To see the actual voting records of all incumbents on other issues such as Foreign Policy, Second Amendment Issues, Homeland Security, and other issues as well as their rankings by special interest groups please use the links followed by two stars (**).
Amy Klobuchar (DFL) Next election 2018
Al Franken (DFL) Incumbent
Rated +2 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)**
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT Minnesota has a strong, proud tradition of being a national leader in responsible environmental stewardship and clean energy development. As we face challenges of bolstering our local economies, increasing our nation's energy independence, tackling global climate change, and reducing stress on our planet's natural resources and systems, it is important that we take an integrated approach to our nation's environmental and energy policy. As Congress considers these important issues, I will continue to ensure that national policies position Minnesota to reap the benefits of a clean energy economy and promote responsible stewardship of our land, air, and water for generations to come.
KEYSTONE PIPELINE JUNE 2014 U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) released the following statement after voting to oppose legislation that would have circumvented the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline: "The decision to permit the Keystone XL pipeline has to be based on careful evaluation of the risks and benefits of the project. And while I believe the process has taken too long, I don't believe we should simply approve the current plan without having the necessary analysis and information from the agencies reviewing it.
"There's no question the project would create jobs. And I believe that it could help address challenges associated with transporting oil on rail, which has been a major problem in Minnesota. But we also need to understand the full effects of the pipeline on the environment-along the route of the pipeline and on climate change. "The Department of State has issued its environmental impact statement, but other federal agencies are still concluding their work. This issue is too important to play politics with, and the decision should be made with the complete information."
HEALTHCARE I believe that access to health care is a fundamental right. Working Minnesotans ought to be able to take their families to the doctor when needed. Minnesota has historically been a leader in health coverage and high quality health care, but more can be done. The health reform legislation Congress recently passed will go a long way toward making Minnesotans healthier. That's why I'm proud to have supported the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010, by President Obama. These reforms will help Minnesotans stay healthier longer and make sure they get the care they need if they do become ill. Factors outside of clinics and hospitals also affect our health. What we eat, how much we exercise, whether we smoke-all of these things have a significant impact on our health. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee I will work toward good health for Minnesotans in all aspects of their lives-in school, at work, at the clinic, and at home.
IMMIGRATION August 2014 It has been clear for months that the border crisis has radically changed the politics of immigration, but now a liberal senator is bragging about his collaboration with arch conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on the issue. Speaking at the Minnesota FarmFest in Redwood County last week, according to video obtained by Breitbart News, Franken explained his support for the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill by saying, "I am on the Judiciary Committee, I participated in the markup of that. I had six amendments passed, one of which was cosponsored by Ted Cruz." Franken went on to say, "If our bill had become law, there would be 19,000 more border guards on our border," and he touted support for the bill by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau.
ECONOMY I wouldn't be the first to observe that these are tough economic times. Our nation is still reeling from the most disastrous economic collapse in a generation. Many families in Minnesota are relying on their unemployment benefits to put food on the table and pay their rent. For every single job opening, there are five unemployed workers, and too many people are left with little hope. But Minnesotans still do have a lot going for us. Minnesota is a leader among states when it comes to R&D spending and patent applications. We are home to many great companies like 3M, Target, General Mills, Hormel, Land O'Lakes, Medtronic, and Best Buy. And we're at the forefront of green job creation, leading the nation in the energy-efficient windows market. That is why I am optimistic about our future. But as Minnesotans struggle looking for work, I will continue to press Congress to enact legislation that quickly and efficiently creates jobs, spurs economic growth, and provides an adequate safety net for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
Mike McFadden (R) Challenger
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
HEALTHCARE A Smarter Solution for Health Care Minnesota Is the Health Care Leader, Not Washington. America's health care system is broken, but Obamacare is not the answer. Before we can make the kind of changes Americans deserve, we need to repeal the "Unaffordable Care Act"Â and replace it with a patient-centered, market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans. Minnesota has some of the best health care minds in the entire world. Instead of looking to bureaucrats in Washington, we can take charge and develop homegrown solutions for health care. By restoring power to the states, we can free Minnesota to become a laboratory for innovation and a standard-bearer for health care solutions that work.
Covering Those with Pre-Existing Conditions. Despite all the promises made during the health care debate, there are still Americans with pre-existing conditions who are struggling to find or afford coverage. This is unacceptable. When we repeal and replace Obamacare, we need to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions actually have access to affordable insurance plans that cover their illnesses. Stop the Job Killing Medical Device Tax. Al Franken's support of the medical device tax is hurting Minnesota's economy and punishing the most vulnerable among us. This tax is the perfect example of how out-of-touch Washington is with the needs of everyday Americans. We must repeal this job-killing tax along with the rest of Obamacare and replace it with policies that bring down health care costs while encouraging economic growth.
