What a great weekend. True, it was a little bit hotter than I may have liked, but after serving for many years in the Middle East including Iraq, my personal bar for complaining about the weather has been raised pretty high.
I started my weekend off on Saturday morning by attending a historical discussion put on by the DFL Education Foundation, called The Grand Consensus, which was hosted by Iric Nathanson and Lori Sturdevant. Former Congressman Martin Sabo was in attendance, and I had the pleasure of speaking with him, and listening to his perspective on issues of the day.
One important idea that Congressman Sabo and I agree on is that we have begun a dangerous practice of nationalizing state and local issues. Our representative system of government was designed with the understanding that the government that is closest to the people is the most responsive and accountable. Through the years we have drifted away from that principle.
Some politicians, like my opponent, disagree with Sabo’s notion, and instead believe that a super-powerful Federal government should be applying one-size-fits-all “solutions” to the problems we face. Politicians like Keith Ellison look for every opportunity to divide us, and think that there is no issue that should not be nationalized, as long as it can be done for a political advantage.
I have publicly stated many times that if Congressman Sabo, or another Democrat in his mold, was running in the Fifth District, I would not be in this race for Congress. I would have found another way to continue my service to my country. Because although Mr. Sabo and I may disagree on a number of issues, when he was in office the people of the Fifth Congressional District had responsive and focused representation in Washington.
But we don’t have representation in the mold of Martin Sabo. Instead we have Keith Ellison. As a Republican, I invested time this weekend at an event to hear DFL’ers because it is important to understand opposing perspectives and seek ways to find common ground. Keith spent yet another weekend outside the district, this time at a hyper-partisan event in Rhode Island. (In doing so he also missed the Northern Spark which was a blast! Mayor Rybak, who I saw cruising around town, can attest to that.)
On Sunday, I went to a picnic that was sponsored by supporters of Congressman Ron Paul. Some may think that this event would be much different than the DFL event I attended on Saturday. But they’d be wrong.
Both events were attended by people who love their country, but have different ideas about how to make America stronger. While there are extremists on both sides, the vast majority of the country just wants our government to work better. We may disagree on how government should impact our daily lives, but we can all agree that when government is involved it should be effective, responsible, responsive, and accountable.
I didn’t agree with everything that was said at either event that I highlighted here. I knew going in that I wouldn’t. But it has always been my intention to focus this campaign on the areas where we agree, instead of exploiting the areas where we disagree.
I strongly believe that if anyone wants to represent everyone in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, then they must seek to understand the thoughts, needs, and opinions of everyone.
To sum up this past weekend, Keith Ellison spent his time outside of the district in an echo chamber, validating his ideology and trying to raise his personal profile, and I spent my time with the people of the Fifth Congressional District listening to all sides and proposing achievable goals. I believe the distinction between us is clear.
I also believe that we are strongest when we Come Together.