Earlier this week, I wrote an op-ed in the Star Tribune talking about Keith Ellison’s lack of focus on his district.
In his hastily written response to my article, Keith fell back on the same old gimmicks and deception that career politicians always use to cling to power when they are desperate and their record becomes indefensible.
In reading Keith’s response, I was reminded that Congress is an institution where attorneys have great success - often at expense of the people they claim to serve. Keith Ellison is an attorney, skilled in the art making an argument.
Keith tried one of his slick lawyer tricks in his response, acting as if I was criticizing leaders on the North Side, in general. No Keith, I was talking about you.
The North Side has many great leaders, and many stepped up in the aftermath of the Tornado, and should be commended for the work they did. The same cannot be said about Keith Ellison.
A few days after the Tornado hit, Ellison made the bold proclamation that he would “lean on” FEMA to help the community.
But in spite of his “leaning”, which seemed to consist of putting his name on a letter that Senator Al Franken wrote, the City of Minneapolis saw their request for individual aid denied – twice.
Part of a congressional representative’s job is to help constituents access the services their hard-earned tax dollars pay for. The facts are simple here, Minneapolis had a need, made a request, and the request was denied.
As I said in my original op-ed, we live in a political age when, if you live in a politically one-sided congressional district or state, an administrative department can afford to ignore you. Why? Because if a member is from a "safe district," voters cannot punish the congressman for his neglect.
As for solutions- here’s one: we need to rebalance our resources at the federal level. Sending our money to Washington, DC only to send politicians to beg for some of it back leaves us short at home. We do need a Federal government. We also need state and local government. The government that is closest to the people is best suited to develop tailored solutions to meet the needs of its constituents. Every American should live in a state that doesn’t have to depend on federal bureaucrats to decide whether or not they can access the resources they pay for - especially after a natural disaster.
Here’s another: Let’s turn away from soup kitchen politicians like Keith Ellison. These are people who keep their constituents in line waiting “their turn” for a grant or a low interest loan or maybe just a letter of support. They make a promise, explicit or implied that your turn will come as long as you keep sending them back to Washington. We send them back to Washington and in return we get excuses instead of results.
It is time for Keith Ellison to stop using gimmicks, deception and lawyering tactics and debate real issues rather than coordinating attacks on me. My offer is simple: let’s have a two hour debate – a, real debate focused on the issues – in each city in the Fifth Congressional District, ensuring everyone gets a chance to ask the tough questions of those who would represent them in Washington, D.C.
Throughout this campaign, Keith Ellison will tell voters the choice is between the left or the right. I will remind the voters that we must unite and focus on what’s right.