EDUCATION A Quality Education for Every Child - Redefining Washington's Role In Education. The federal government is not the solution to education. Education is done best when it's done locally. Washington bureaucrats should not be deciding what students in Moorhead and Minneapolis should be reading. Instead of dictating one-size-fits-all standards, the federal government needs to do more to encourage innovative new ways to close the achievement gap in inner-city schools. Stop Serving Broken Systems and Special Interests and Start Serving Kids. For too long, we have accepted subpar results from our inner-city schools. Minnesota has the largest achievement gap in the country and the lowest graduation rate for Latino students. Instead of throwing more money into a broken system that was built to serve special interests, these dollars should be used to promote innovation and results. Every child deserves a quality education, and it's time to start empowering kids and their parents with the resources and choices they need. Cultivate Innovation in Education. For the past few years, I've served on the board of Cristo Rey, an inner city school in Minneapolis. Cristo Rey, which was started six years ago, is designed to serve children who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The typical student entering Cristo Rey tests one to two grades behind their grade level, and many face overwhelming adversity in their everyday lives. What Cristo Rey offers is a proven system that works, with 100% of last year's seniors graduating. There are numerous public charter schools in the Twin Cities that achieve similar results, providing us with multiple examples of how to move forward. We must demand that every child has the opportunity to receive a quality education.
A LIMITED BUT EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT Demanding Excellence. Our government runs on your hard-earned tax dollars, and you deserve government programs that are both cost-effective and have a positive impact. We demand quality goods and services in every other area of our life, and government should be no different. As your Senator, I will be committed to making government provide the best possible services at the lowest effective cost. Stop Snooping on Innocent Americans. From cell phone records to "Angry Birds,"Â the NSA crossed a line with their efforts to spy on innocent Americans without their knowledge or consent. As chairman of the Senate's privacy subcommittee, it was Al Franken's job to protect the privacy of innocent Americans and he failed us. Saying No to Higher Taxes. Hard-working Minnesotans already pay enough taxes. I fundamentally believe that the best place for your money is in your own hands. Instead of raising taxes, we should be going line-by-line through the federal budget to root out wasteful spending. Protect the Second Amendment. I am a strong defender of the Second Amendment, and as your next U.S. Senator, I will resist any government policy that infringes on the constitutional rights of gun owners. We have an illegal gun issue in this country, not a legal gun issue. I oppose universal background checks. Instead, we need to enforce existing laws to ensure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands. Create an Immigration System for the 21st Century. Our current immigration policy is broken, and I am frustrated that Congress continues to kick the can down the road. While I am firmly against amnesty, I also believe that we need to find an immigration solution for the 21st century that has more focus on economic impact. We need to radically rethink our policy, but I won't support any plan until we can prove that our borders are secure. Only then would I support a process that requires paying a fine and back taxes, passing a full background check, proving employment, learning English and civics, and then going to the back of the current immigration line.
US HOUSE OF REP LOGO
Tim Walz (DFL) Incumbent
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
ENERGY Voted against the KeystoneXL Pipeline without limiting amendments - I strongly believe that we must invest in alternative sources of energy and develop new, innovative technology that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and put us at the forefront of the clean energy economy worldwide. By doing this research and development, we will create new clean energy jobs. These jobs will be in all sectors, from engineering and science to marketing and business administration, and will help support the next generation of energy and power. And, we will reduce our dependence on foreign countries for our energy, which is a critical goal of our national security strategy. Recently, I introduced the American Energy Opportunity Act. The basic premise of the Act is simple: take the royalties from expanding access to our domestic oil supply and invest them back into America. We must end our dependence on foreign oil, doing so will allow us to take control of our energy future and keep prices at the pump down. The bill would extend important tax credits, such as the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy right here in southern Minnesota. The bill would also establish the "Energy Independence and Security Fund", which will fund advanced research projects, wind energy, solar energy and advanced vehicle research.
HEALTHCARE Patient-centered Affordable Health Care for You and Your Family - The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the law of the land. The historic passage of this health care reform law in 2010 works to bring more transparency and accountability to the health care industry and ensure you and your family have access to the patient-protections and high-quality health care you deserve. Because of the patient-centered reforms and protections in the health care law, seniors will never again have to choose between buying groceries or filling their prescriptions; young adults won't lose their coverage the day after they've earned their diplomas; and you can no longer be discriminated against and denied coverage for having a pre-existing condition, like fighting and beating cancer or simply being a woman. As I've always said, health care reform is a journey, not a destination. The Affordable Care Act isn't perfect and I am willing to work with anyone who is genuine in their attempts to improve the law. That being said, I will continue to fight reckless attempts to repeal these patient protections and put big insurance companies back in charge.
IMMIGRATION We must secure our borders and enact comprehensive immigration reform that provides legal avenues for immigrants to enter our country and seek out their own American Dream. By enacting comprehensive immigrations reform, we'll strengthen our national security and increase our competitiveness in the global economy by ensuring the best and brightest in the world can come to our country legally, earn their citizenship, and contribute to our economy. DREAM Act - As a former teacher, I recognize the importance of promoting students who apply themselves to their studies and work towards going on to college. As a citizen, I recognize the moral imperative not to hold children accountable for the decisions of their parents. For these reasons I support the DREAM Act in Congress. In this country if a young person excels in school our serves in our nation's military, I believe they should be given an opportunity to stay in the only home they've ever known.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHINA - As you may know, early in my teaching career I had the opportunity to teach high school in China. Additionally, I have been a member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) since I began serving in Congress in 2007. The CECC was created by Congress in October 2001 to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and Congress. It consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President. Our relationship with China is too complicated to be reduced to a single issue. The U.S. and China have the two largest economies in the world, and while the United States indisputably has the most powerful military in the world, China, as a rising power, is expanding its own military capabilities. Continuing our constructive economic relationship with China while expanding our military-military contacts are the keys to building a solid, lasting partnership with the China. Still, I have many concerns about China's poor human rights record. China's brutal suppression of pro-democracy advocates, Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, and other critics of the ruling Communist Party is an affront to basic human decency. Additionally, I strongly believe in the need to establish rule of law, freeing the Chinese people from facing imprisonment based on the whims of party leaders. Many are also concerned by what they see as China's unfair trade practices, especially the artificially low value of their currency. I share these concerns and have reached out to express them to our Commerce Department in the past. I am also a co-sponsor of legislation that seeks to place trade tariffs on countries like China that may employ currency manipulation and other unfair trade advantages.
