After being categorized as "communist" last week alongside the rest of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison released a statement calling Florida Republican Allen West's comments "reminiscent of the days when Joe McCarthy divided Americans."
Rep. West had been responding to a constituent question over what percentage of the American Legislature were "card-carrying Marxists," saying he believed as many as 80 Democrats "are members of the Communist Party."
"It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus," West said.
A spokesperson for West talked with Politico following the Florida town hall, saying West "stands by his words."
"The words the media needs to pay attention to are the words of the members of the Progressive caucus," the spokesperson told the organization. "They speak for themselves. Call it what you may, but these House members are clearly not proponents of capitalism, free markets or individual economic freedom."
Ellison and Progressive Caucus co-char Raúl M. Grijalva released a statement shortly afterward, saying they hoped people would "note that he repeatedly polarizes the American people instead of focusing on their interests."
"Allen West is denigrating the millions of Americans who voted to elect Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) members, and he is ignoring the oath they took to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution—just like he did," they wrote. "Calling fellow Members of Congress ‘communists’ is reminiscent of the days when Joe McCarthy divided Americans with name-calling and modern-day witch hunts that don’t advance policies to benefit people’s lives."
Fields Nabs Republican Endorsement
as the 5th Congressional District GOP candidate by delegates Saturday, beating out other Republican hopefuls by gathering more than 75 percent of the vote.
"I am humbled to accept the endorsement of my fellow Republicans today,” Fields said in a statement. "I fully accept the responsibility to offer a positive vision, and, equally important, I will share this vision with those who have been taken for granted, neglected and cast aside by a political establishment that sees them as focus group and a means to end."
Lynne Torgerson , insinuating she lost the nomination because the GOP convention had been "overrun by Ron Paul Libertarians."
"More than 2/3 of the delegates were Ron Paul Libertarians," Torgerson wrote. "When I mentioned that we were at a Republican Convention, they laughed out loud."
Ellison Invites Students to Submit Artwork
High school students from throughout the 5th Congressional District have been invited to submit artwork as part of the annual Congressional Art Competition.
The competition is sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives every spring, aimed at both recognizing and encouraging students' talent in the visual arts. More than 15 high schools participated in the competition last year, with St. Anthony High School's Jamie Piekarcyck ultimately winning the grand prize.
Participating high school students simply need to submit a student release form and one-paragraph artist statement to Aya Johnson at Aya.Johnson@mail.house.gov by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 23 to enter the competition. The first-place winner will have his or her artwork displayed at the U.S. Capitol, while the second- and third-place winners' submissions will grace the walls of Ellison's offices in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis.
All artwork will be collected Friday, April 27, from 3-6 p.m. at the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (2117 West River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55411). Ellison will announce this year's winners at the Arts Education Forum and Awards reception at the Park Board office from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Monday, April 30.