressing your thoughts about the
present day political climate.

I am also extremely concerned about any legislation that attempts to


discriminate against ethnic minorities and immigrants. I intend to, as
always, pay close attention to such measures if they do develop. I can
also assure you that both education and employment support programs are
of particular concern to me, and I closely follow any such measures in
these areas.

Thank you again for contacting me. I appreciate you voicing your
concerns.

Sincerely,

Don Ostrom
state Representative

DO:BF

405 North 4th Street, St. Peter, Minnesota 56082 (507) 931-5486
State Office Building, 100 Constitution Ave, St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-1298 (612) 296-7065

o House Fax (612) 296-1563 TDD 1-800-657-3550 E-Mail rep.don.ostrom@house.leg.state.mn.us

s~.
Len Biernat
State Representative
Minnesota
District 59A
House of
N.E. Minneapolis
Representatives
Phil Carruthers, Speaker

VICE CHAIR - JUDICIARY


COMMITTEES: CIVIL AND FAMILY LAW DIVISION - JUDICIARY; EDUCATION; K - 12 FINANCE DIVISION - EDUCATION

April 22, 1997

FrC\lJcisc.QJ:Jmn:{I1~ __
620 North 5th Street
Mankato, MN 56001

Dear Mr. Gonzalez:

Thank you for your thoughtful letter about protecting the needs of legal immigrants and migrant
workers in Minnesota. The House welfare bill has passed the House and is moving into a conference
committee with the Senate. I believe that our bill does protect legal immigrants in state funding
programs. As a matter of fact, there was some concern that legal immigrants do better than some
Minnesota residents in several programs. The reduced funding for legal immigrants has been one of my
major concerns about the bill. Unless the Federal Government changes its position, the elderly and
disabled legal immigrants are going to face some major reductions in assistance.

The proposed residency requirements received strong bipartisan support because of the federal cutbacks
and the need for state money to provide equity. The impact of these requirements on migrant farm
workers was not discussed in the House. I will point out your concern to House members who serve on
the Welfare conference committee. I hope that your concern can be addressed.

I appreciated receiving your thoughtful letter and I look forward to meeting you in your new capacity as
a Hamline Law School student. You seem to be a student who will be making a major contribution to
Hamline.

Sincer:z,~/I~-J
.;2-.

2246 Lincoln Street NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418 (612) 788-4923


State Office Building, 100 Constitution Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-1298 (612) 296-4219
#. House Fax (612) 296-0574 TDD (612) 296-9896
S~2
~~
JOHN C. HOTTINGER
Senator 24th District
120 State Capitol
75 Constitution Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
Phone: (612) 296-6153
E-Mail: sen.john.hottinger@senate.leg.state.mn.us
Senate
State of Minnesota

May 1, 1997

Francisco Gonzalez
First Floor - Government Center
41 o South Fifth Street
P.O. Box 3526
Mankato, MN 56002-3526

Dear Mr. Gonzalez,

Enclosed for your review is a copy of the summary of the welfare reform bill that was signed
by the Governor.

Included in the bill is a an amendment that I offered which exempts migrant workers from the
residency requirements for MFIP and GA. I would appreciate any suggestions regarding
implementation of this provision.

Thank you for the information you have sent throughout this difficult process and your
dedication to immigrants and migrant workers in Blue Earth County.

Sincerely,

~
JOHN C. HOTTINGER
State Senator - District 24

JH:js
encl.

COMMITTEES: Chair, Health and Family Security • Taxes and Tax Laws • Local and Metropolitan
Government • Commerce· Property Taxes and Local Government Budget Division.
Health and Family Security Budget Division· Majority Whip
JOHN C. HOTTINGER
Senator 24th District
120 State Capitol
75 Constitution Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
Phone: (612) 296-6153
E-Mail: sen.john.hottinger@senate.leg.state.mn.us
Senate
State of Minnesota

July 1, 1997

Mr. Francisco J. Gonzalez


620 North Fifth Street
Mankato, MN 56001

Dear ~ hWY\~ U) J

Thank you for your letter expressing appreciation for the process used to legislate
mandatory reform to Minnesota's welfare system. Thank you, also, for outlining and
suggesting solutions to issues of concern to legal immigrants.

I have forwarded a copy of your letter to Senator Becky Lourey. Senator Lourey will
chair the Health and Family Security Welfare Oversight Subcommittee that will meet
this interim to discuss many of the issues your letter addresses. I am sure she will find
your suggestions very helpful.