MIDDLE EAST - Last year the United Nations voted to officially recognize The Palestine Liberation Organization as a non-voting (i.e. non-member) observer state. Though the United States was one of only nine nations to vote against this measure, I believe this could mark a step towards progress, peace, and finding a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. A sustainable remedy to ongoing Israeli-Palestinian discord must be reached in order for a Palestinian state to endure. Though Israel remains one of America's strongest allies, the best interests of both countries, including the safety of its peoples, must be the top priority. I am in favor of diplomacy and cooperation between Israel and Palestine, and any solution that establishes a solidified long-term accord to be upheld for many years to come. To that end, Congress must work diligently and cautiously with the current administration to help achieve these goals.
IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN - After nearly nine years, the war in Iraq has finally come to a responsible close. Moving forward, we must redouble our efforts to make certain our veterans have access to the best health care possible, are provided with ample opportunities for education and well-paying jobs, and are becoming fully reintegrated into the lives they once knew. Unlike the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan was not a war of choice. It has been a war forced upon us by the terrible attacks on September 11, 2001, and reinforced by the subsequent attacks on innocent civilians in nations across the world. In general, I support the President's overall strategy for Afghanistan to remove combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. We must continue to remain vigilant to ensure that Afghanistan and Pakistan do not provide terrorists a safe haven.
Jim Hagedorn (R) Challenger
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
HEALTHCARE I will not mince words; Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. The well-documented bureaucratic bungling and serious implementation problems currently embarrassing the Obama administration and frustrating the American people represent just the tip of the Obamacare iceberg. Minnesota's families, employees and businesses are taking note of the new health-care law. As I crisscross the 1st District and talk with people of varied political viewpoints, most southern Minnesotans are upset they are being forced to pay dramatically higher health insurance premiums and deductibles, or that their current health insurance policies are being canceled outright. In my view, Obamacare represents Washington, D.C.-based control over our medical care system and, ultimately, our lives. I consider Obamacare as toxic, the equivalent of a cancer that has been injected into the medical care system and something that must be eradicated. I strongly oppose Obamacare and if elected to Congress, I will fight to the political death to repeal the bill and replace it with free-market reforms.
IMMIGRATION Washington, D.C. has Failed on Border Security - The federal government's primary responsibility is to defend the United States and our nation's sovereignty. Leaders of both national political parties have failed the American people on the key issue of border security over the past generation. Instead of sealing the U.S. - Mexico border and protecting our nation, current politicians are making matters dramatically worse. President Obama and congressional proponents of the DREAM Act and amnesty for illegal aliens are encouraging a new flood of illegal immigration and we are already paying a heavy price. President Obama's 2012 executive order nullifying deportation of illegal aliens brought into the United States before they turned age 16, and no older than 30, has led to the recent influx of tens of thousands of Central American trespassers on our southern border. This massive illegal entry of minor children, mostly from Honduras and Guatemala, is causing chaos for the Border Patrol, creating a massive taxpayer liability and making it easier for Islamic terrorists, drug smugglers and gang members to slither into the United States. Obama's decree to halt the deportation of so called Dreamers and the reckless push for amnesty by liberal members of Congress like Tim Walz, effectively served as text message notification for illegal immigrants to gather as a flash mob on the North side of the Rio Grande. The debacle is quickly spiraling out of control.
ENERGY I am an unapologetic proponent of bold national policies to foster private sector development of all available U.S. energy resources, including exploring for fossil fuels on public lands and developing technologies to more efficiently utilize renewable energy platforms. I also support initiatives to build the infrastructure needed to efficiently transport, refine/process, and utilize U.S. energy resources. Importantly, these policies will lead to an energy-independent America. Energy independence is an economic and national security issue. Increased development of U.S. energy resources offers many benefits, such as expanding our struggling economy, creating badly needed high-paying jobs, reinvigorating domestic manufacturing, enhancing global competiveness for U.S. industries, and placing downward pressure on fuel, electricity and product costs for American businesses and consumers. Energy independence will also allow our country to execute a foreign policy with less emphasis or concern for OPEC and Middle East oil politics.
