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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

John Kline Writes A Northfield Letter To The Editor

Category: John Kline
Posted: 10/21/14 00:08

by Dave Mindeman

John Kline wrote a Letter to the Editor. I guess he wrote it himself. He sent it to the local Northfield, MN paper. Interesting coincidence...given that Bill Maher was recently there with his FlipADistrict campaign.

But let's take a look at the letter.

If you didn't know anything about Congressman John Kline, you might think he is doing a great job.

Whether leading the fight to strengthen laws to protect our children from predators; ensuring members of the Minnesota Guard receive overdue bonus pay they were promised; or championing a bipartisan effort to train the unemployed for new job opportunities - all three of these efforts were signed into law by President Obama - I am doing everything I can to deliver for you, your families and friends, and our communities.

Nice words. "Protect our children". "Championing a bipartisan effort." "I can deliver."

It is like Kline has a whole different pesonna that he is peddling.

Yes, he did put forward a law regarding sex trafficking - a bill that had no opposition in Congress. Who is against "protecting children"?

Yes, he helped get the MN National Guard some neglected bonus pay - of course, it was not during his current term - but it did happen with support from the other members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation.

Yes, Kline worked on a bill to help train the unemployed. It passed 415-6. But it happened after repeated NO votes against unemployment benefits extension. As MSNBC put it - "Congress throws a bone to the long-term unemployed."

Yes, John Kline did those things. Those three things. Which he uses in his rhetoric and commercials, over and over.

But what he will never talk about is how he accepts huge sums of donation from For Profit Colleges and then allows them to continue to exploit students and veterans for their own profits.

What he never mentions is that the No Child Left Behind legislation which everyone wants to modify or change, languishes in Kline's Committee - with our current Congressman resisting and criticizing all of the President's efforts to seek change.

What he won't tell you is that he has voted against EPA efforts to work on the environment. He even votes against funding to simply study the effects of climate change.

And in his letter he wants us to believe this....

While I have been able to break through the gridlock in some instances, the challenges facing us are steep.

Breaking through the gridlock? Congressman, do you mean the gridlock where you are one of its biggest instigators? The gridlock that Congressional Republicans took to a shutdown, which, as you stated to a Tea Party group, was a "strategy" to repeal Obamacare? The gridlock that allows the House Majority, (which you are a part of) vote 55 times to repeal Obamacare, but never take up immigration reform?

Is that the gridlock you refer to?

But then you decide to invoke Ronald Reagan....

Despite the turbulence our nation endures, I continue to adhere to the unwavering belief that you and I are blessed to live in the greatest nation in the world. That shining city on the hill - the beacon of light that provides hope for everyone, that they, too, can pursue the American dream - should be within each and every Minnesotans' reach. And I will continue to fight to that end.

Yes, we are lucky to live in this great nation.....but the American dream is rapidly moving beyond the reach of some. College graduates are being saddled with incredible sums of debt. Debt they may never repay. And the income disparity grows more prolific every day. Coming out of that great recession, only the wealthy are recovering - many in the middle class still struggle. And if we talk about the American dream, we must talk about the Dreamers - the children of the undocumented.....who also call this great country home, but are still denied their own chance at the American dream because our immigration system remains broken.

Congressman, you say "I will continue to fight to that end." But what is that end? You fight for corporations, for For-Profit Colleges, for mining companies, for oil and gas subsidies, and for the polluters.

When do you fight for us? It is time for a change. It is time that we elect someone who proudly fights for the middle class. Who stands with students, veterans, labor, and women. Someone who knows how to really fight the gridlock in DC.

Elect Mike Obermueller - vote for REAL representation in the 2nd District.
comments (1) permalink

Where's Rep. Tara Mack?

Category: DFL 2014
Posted: 10/19/14 23:57, Edited: 10/19/14 23:59

by Dave Mindeman

Where's Rep. Tara Mack?

Oh, I don't mean she's literally missing. Not by any means. She has been to forums and campaign meetings and fundraising events. She was recently at the local Chamber debate.

But she has missed some other meetings that directly involve her job. Meetings that have an effect on how she views health care in Minnesota.

In the legislature, Rep. Mack is on the Health and Human Services Policy Committee. She is also the Health and Human Services Finance Committee. And she is on the MNSure Legislative Oversight Committee. She has a lot to do with health care in Minnesota.

In August, Gov. Dayton made this announcement...

Governor Dayton today signed Executive Order 14-13 establishing a Blue Ribbon Committee on the University of Minnesota Medical School. The Committee will advise the Governor and Legislature on strategies and state investments to ensure the state's preeminent medical school is a national leader in medical training, research, and innovation.

