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Letter: Keep identity labels out of candidate news

To the editor,

Last week’s front page story on the CD2 candidates contained quotes from each of the candidates taken from a Minnesota Newspaper Association question-and-answer segment. Fair enough. The rest of the story was not nearly as objective.

Angie Craig is introduced as “a Minnesota Fortune 500 executive,” while Jason Lewis is introduced as “controversial conservative radio host.” Craig does not have any deeper connection to Minnesota than Lewis does, though readers wouldn’t know it by the description given. Paula Overby’s professional background as a quality-assurance analyst is not mentioned. Identity politics are invoked as relevant to the campaigns of Craig “first openly lesbian” and Overby “first openly transgender woman,” when a member of Congress is supposed to represent an entire district of individual citizens, not identity groups. The campaigns themselves are not focusing on identity as a qualifying or disqualifying factor. Tell us that Angie Craig is a former executive for St. Jude Medical and that Lewis is a commentator, former radio host and the author of “Power Divided Is Power Checked.” Some might think that Overby and Craig could be classified as radically liberal just as legitimately as Lewis was described as “controversial conservative;” Craig, after all, is endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America and the socialist-leaning Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and Overby has spoken in favor of government-single-payer health care. Best to leave off the adjective labels in a news story other than the party labels that will be affiliated with them on the ballot.