Again, thank you for sharing your ideas. I look forward to working with you in the
future.

Sincerely,

JOHN HOTTINGER
State Senator - District 24

JH:amf

COMMITTEES: Chair, Health and Family Security· Taxes and Tax Laws • Local and Metropolitan
Government • Commerce • Property Taxes and Local Government Budget Division •
Health and Family Security Budget Division • Majority Whip
JOHN C. HOTTINGER
Senator 24th District
120 State Capitol
75 Constitution Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
Phone: (612) 296-6153
E-Mail: sen.john.hottinger@senate.leg.state.mn.us
Senate
State of Minnesota

July 1, 1997

TO: Senator Becky Lourey, Chair


Health and Family Security Welfare Reform Oversight Subcommittee

FROM: Senator John Hottinger, Chair .


Health and Family Security Committee

RE: Attached letter

Attached please find a letter from Mr. Francisco Gonzalez. I think you will find Mr.
Gonzalez' suggestions helpful as you proceed with discussions in the Welfare Reform
Oversight Subcommittee.

JH:amf

Attachment

~ Mr. Francisco Gonzalez

COMMITTEES: Chair, Health and Family Security • Taxes and Tax Laws • Local and Metropolitan
Government • Commerce • Property Taxes and Local Government Budget Division·
Health and Family Security Budget Division· Majority Whip
Ruth Johnson Minnesota
State Representative

District 24B
House of
Nicollet, LeSueur
and Blue Earth Counties Representatives
COMMITTEES: VICE-CHAIR, HIGHER EDUCATION FINANCE DIVISION-EDUCATION;
EDUCATION; HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES; ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

July 25, 1997

Francisco Gonzalez
Blue Earth County Human Services
PO Box 3526

::~~
Thank you for contacting me expressing your views on the issue of allowing legal immigrants to
continue to receive welfare. I appreciate knowing your views and share them wholeheartedly.

It'should be noted that Congress ,discontinued Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Food
Stamp eligibjlity for legal it;l1II!igrants'Yho,are blind, aged or disabled. President Clinton, in,his ,
State of the Union Address; recommended changing the welfare reform law to allow this group
• - , <

to continue receiving benefits. If Congress does not act, 16,000 of Minnesota's legal immigrants
will lose their Food Stamps, among them 5,400 will lose their SSI.

To soften the impact of federal cuts, the state welfare reform bill signed into law uses state
dollars to supplement lost Food Stamp benefits for most of the legal immigrants who lost their
eligibility. It also extends Medical Assistance (MA) and welfare to legal immigrants who
qualify. However, to be eligible for public assistance programs, legal immigrants need to be
enrolled in English as a second language class, in a citizenship class or on a waiting list for such
classes.

Even though some legal immigrants will be eligible for welfare, they must still meet the work
requirements outlined in the law. They may be required to begin ajob search immediately,
which includes English as a second language. Once a job has been found they must be employed
at least 20 hours a week. In addition, welfare benefits are limited to a total life-time limit of five
years.

Although the state Legislature does notmake up for all the lost revenue due to federal. cuts, 60%
.

ofthe legal immigrants who will lose their SSI are eligible for General Assistance (GA.).'
Another 33% will be eligible for the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) .. Further;:$l
. ,

million is appropriated to help legal noncitizens become Americans.

417 North Seventh St., St. Peter, Minnesota 56082 (507) 931-2075
State Office Building, 100 Constitution Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-1298 (612) 296-7065
House Fax (612) 296-1563 TDD 1-800-657-3550 E-Mail rep.ruth.johnson@house.leg.state.mn.us
S~2
July 25, 1997
Page 2

I would like to mention that if the House had not take such a strong position to provide public
assistance to legal immigrants there would have been fewer benefits for them. The Senate's
version of the welfare reform bill had scant provisions for legal immigrants. As a result of the
House's position, many legal immigrants will receive some income to offset the loss of federal
funds.

