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Walz will call on Minnesotans to ‘come together to restore democracy’ in visit to Wasioja

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Governor Tim Walz speaks to a veteran in Wasioja's historical district

WASIOJA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is calling for calm, civility and peace in the wake of last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol.

"I'm just encouraging Minnesotans to use this as an opportunity to reflect," said Walz today in Dodge County. "I'm not telling you what conclusion to come to."

The governor is visiting American history monuments across the state this week.

Wednesday at Wasioja's historical district, Walz said he supports freedom of speech until it becomes a threat.

"If we want to honor that, Walz said, pointing to Wasioja's historical district. "We dang sure better learn how to have civil discourse."

In the historical district, the Dodge County community preserved a Civil War recruitment station where soldiers signed up to defend the Union.

"Heated political debate and differences are foundational to who we are but we as a nation know there is a line that can't be crossed," Walz said. "The 300 that walked from here were on that line."

Walz visited the recruitment station where hundreds of Minnesotans signed up to stand for their country.

"His message was spot on in my opinion. That's exactly what we need," said Jim Checkel, Dodge County Historical Society vice-president. "We need people to voice their opinion on what they think is wrong and stand up for democracy."

Checkel said we can look back to the Civil War as a time where people sat down and discussed issues as a community.

"That's what needs to be done. People need to be willing to listen to the other side and iron out our differences," Checkel said.

"We don't agree with a lot of his viewpoints but we thought it was good for the kids to know that even if you don't agree with something, we still respect the governor as our governor," said Mantorville resident Joy Peterson.

Division is nothing new in this area.

"Many people don't know this but this was a huge area for the Ku Klux Klan," Checkel said.

Checkel and Walz worry division still exists.

"We need to acknowledge that this is going to take a long time, like years, for us to work back as a nation and find commonality," the governor said.

Walz says its okay to have different points of view. Despite that, he believes people need to accept facts, specifically concerning the deadliness of the pandemic and the validity of the presidential election.

Alex Tejada

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