Issue more Infrastructure permits; less anti-energy regulations. Blue Earth - Congressman Tim Walz is holding a roundtable discussion today in Winona regarding the transport of crude oil and rail safety. As usual, Rep. Walz is feigning "photo op" angst and concern for a problem his liberal policies created in the first place. The real issue is the anti-fossil fuel politics and excessive regulations emanating from Washington, D.C. President Obama's EPA and Energy Department are needlessly blocking, delaying and driving up the cost of the infrastructure construction needed to deliver U.S. oil and gas efficiently. Moving oil via pipeline, rather than railcar, is about 70% cheaper and far safer. Yet Rep. Walz and his liberal buddies block the safe and efficient transport of U.S. energy and then carp about the danger of moving it by other means. Mark my words, their next move will be issuance of even more regulations against the railroad industry, which will further increase the price consumers pay for petroleum and other products.
John Kline (R) Incumbent
Rated -6 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
HEALTHCARE Patients, doctors, health care providers, employers, and workers share one common tenet when it comes to "ObamaCare": It weakens health care for American families. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a colossal 2,700-page bill rushed through Congress without much effort to engage the American people in the process. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi embraced this scheme, infamously stating, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it." Currently, it is clear the president's law does nothing to control costs or expand coverage. And many Americans have had enough. Despite promises that the health care law would lower costs, premiums are rising for families nationwide. As Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, he is on the front lines of the critical ObamaCare debate. He has been an outspoken critic of the law since day one, and he remains concerned that, particularly once the administration fully implements the law's burdensome rules and regulations, it will unfairly penalize everyone from workers and employers to students, parents, and seniors. Whether through full repeal or an incremental approach, John Kline remains committed to unraveling this flawed law that is having a devastating effect on our economy and straining family budgets in Minnesota and nationwide. Most importantly, he will continue to pursue health care reform in a way that makes sense, supporting proposals that will actually lower health care costs without budgetary gimmicks, and protect the best interests individuals, families, and small businesses. Minnesotans, and all Americans, deserve better than ObamaCare's broken promises.
ENERGY Supports construction of the KeystoneXL Pipeline without limiting amendments. John Kline has been a champion of a comprehensive "all of the above" approach that would reduce our dependence on hostile regions of the world and increase all forms of American energy. Kline believes we must stop government policies that are driving up energy prices and expanding American energy production to lower costs and create more jobs. In January, 2009, the average price of gas nationwide was approximately $1.89 per gallon. Rising gas prices hurt families, commuters, job seekers, and small business owners. Rising prices at the pump shouldn't compel Minnesotans to choose between gas and groceries. We need to work together to pass reforms and remove roadblocks to provide relief at the pump and create jobs, including a forward thinking solution that includes oil, natural gas, nuclear, and clean renewable energies. It is long past the time to unlock America's abundant energy resources. American Energy Initiative: Americans want Washington to get out of the way so we can produce more American energy, lower gasoline prices, and help small businesses begin hiring again. To answer that call, John Kline helped launch the American Energy Initiative, an ongoing effort focused on the simple solutions we need for a sensible, all-of-the-above energy policy:
Stopping government policies that are driving up energy prices
Expanding American energy production to lower costs and create more jobs
Promoting an all-of-the-above strategy to increase all forms of American energy
Mike Obermueller (DFL) Challenger
Erik Paulsen (R) Incumbent
Rated -2 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
ENERGY Supports construction of the KeystoneXL Pipeline without limiting amendments. Congress must be proactive and pass a comprehensive energy policy that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower costs for working families. American energy produces American jobs. The overall formula is simple - we need to increase supply and lower demand. To achieve that goal, we must diversify our domestic energy supply and encourage the use of clean, renewable energy sources like wind, solar, nuclear and biofuels. We must also boost domestic supplies of both natural gas and oil by exploring in the Outer Continental Shelf. A comprehensive energy plan should be guided by the following principles:
Promote the use of new, clean and reliable sources of energy like wind, solar and nuclear.
Increase the supply of domestic energy-producing American energy produces American jobs through domestic exploration and production.
Invest in research and development for innovation and energy efficiency.
Create incentives for alternative energy sources.
We also need to reduce our carbon emissions but we cannot do so at the expense of jobs and raising prices on working families. We need to craft aggressive, yet realistic, goals that will allow us to reduce emissions, strengthen our environment and create jobs. During these challenging times, we simply cannot afford radical policy changes that will increase costs on working families and result in job losses.
HEALTHCARE I support these common sense health care reforms:
First, as an issue of fairness we must ensure access to coverage for all Americans, and cover people with pre-existing conditions. Minnesota has long had a universal access pool for the medically uninsurable. Expanding the use of universal access pools like Minnesota's would go a long way towards reducing the number of uninsured.
Pay for quality, not quantity. We should pay our health care providers based on how well they keep patients healthy - not just for the number of tests or procedures they order. Tying money to results will help get better health care outcomes. Also, we have to reform the medical liability system and reduce frivolous lawsuits.
Focus on prevention. A high portion of health care costs are often a result of treatment that comes after someone is sick or develops a serious condition. 74% of all costs are confined to four chronic conditions -cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Focusing on wellness and chronic disease management will save money before costs become prohibitively expensive.
We need to fix the Medicare reimbursement problems that punish states like Minnesota that provide high-quality, low-cost care. Building new public programs on a broken existing payment system is doomed to failure.
Make costs transparent so consumers understand what health care treatments cost. And, because physicians know the best care for their patients, we need doctor-led quality measures to ensure patients receive quality care.
