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Your Letters: Require a test for politicians

In these days of turmoil about people's qualifications to do this or that job, alternative licensing, the rights or lack of them of workers to have any say about their jobs (other than employers), the need for drivers' licenses to vote, etc., I came up with a novel idea.

The great majority of these issues are raised by politicians for political reasons, like getting elected. So if these people are to have such power over these issues and the lives of people affected by them, why not a qualifying or even licensing test for them before they're allowed to run for office? We could be fair and say if they have a degree in journalism ask them for the names of five major newspapers, or if they are running for governor of Alaska if they can remember the case of the Exxon Valdez.

There could be a question about whether they intend to stay with the job or leave it for a much more profitable gig. Or if they want to do something about union wages and benefits, they could be asked about the American history of sweat shops, child labor, unlimited work day hours without overtime, no minimum wage, and extremely dangerous working conditions like those in the New York Triangle Factory, where 130 young women burned to death because of such conditions, half of them teenagers.

Too partisan, you say? OK, just give them the same test Minnesota high school seniors must pass to graduate. It could be used to evaluate their own high school education and their college education as well if they have one. Should politicians be required to know what the heck they're talking about when the issues affect so many people pounding the pavement day after day? I suppose some will say it would be against the Constitution, but recall that the Constitution was written by politicians.

Greg Van Hee