I supported legislation that allows legal immigrants to receive MFIP, MA or GA. I did this
because the actions of the federal government are deplorable. They dishonor America for they
ignore the valuable contributions immigrants have made to the richness and diversity of our
country. Therefore, I could not turn may back on their needs, particularly those of southeast
Asian immigrants so affected by the war. -*.
Again, thanks for sharing your views on welfare reform and its impact on legal immigrants.
Please continue to express your opinions on issues of concern. Your advice helps me make
important decisions that affect all Minnesotans.
Ruth Johnson Minnesota
State Representative

District 24B
House of
Nicollet, LeSueur
and Blue Earth Counties Representatives
COMMITTEES: VICE-CHAIR, HIGHER EDUCATION FINANCE DIVISION-EDUCATION;
EDUCATION; HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES; ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

August 6, 1997

Mr. Francisco Gonzalez


620 5th StN
Mankato, MN 56001

Dear Francisco:

Thank you for your very thoughtful and insightful comments regarding welfare reform. Your
suggestions are much appreciated. Let me respond to your comments in the same order in which you
mentioned them.

Fits( the balanced budget'd~al just struck be~een the Republican Cong~ess ahdPresident Cliritbn' .
restores Supplemental Seciliity Income (SSI) to elderly citizens as well as those who 'ar~ dis'abled. It
does not, however, restore Food Stamp cuts.

To that end, the Legislature enacted three programs that can help legal non-citizens who lost their
Food Stamps. One is called the Minnesota Grown Program. It provides vouchers to people to
purchase Minnesota Grown products. The program received $1 million. It is funded through June
30,1998.

The second program provides $38 a month to legal non-citizen families who lost their cash assistance
(MFIP, AFDC or FGA). The third program is open to anyone who lost both the SSI and Food
Stamps. Those folks would receive $87 a month in supplemental assistance. These two additional
programs are funded through June 30, 1998.

Money has been set aside for citizenship classes. It does not include paying for the test. The classes
are intended to help non-citizens prepare for the exams. English as a second language is also a strong
component of the program. Your suggestion that the state pay for the test has merit. I would be
happy to discuss this idea with you further.

It has al~aysbeen the policy to 'cdhht the'income'ofhon:'citizens whendeterininihg h6usehold


eligibility for Food Stamps:" The reasoning is that the citizen is responsible for the health' a~d w~lfare
of the non-citizen. Unfortunately, this does punish such a household twice. To change this policy
requires federal action.

417 North Seventh St., St. Peter, Minnesota 56082 (507) 931-2075
State Office Building, 100 Constitution Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-1298 (612) 296-7065
#. House Fax (612) 296-1563 TOO 1-800-657-3550 E-Mail rep.ruth.johnson@house.leg.state.mn.us
S~2
~~
August 6, 1997
Page 2

You had requested that a number of policies currently in practice with regard to AFDC be continued
under MFIP. I'm pleased to say that they will. Sworn affidavits of earned income and work history
can be offered as proofwhen determining eligibility for cash grant programs. Homesteads are still
exempt. Travel expenses are exempt as long as the employer paid for the transportation. If the
employee received cash, that will be counted as income. Food Stamps will still be available on an
"expedited" basis.

As far as hiring bilingual Employment and Training staff is concerned, Ramsey County and
Rochester have bilingual personnel. Other locals with high concentrations of non-English speaking
applicants usually are able to find interpreters to help in Employment and Training Programs.
Expansion of this concept to Mankato, Willmar and Moorhead may help the Hispanic/Latino
communities in these areas find work that pays a livable wage.

It is also state policy NOT to displace workers, whether union or nonunion with "workfare"
employees. Most "workfare" jobs are often created in non-profit, community agencies that don't
have the finances to hire a person. Examples of "workfare" employment might be light clerical work
and snow shoveling. Less than 100 people in Minnesota participate in "workfare" employment so
unskilled workers are not threatened with loss of jobs.

Finally, let me address the issue of a "livable wage." I couldn't agree with you more. If employers
paid livable wages, families could become more self-reliant and less dependent on welfare programs
like AFDC, Food Stamps and housing assistance.

Last year (1996), before I was elected, the Legislature passed a law that required companies receiving
state assistance to pay a "livable wage" for newly created jobs. That the would have amounted to
$7.28 an hour in wages and benefits. Unfortunately, that measure was vetoed by Governor Carlson.
Instead, the Legislature adopted a provision requiring the recipients of grants from the Minnesota
Investment Fund pay salaries including benefits equal to 110% of federal poverty guidelines for a
family of four ($17,655 annual income).

There was no action taken on "livable wages" this session. Rather, the Legislature attempted to
increase the minimum wage. It was a bill I supported. The Governor vetoed this measure too.
Obviously you know which political party believes that working people should earn enough to raise
themselves out of poverty.