Finally, we should offer patients greater choice and portability. Patients should be able to own their coverage without fear that it will be lost or taken away.
Taking a step-by-step approach that's focused on lowering the cost of care will improve access for everyone. That's the right way to reform our healthcare system.
Sharon Sund (DFL) Challenger
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
Sharon's Commitments on the Issues
I am committed to fighting for investments in Early Childhood Family Education, to making college and trade school affordable, and to meeting the funding obligations for special education.
I am committed to conservation and the development of a renewable energy economy and a sustainable energy future.
I am committed to fighting for accessible, effective, and affordable healthcare for all.
I am committed to keeping Social Security solvent.
I am committed to comprehensive tax reform.
I am committed to protecting workers' rights and fighting for livable wages for workers.
I am committed to equal rights for all, including women, minority groups, and the LGBTQ community.
I am committed to working hard for and representing all constituents.
In all of these, I am committed to fighting for the interests of people over the interests of corporations.
Betty McCollum (DFL) Incumbent
Rated +4 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
HEALTHCARE In 2010, I voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when it passed the House, and the President signed it into law (P.L. 111- 148). This legislation is a major step in the right direction toward achieving the universal health care system we deserve. Once fully implemented, millions of uninsured or underinsured families and workers will have access to comprehensive coverage so they can receive the affordable care they need when they need it. Delivery system reforms will encourage coordinated, patient-centered care to improve quality, while reducing costs. Many of these changes build on the success that Minnesota has already achieved and have made our state a leader in delivering high-quality, low-cost care. While maintaining the pressure to ensure that these reforms are fully implemented, we must also turn our attention to ongoing issues that affect our communities. We must do more to address growing health disparities, support medical education, or improve access to mental health services. Our work is not done.
WOMEN'S ISSUES Women have shattered glass ceilings, broken barriers, shaped our communities, and improved our world. Their struggles and achievements have made communities better places for future generations. Women have come a long way in the workplace and now hold titles once deemed unattainable. Women are heads of state, CEOs, astronauts, professional athletes, doctors, public officials, and construction workers. When the contributions of women are valued and their participation is encouraged by society - everyone benefits.
In Congress, I have been a strong advocate for legislation that improves the lives of women and girls. I supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (P.L. 111 - 2), which helps reduce pay discrimination against women. I also worked to break the culture of silence surrounding domestic violence, sexual assaults, and stalking. I'm committed to ensuring that all women and girls have access to comprehensive health services. Despite these accomplishments, there is still work left to be done.
ENERGY Voted against the Keystone XL Pipeline without limiting amendments. High oil prices are hurting Minnesota drivers. America's dependency on oil and coal are endangering our national security and contributing to catastrophic climate change. Clean energy technology is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy and a key to America's future. The United States is losing ground in private clean energy investment, and we cannot afford slip further behind. To regain the lead, we need a strong partnership among government, universities and the private sector. America's entrepreneurs, small businesses and cutting-edge corporations need the U.S. government to make strategic investments in infrastructure, research, and education. The private sector urgently needs clear policy direction, including a comprehensive national energy strategy. Taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels represent corporate welfare at its worst. Those subsidies should be redirected to support the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, wave energy and others. These are commitments America's global competitors - China, India, Germany, and Brazil - are making in order to compete. We must do the same if we are to remain economically competitive and preserve the health of the planet.
FOREIGN POLICY Accounting for only one percent of the overall federal budget, America's relatively modest commitment to foreign assistance and diplomacy supports a range of proven, comprehensive strategies, including long-term development, post-conflict reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, and economic and military aid. Compared to reactive military interventions, these proactive approaches are almost always more effective and less expensive options. As the world's most powerful country, our nation has a responsibility to aggressively pursue initiatives that alleviate poverty, promote democracy and human rights, improve lives, and stabilize communities in the developing world. In Congress, I have introduced bills aimed at achieving these goals by fighting hunger, preventing young girls from becoming child brides, and helping to reduce child and maternal mortality. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I advocate for the funding bi-lateral and multi-lateral institutions - such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank - need to deliver basic health care, education, agricultural assistance and other critical interventions.
Sharna Walhgren (R) Challenger
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY - The federal debt is a clear and present danger to our security, our liberty and our nation. It threatens the American Dream. Solving this problem must be our highest priority. We should not go any further into debt, but should balance our budget and reign in runaway spending.
LOCAL SOLUTIONS -We should not look to Washington, D.C. to solve all of our problems. One size doesn't fit all in this great, big country of ours. Local solutions to many important issues, such as education and health care, are more effective and less expensive. We need Washington out of our way (and our pocketbooks) so we can solve our own problems here in Minnesota.
JOB GROWTH - To have a strong economy, it is vital we have quality jobs for everyone. We need a thriving middle class. A good job, not a government program, is the foundation for the pursuit of happiness. We must reduce overreaching government regulations and unnecessary red tape which get in the way of business.