An important topic regarding the future of health care policy and jobs in Minnesota. The paragraph at the bottom of the release indicated that the legislature would have 2 legislators (one Republican and one Democrat) from each of the legislative Houses. The legislator chosen to represent the entire minority caucus in the House was Rep. Tara Mack. It makes sense. She is the GOP lead on health care.

That committee had a meeting last Wednesday. Tara Mack DID NOT attend.

There is also a Healthcare Workforce Commission.

The Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission was created to study and make recommendations to the legislature on how to achieve the goal of strengthening the workforce in health care.

The commission deals with health care jobs. A topic that deals directly with Minnesota's future growth.

Rep. Tara Mack was appointed to that Commission, but has missed the last two meetings.

And then we can go back to March of this year, during the last session. A tax CUT bill was before the House. A bill that would "provide $503 million in tax relief to businesses and Minnesotans."

An important vote, but Rep. Tara Mack was not there to vote. Where was she?

State Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, was a guest speaker at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. Mack, who is one of CPAC's Top 10 conservatives under 40 years old, gave an eight minute speech on her political background, her conservative beliefs and what she characterized as the perils of the Affordable Care Act.

She was in Washington to receive an award. A very partisan award from a very partisan organization. She missed a tax bill vote in favor of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Congress. She used her speech time to criticize Democrats, Democratic policies, and of course the ACA.

Meanwhile, the tax bill did just fine. It passed overwhelmingly. But MPR was curious about her absence. She explained:

"I was honored to be recognized by a national organization for my leadership in Minnesota," Mack said. "I voted in support of the tax correction bill in committee, I support the bill now, and I plan on voting for this bill at final passage."

Yes, she was recognized....by a PARTISAN organization for partisan political leadership. Apparently she felt the tax bill didn't need her vote. Her district didn't need to be represented. I guess she feels that it was more important to represent her district at CPAC. Well, at least part of the district. Because she didn't represent all of us that day. A lot of Democrats and Independents don't care much about CPAC - and our idea of representation goes to votes in the legislature.

Rep. Tara Mack talks a lot about priorities when she talks about the legislature. Well, personal priorities show up in the things you take part in. Rep. Tara Mack should tell us what priorities are keeping her from her other duties on these commissions and committees.

If she is going to criticize Minnesota's current health care system, then she should be attending these valuable commission and committee opportunities to find the solutions.

Could we please have an explanation, Rep. Tara Mack?
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7th District- Westrom: Another GOP Failure Regarding Health Care

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 10/19/14 21:10, Edited: 10/19/14 21:15

by Dave Mindeman

After listening to GOP 7th District Candidate Torrey Westrom on Hauser's At Issue program, I feel exasperated.

In regards to health care, Westrom counts himself as another "repealer". He wants to get rid of Obamacare and replace it.

But, he then takes the puzzling position of telling us that we can keep all the things we like about Obamacare.....

Westrom says we can still get health care with pre-existing conditions. Yet, gives no indication of how we pay for it without the compensating infrastructure of a complete system like Obamacare. If he thinks premiums are going up now, wait till insurance companies have to add that mandate without any compensating mechanism.

Same thing goes for his "assurance" we can keep our children on our policy through age 26. This will cost insurance companies - how will Westrom pay for it?

Then he uses the old Republican ploy about buying insurance across state lines to get cheaper insurance. How? Every state has different standards. Different treatment of health care issues. Different mandates. Different standards of care. If you just open up state borders without setting minimum standards, you have a false cost basis. And the cost savings is lost.

And then he talks about "portability" as if a magic wand can be raised and employees can simply walk away and take their health care with them. Under the employer based system we have now, the employer gets a group rate based on covering the people who work for them. It is a benefit the employer pays for... that is specific for the people who work for them. If an employee leaves and works somewhere else, does he get to keep his policy and have his "former" employer still pay a share? Of course not. True portability would only work under single payer healthcare. But I am pretty sure Westrom is not for that.

And even Westrom balked when Hauser asked him if the popular Obamacare benefit of eliminating lifetime caps would be included in the benefits he would keep.

He stumbled through an answer that indicated that would have to be talked about - which means he can't support it because even he knows that the insurance rates would skyrocket if, again, there was no compensating infrastructure to support it.

Westrom is just another clueless Republican health care denier. No real plan - just talking points that include the popular items. But never giving a method of paying for any of it.

It is kind of ironic that Westrom is making health care an issue in the 7th District because Collin Peterson was one of a few Democrats who voted against Obamacare.

So, although I am not a great fan of the incumbent Peterson, it is absolute foolishness to think that Torrey Westrom is any kind of improvement.
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