ECM Editorial Board supports re-election of Congressman Tim Walz

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Congressman Tim Walz

Congressman Tim Walz

When deciding who to endorse in House District 1 between incumbent Tim Walz (DFL) and challenger Jim Hagedorn (R), both present admirable qualities.

However, we support Walz.

Walz doesn’t believe it is fact that the Affordable Care Act is a total bust. Problems yes, but total disaster, no.

“There are many things to do,” said Walz. “I have some of the most key players in the industry in my district, the Mayo, Winona Health, and when I talk to those folks and ask them how it’s going, they point to things like electronic records streamlining the system and saving money, preventative care models are working. There are things that are good about the law and there are things that aren’t working. We need to come together and fix the things that are broken.”

The candidates were also asked about the approval of Keystone and Sandpiper pipelines.

“I am not hearing that it is an end-all solution to the rail shipping problem,” Walz noted.

Walz made a strong case to that point and in fact, Congress does not have an up and down vote, but can make changes to policy, such as removing environmental reviews.

“Moving oil by rail has bogged down the system and put soybeans on the back burner,” said Walz. “Federal agencies are deciding; they are picking winners and losers.”

Walz has a strong understanding of the rail safety issue and the need for improved cars and the need to work with railroads to enhance capacity so farmers can also get their product to market and not suffer a loss in value because they had to store it on the ground. He addressed it as part of a multi-modal approach to transportation and a need for better infrastructure nationwide.

On foreign policy, there was a contradiction in Hagedorn’s criticism of Obama saying his leadership was on the line, but in the next breath adding that the U.S. can’t fight every battle in the world.

Walz stood behind the president but to a point, saying anything additional should require Congressional approval and not reliance on the 2001 authorization.

Hagedorn presented a strong belief in work-for-welfare. On immigration, we believe Walz was more centrist and humanitarian in how he looked at the situation. There is a policy to follow and it goes back to a Republican administration. Can’t simply send kids back to who knows what?

Walz was not afraid to credit President Bush and President Reagan for notable accomplishments. He also provided evidence that he can work both aisles of the political system and with some good effect.

VA issues

Hagedorn seemed to feel Minnesota was ripe with problems when it comes to the Veterans Hospitals.

“We need outside of the box thinking to challenge the status quo,” said Hagedorn.

“I’m not satisfied,” said Walz.

Walz spoke of having reviews of the department much like is done in defense. As the second largest government agency Walz felt more could be done to provide adequate oversight.

Hagedorn’s criticism of the VA was deserved and Walz does have some responsibility there since he works so closely with VA issues as a Veterans’ Affairs committee member.

Silica sand mining

Walz also has a solid understanding of the silica sand mining situation in our part of the state.

He took a measured approach to mining and his desire to make sure the environment isn’t being negatively affected as the potential for more economic opportunity presents itself.

This seems consistent with what most people who live in the region would expect. Try and take advantage of the economic opportunities, but don’t damage the land along the way.

We also thought Walz had a more comprehensive understanding, or at least the way he communicated it, of the issues related to arming Syrian rebels to combat ISIS. He fully understood the dangers of putting weapons in anyone’s hands, other than U.S. military personnel, almost always comes back to haunt us in some way. But as he said, it may be the best worst option we have right now. Recognizing that shows he also understands the need to have an end game on an operation like this so it doesn’t drag on for years as we have seen with other conflicts.

Hagedorn has a high level understanding of the issues and would know how to garner support among colleagues to accomplish projects. He also seemed willing to be critical of his own party, which means he may not shy away from doing what he thinks is right, even if it is in conflict with his own party. That is something D.C. could use a little more of, independent thinkers.

Hagedorn also would work hard to bring more manufacturing home and would definitely have a strong sense on agricultural issues, since his family has been farming near Truman for 100 years.

With Walz, however, the responses to the relevant issues we posed were approached with a comprehensive vision and a little more humanitarianism. Ingredients Washington, D.C. could use more of.

An opinion of the ECM Editorial Board.

 

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