Keith Ellison (DFL) Incumbent
Rated +8 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
ENERGY Voted against the KeystoneXL Pipeline without limiting amendments. I believe we can live in a country in which everyone can breathe clean air, drink clean water, and eat food without toxins. Many Americans choose to embrace sustainable environmental practices, but history shows that we can't rely solely on corporations and the free market to do what's right. I believe it is the responsibility of government to take decisive action to protect our natural resources, enact sustainable policies, and promote a green economy. We need a safe and clean planet for all communities, not just for some. I am a strong supporter of the environmental justice movement, which brings low-income communities and communities of color into the larger efforts to create a cleaner world for future generations. We must make strategic investments in green technologies, provide strong incentives for companies to act responsibly, and make it more affordable for American families to adopt Earth-friendly lifestyle choices. My top environmental priority is to address the very serious challenge of global warming. I support necessary policies that will help our country reduce its carbon footprint, transition away from reliance on fossil fuels, and implement a carbon cap and trade system.
FOREIGN POLICY End the Gaza blockade to achieve peace
It seems as though each day brings new horrors and heartbreaks in the Holy Land. More than 1,000 dead. Gazan children blown up on the beach. A U.N. shelter hit. Two-thirds of Israelis living in fear from indiscriminate rocket fire launched by Hamas. But as the calls for a cease-fire gain momentum, it is important to understand that many Gazans who have no association with Hamas view the return to the way things were as unacceptable. These people aren't rocket shooters or combatants. For the past several years they have lived in dreadful isolation. The status quo for ordinary Gazans is a continuation of no jobs and no freedom. This is not an attractive future. Gazans want and deserve the dignity of economic opportunity and freedom to move. This can be accomplished only with an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which must be considered within the framework of a cease-fire. Israelis likewise deserve to live free of rocket fire and terror attacks. In order for Israelis to live safely and securely in their homes, Hamas must give up its rockets and other weapons. I have traveled to Gaza three times since 2009 and have visited hospitals and schools there. As I have talked with ordinary Gazans, I have not encountered anyone representing Hamas.
DOMESTIC NATIONAL ISSUES
Civil And Human Rights Rep. Ellison is an accomplished civil rights, employment, and criminal defense attorney with a long record of community and civic engagement. His family's involvement in the Civil Rights struggle between the 1950s through 1970s influenced Keith's commitment to the cause of justice and creating an inclusive and fair society. As a result he has staunchly supported efforts to protect voting rights, to advance equal rights for women, and to increase healthcare access.
Prosperity for Working Families Beginning in 2008 the United States experienced its deepest recession since The Great Depression. The combination of stagnant wages, high unemployment, and rampant home foreclosures has combined to squeeze the middle class into a shaky financial position. Access to honest banking and credit services, protective financial regulations, and a world-class education helped build the middle-class and fuel The American Dream.
Environmental Stability Rep. Ellison is committed to the protection and stewardship of the natural resources that enable Americans to enjoy clean air, drink clean water, and eat food without toxins. It is this commitment to sustainable environmental practices that led him to help found Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM), which focuses on resolving environmental issues that lead to health disparities in communities of color.
Peace & Security Rep. Ellison promotes maintaining peace and security in the United States and abroad as one of his primary tenets and he has debated the wisdom of fighting unnecessary wars. He has served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which oversees U.S. diplomatic and national security interests throughout the world. Rep. Ellison opposed the U.S.'s entrance into the Iraq War and has called for the end to the war in Afghanistan. The Congressman strives to support Congressional actions affecting U.S. relationships with foreign governments to show respect for the individual and a commitment improving life for all people.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Equality I am working to advance Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) equality in Congress by ending existing discrimination written in federal laws, giving law enforcement tools to pursue perpetrators of hate crimes, and extending marriage rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples and families.
IMMIGRATION The United States is a proud country of immigrants, and Minnesota is a shining example of this history. As with past generations, new Americans want what all Americans want: safe neighborhoods, good schools, and the chance to raise a family and succeed. Immigrants today are often asked to work in the toughest jobs for the least amount of pay, and are cast into the shadows of our society. Our immigration system is broken, and I am committed to working in Congress to fix it.
Passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform I believe immigration rules need to be straightforward, fair, and predictable. They currently are not. I am committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform and have co-sponsored such legislation in my two terms in Congress. I believe that our reformed immigration system should include a clear path to citizenship for those who are already in the U.S. working and paying taxes. We need to put families first and have an expedited process for family reunification and believe that the federal government has an obligation to clear up the lengthy backlog of family visa requests. I also believe we need to pass The Dream Act, which is legislation designed to increase access to higher education for the children of immigrants and give them an opportunity to succeed and give back to their communities.
Doug Daggett (R) Challenger
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
HEALTHCARE Now that the Affordable Care Act is law, there are many ways to make it better and more affordable for the American people. The best healthcare system includes the following components:
Health insurance that is individual-based, not employer-based. (Just as other types of insurance, such as car and home insurance, are through an individual, not an employer).
Ability to shop around for better health insurance, just as we shop for better car insurance, thus we get what we want at a better price.
Not forced to pay for things embedded in a health plan that we don't want or need.
Health Savings Accounts to save money tax-free for out-of-pocket expenses.
Catastrophic insurance for unexpected major healthcare expenses that could otherwise lead to bankruptcy.
Allow people to purchase insurance across state lines to increase options available
State-based high-risk pools
Tax credits for people to buy health insurance, versus mandates.
The above components provide for a healthcare system that is better, truly sustainable, and more affordable for America.
ECONOMIC SECURITY The American Dream is to have economic security. The role of government is to create an environment where families can prosper. Unfortunately, our children are being saddled with a debt of $50,000 per child that is increasing each year. Our nation must stop spending money it does not have. Unless Minneapolis wants to someday look like Detroit today, we need real change now. As your new representative in Washington DC, Doug will fight for common-sense economic reform.
Michele Bachmann (R) Retiring in 2014.
Tom Emmer (R) Challenger
In 2004, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and re-elected by overwhelming majorities in 2006 and 2008. Tom relinquished his seat in the State Legislature to run for Governor in 2010. Tom's message of redesigning government and putting people back in charge of their own opportunities resulted in a broad victory for Republicans and nearly one million votes throughout Minnesota, even though his bid ultimately came up less than one half of one percent short of victory. After the 2010 election cycle, Tom entered the radio business as a conservative radio host on Twin Cities News Talk AM1130, quickly becoming a force for political commentary in the Twin Cities metro area. His show has become a favorite for conservatives across Minnesota. Family is why Tom Emmer entered the political arena nearly a decade ago. Four generations of Emmers have enjoyed Minnesota's prosperity. Tom wants to ensure the next generation of Minnesotans will be blessed with the same opportunities. Tom believes government has grown too large and has strayed from its duty of service for the people. By keeping taxes low and making government a resource - not a restraint - for individuals and businesses, we can move our country toward a path of prosperity. - See more at: http://emmerforcongress.com/meet-tom.cfm#sthash.kjRmyvNJ.dpuf
Joe Perske (D) Challenger
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
HEALTHCARE The cost of health care (including insurance costs) have been going up for decades, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an historic piece of legislation that finally addresses the health care reform America has needed for years. But it isn't perfect. Most social programs were imperfect when enacted and are still subject to improvements which make them better serve Americans. So it is with the ACA. Congress should now be coming together to improve the ACA instead of voting to repeal it seemingly once a week.
America's resources, if carefully used, are more than sufficient to ensure that every one of us has affordable, accessible, and high quality health care. Mayor Perske is ready and willing to work with his future colleagues to make those resources are available to everyone.
ECONOMY AND JOBS Currently, our tax dollars subsidize many industries that are profitable and don't need our help. With political will and hard work, we can apply these dollars to other developing businesses - businesses that address the economic and ecological needs of the future. For example we could cut our subsidies to fossil fuel companies, and instead consider encouraging proven and reliable sustainable agricultural programs and alternative energy startups. The goals here are to obtain food security and stable, clean energy sources. Not only will these forward-thinking businesses strengthen America's ability to face the future, they will create many good paying, permanent jobs that cannot be outsourced. Investing in a sustainable economy is simply the right thing to do.
SUPPORTING EDUCATION As a teacher and coach for twenty-five years, Joe has seen first-hand how the challenges of our educational system affect our communities. He has put three daughters through college, and knows that the cost of a higher education has grown rapidly. He also knows that, for many, this cost is virtually out of reach, or only possible with sizable student loans that burden these future leaders well into their careers. If given the chance, Joe will try to help our students reach their goal of obtaining higher education. Other initiatives also make good sense. The school lunch program should not have its funds cut. Children learn better when they are well nourished. For some of the most unfortunate students, a healthy school lunch is their only meal of the day. We should also retain preschool programs, because very young students' development is dramatically enriched by quality programs that prepare them for elementary school. Funding the preschool evens the playing field by making all of our children, regardless of background, ready to learn.
Collin Peterson (DFL) Incumbent
Rated -2 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
ENERGY Voted in favor of the KeystoneXL Pipeline without limiting amendments.
Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.
Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
Voted YES on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution.
HEALTHCARE MARCH 2014 - U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, one of 34 Democrats to oppose the Affordable Care Act in 2010, has voted against every full repeal bill the House has considered since the GOP took control in 2011. He has, however, sided with the party on half of the 50-some Obamacare bills they've voted on over the last three years, including all of them since October.
IMMIGRATION Representative Collin Peterson's record when it comes to border security. There are currently at least 12 million (with estimates reaching as high as 30 million) illegal aliens in this country. The first line of defense is controlling our porous borders. Representative Collin Peterson clearly wants to secure our borders and the votes show that. After an illegal alien has entered our country the next line of defense is interior enforcement. Currently employers are not required to verify that an applicant or employee is legally allowed to work in this country. In addition, local law enforcement at the state and local level have had their hands tied when dealing with illegal aliens by not even allowing them to inquire about arrestees' citizenship status. Representative Collin Peterson has worked hard to allow state and local law enforcement to help in reducing illegal immigration and to put in place workplace verification systems allowing employers to quickly verify the legal working status of their employees. If an illegal alien avoids being picked up, or remains here after receiving deportation orders, the next thing they look for are incentives, rewards and benefits. Amnesty is the largest of these rewards and gives illegal aliens a path to citizenship or makes them instantly legal. Representative Collin Peterson has voted in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens. Representative Collin Peterson has voted against giving illegal aliens further rewards and other incentives to come such as in-state tuition, educational benefits, welfare and health care services.
Torrey Westrom (R) Challenger
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
ENERGY Immediately approve the building of the Keystone Pipeline in order to move the U.S. closer toward energy independence, create local jobs, lower energy and gas costs.
HEALTHCARE Repeal ObamaCare and start over Eliminate the "unaffordable care act" that is hurting seniors, families, farmers, and businesses. Replace it with patient-driven, free market solutions that puts decision making back in the hands of patients and doctors.
BALANCE THE BUDGET As a member of the state legislature, Torrey is proud to consistently vote for a balanced budget, and will fight in favor of bringing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
SPENDING End the career politicians' reckless, runaway spending, and repeated raising of the debt ceiling that is saddling our children with mountains of debt.
Rick Nolan (DFL) Incumbent
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT Voted against construction of the KeystoneXL Pipeline without limiting amendments. I'm proud to sit on two Subcommittees - the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, and the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry - that enable me to promote the economic and ecological vitality of our northeastern Minnesota waterways, forests and farmlands, as well as our ability to produce clean energy to fuel manufacturing and generate good paying middle-class jobs for years to come.
DEFENSE I am a supporter of a strong national defense, at home and abroad. I firmly believe that we should do everything in our power to redirect taxpayer money away from unnecessary military construction projects abroad in places like Afghanistan, and instead invest in construction projects here at home - rebuilding our roads, bridges, ports, waterways, and sewer systems. We need to invest in education, basic medical and health research, and human development, and to generate desperately needed good-paying jobs for middle-class Americans, including America's veterans, the brave men and women whom we put into harm's way to protect and serve us.
To that end, I successfully authored and passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA) to prevent future fraud and abuse of taxpayer money on construction projects in Afghanistan. According to the Special Inspector General to Afghanistan and Iraq, since 2002, our government has spent more than $100 billion in construction projects in those two countries - $60 billion of which is completely unaccounted for. Up to $79 billion more has been authorized for new construction projects, many of which fall outside our scope of oversight. Because U.S. troops in Afghanistan must stay within inspection zone boundaries that assure them quick access to medical care, they are unable to supervise and guarantee that funds for these projects are being used for the intended purposes. My amendment prohibits the construction of any project over $500,000 without submitting a report to Congress assuring proper auditing and oversight. It was supported by 23 organizations under the banner of the Project on Government Oversight.
HEALTHCARE On March 23rd, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, providing coverage to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, allowing students to stay on their parents' plans a little longer, saving senior citizens money by addressing the donut hole in Medicare, providing tax credits for working families and small businesses, and guaranteeing that women pay the same as men for health insurance. The law has already put money back in the pockets of millions of Americans, including the 190,000 residents of Minnesota's 8th District - some 39,000 children and 137,000 seniors - who are now eligible for health insurance or Medicare without co-pay, coinsurance, or deductible. The Affordable Care Act is an important first step, not the last, in our nation's quest for providing Americans with the assurance, security, and the peace of mind that accompanies quality, low-cost health care.
Affordable Care Act Fix - With that in mind, I have offered a bipartisan, common-sense solution to fix a burdensome cost associated with the Affordable Care Act - a bill I authored called the Health Care Fairness and Flexibility Act (H.R.4735). Introduced in June with Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), it would implement a 3-year delay in the ACA's "transitional reinsurance program" that would force additional costs onto working families - up to $252 in 2014 for a family of four - and subjected employers who self-insure to expensive insurance fees. This program was designed to steady the cost of health care premiums for individuals in the exchanges, funded by charging all insurers a flat fee, even though the employees of self-insuring companies - including unions and many large businesses - don't benefit from this program. Our bill addresses this problem by delaying the fee, without delaying the program itself, giving employers more flexibility and time to comply with the law, and putting money back in the pockets of hardworking middle-class families.
Stewart Mills (R) Challenger
HOT BUTTON ISSUES
ECONOMY The Eighth District is a Main Street economy and job growth here comes from the ground up. That means we need tax reform that's geared toward small business growth. Stewart doesn't believe that Washington creates jobs- entrepreneurs and business owners create jobs.
NATURAL RESOURCES Stewart believes that one way to increase employment here in Minnesota's Eighth District is to have federal policies which will allow us to fully capitalize on our mineral and timber resources. It's critical that Washington stop blocking our ability to extract natural resources. That's why Stewart supports the development of the Polymet Project.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS As a hunter and a competitive shooter, Stewart is staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, but he also believes that the entire Constitution must be protected and upheld in Washington.
HEALTHCARE Stewart believes that Obamacare has failed in achieving its stated goal- it set out to insure the uninsured, but it has resulted in "uninsuring" the previously insured. With his background in administering Fleet Farm's self-managed health plans, Stewart knows how to implement market based healthcare reforms that will increase the supply of medical services, reduce the demand through prevention and actually make the healthcare delivery more efficient.
SPENDING AND NATIONAL DEBT Our nation is more than $17 trillion in debt and politicians in Washington keep kicking the can down the road. We are quickly approaching the point where the annual debt servicing payments will grow to unsustainable levels. Our debt is endangering our children's future and threatening our ability to leave this nation in better shape than we found it.
Read more: Family Security Matters http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/minnesota-2014-candidates-for-congress-where-they-stand?f=must_reads#ixzz3CoYBtVfe
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