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Minnesota Representative Writes Op-Ed in Favor of Mediation as a Way to Resolve Much of the Country’s Problems

Tuesday, March, 19, 2013


Rep. Carolyn Laine recently wrote an op-ed discussing the potential role of mediation in helping pundits on both sides of the political line to resolve conflict.  She began her essay with the simple premise that both Republicans and Democrats seem to enjoy conflict—from fighting over the sequestration, to picking various sides in issues ranging from same-sex marriage to gun rights. 

Laine states that such conflict is not good for a country, which is why she and a group of her colleges recently introduced a bill that supports “peaceful and lasting resolution to conflicts on issues ranging from child-custody legislation to intergovernmental disputes.”  Within this bill, Laine and her cohorts call for the creation of an Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution, to be housed at the Bureau of Mediation Services. 

In her essay, Laine retells the events that happened in her hometown of Hibbing when the issue of water shortage arose.  Since the water that supplies the area originates from aquifers, replenishment is slow, especially in situations in which there is increased and sudden demand for water.  Because many experts in the area claim that Hibbing Taconite’s mining practices are the reason for the shortage, the city of Hibbing has requested that the Department of Natural Resources enter into mediated negotiations with the mining company to reach a satisfactory resolution in the matter.   

Laine states that it is highly likely that there will be additional resource-based complaints like this that arise in the future across the country and within cities like Hibbing.  She reiterates that such communities will need a way to resolve these issues in a way that promotes open communication and a fair hearing of all sides involved in the debate.  She insists that the reason why authored and sponsored this bill in the House of Representatives is because of her deep belief in the process of mediation to resolve all areas of dispute—from intergovernmental disputes to disputes revolving around public safety, education, landlord and tenant concerns, the court system, neighborhood disputes, and more.