Grand Regional Voices was incorporated as a Minnesota nonprofit corporation organized under IRS 501(c)4 nonprofit status. As required by our 501(c)4 status, we cannot promote or oppose any political persuasion and we must remain issue-oriented only. This allows people of differing political affiliations to meet and discuss issues in a neutral environment and develop solutions that are for the common good.
It is the mission and mandate of Grand Regional Voices to sponsor speakers who are experts in their fields and programs that are educational, topical and of interest to our broader community. Through educational, informative, and topical presentations and discussions, in a politically neutral environment, these programs benefit the community as a whole and give people necessary information to make their own decisions.
What could be objectionable with presenting speakers in a non-political environment? What could be objectionable with providing an environment that encourages education and open dialog without the involvement of political parties or political speeches and fundraising?
Apparently, our State Senator Justin Eichorn and the Itasca County Republican Party do object. In at least four occasions, Sen. Eichorn and the Itasca County Republican Party have intervened and obstructed our programming.
We’ve discussed bringing Dr. Scott Jensen, not as a political figure but as an expert, to speak on COVID-19, the medical science, treatments, and therapeutics. We had to discontinue our discussions due to interference that would turn Dr. Jensen’s expert, informative and educational presentation into a political event for the benefit of a political party and, apparently, Sen. Eichorn.
In another instance, we were invited to do a presentation to a group in Bemidji regarding our mandate, purpose and how we have been able to reach a broader audience on issues while being politically neutral. At the presentation, we were informed that the group’s principals had been contacted by Sen. Eichorn representing the Itasca County Republican Party and were told not to permit us to make our presentation.
Recently, we hosted Mr. Peter Vodenka to speak on his family’s escape from Czechoslovakia and what it is like to live under communism and a socialistic regime. Mr. Vodenka’s presentation was not motivated by any political party or candidate but was educational, informative, and riveting. Following Mr. Vodenka’s presentation, we learned that, apparently, the Itasca County Republican Party informed their members that they should not attend Mr. Vodenka’s presentation.
The Chair of the Itasca Republican Party informed us that they alone could host speakers regardless of purpose. In doing so, they stated that we would not be permitted to host Dr. Jensen or any other expert Republican to speak as experts in their fields without their permission.
We stand by our principles. Our mandate and purpose are well known to Sen. Eichorn and the Itasca County Republican Party. We do not need anyone’s permission and will not allow any person or group to dictate how we operate and conduct the business of our corporation, nor will we permit any individual or group to force us to violate our mandate of political neutrality.
Grand Regional Voices, a Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation