We have to remember this is something that has not really been done successfully before, so as a leader I will not have blind loyalty to a project unless and until I am confident that it can be done in a responsible way. I often ask myself, "What would Wellstone Do" and I don't believe Wellstone would be confident sulfide mining can exist in the district without environmenntal concerns unless we see the plan approved. Let's remember the EPA rated the PolyMet draft EIS "environmentally unacceptable" so I want to see PolyMet's updated plan before I can say whether I support it or not.
With strong leadership on this issue I believe it is possible to mine while protecting the natural resources we all cherish. With strong adherence to the standards in place and a watchful eye to potential new threats, I do believe that it can be done safely.
Can you name a sulfide mining project where new technology was able to mitigate environmental damage?
As everyone continues to chime in, we're waiting for Sen. Clark's response. When hear from here, we'll move on to specific questions for each candidate.
I support economic opportunities in Northeast Minnesota and I have a strong environmental and labor record and know we need to do this in a responsible manner. We need to protect our culture of hunting and fishing and make sure the science allows it to be done in a safe reliable way. Minnesotans are good stewards of the environment. These companies can provide many good paying jobs, but they need to provide evidence based standards to show that they can demonstrate that it can be done in a way that will not harm our land, water and outdoor traditions.
For Jeff Anderson: Your most substantial government experience has been sitting on the Duluth City Council, which has a very specific mandate and serves a very specific group of interests. How are you qualified to represent an entire district?
We must insist on strong standards prior the the project. I'm all for speeding up the permitting process, but we must also keep the environmental standards in place. I've met with officials from PolyMet and I've met with several folks who have serious environmental concerns. We need to have more answers, and I belive it's our job as candidates/elected leaders to be asking the tough questions now. As an Iraq War Vet, I have learned a valuable lesson about now believing everything we're told - as I hope everyone in our country has. I want to see the evidence first. Also, if folks are confident it can be done, I would ask them for increased front financial assurances up front.
For Tarryl Clark: On the blog Perfect Duluth Day, Chris pointed out that Rep. Chip Cravaack’s family recently moved out of the district. He wrote that it “makes him seem out of touch with the concerns of a large portion of the district. Considering you ran and lived in the 6th district just a year ago, how do you plan to avoid this same perception?”
For Rick Nolan: When you left Congress in 1980, you told Washington Post reporter Ward Sinclair that, “Congress is relatively impotent to make the changes the country needs: mandatory wage and price controls, drastic tax reform, national health insurance, arms cutbacks, new directions in energy, mandatory conservation, a redirection of agriculture. But there is no political will in Congress.” The same words could be used to describe today’s gridlock in Washington. What has changed since then that has made you want to run again?
For Daniel Fanning: You oppose the Iraq War. But an article in Nov. 6 New York Times reported that American and Iraqi officials are becoming increasingly concerned that an Al Qaeda offshoot there is growing stronger - just as U.S. troops are leaving the country. If elected, how would you balance your views about the war with the need to protect the United States from emerging threats in Iraq and elsewhere?
If we go back a few years when lakes and rivers in America were catching on fire from pollution, it could be said there were few if any industries and municipalities that were not polluting our environment. Strong laws and regulations changed the picture. And that's why we must do today with regard to sulfide mining. We simply must insist that the technology available today be used to contain potential pollution from the sulfide mining process.
After this round, we will do a rapid fire session where each question is up for 2 minutes.
I was born and raised in Ely. I went to college in Bemidji and Duluth. I've served in the MN Army National Guard in units in Hibbing and Duluth. I've served on numerous boards and committees throughout the region. I've been in business throughout the region for 15+ years. I represent all 87,000 people here in Duluth, which is a pretty diverse group. I know this district's history. I know our challenges and opportunities. That is what makes me qualified to represent us in Congress. Simply put, I'm one of us, for us.
Yes, the same challenges apply today. The difference is, we are at a tipping point where we must make the changes now - or perhaps lose the opportunities forever. I, like so many others, could not stand by and watch this happen to our nation, which has been so good to so many for so long.
Tarryl Clark, please repost your reply. It was deleted for some reason. Thanks.
Great question, thank you! Yes, I proudly enlisted in the military after 9/11 and expected to be sent to war. However, I never expected to be sent to the wrong war and a war that had NOTHING to do with 9/11 - Iraq! I've been opposed to this war as soon as President Bush mentioned Iraq as a member of the axis of evil in his State of the Union. It never made sense to me, be I watched as weak members of both political parties allowed us to march off into the war. Having said that, I was proud to serve our country and don't regret enlisted. I just regret we allowed our nation to become distracted in a misguided war. As far as Al Qaeda offshoot, we will have forces remain in the region in places like Kuwait where we are (mostly) still welcomed. There are ways we can and should continue to help the Iraqi people, but our overbearing presence in that country was doing more harm than good. If we really want to address terrorism, we must address issues like global poverty and oppression. That's how we can help the Iraqi people, ensuring they have access to clean water and infrastructure. However, our top priority should be investing in our own country right now. That doesn't mean we wash our hands of Iraq, it means we shift our priorities back home.
Next up, a couple of question from the Public Insight Network on government spending/taxes.
We simply cannot afford to continue to spend billions/trillions of dollars on these wars of choice. We have successfully completed our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's time to bring our troops home, honor thier service by ensuring they have all the support they need and focus on rebuilding our own country first, while also assisting other nations in non-occupational ways.
Do you support taxing the wealthy? How do you define wealthy? Kathy Walstead-Plumb, Two Harbors
The new District lines won’t be seen until next year, and no one knows who lives or doesn't live in the District. I don’t need any line on a map to tell me this is home. Across Central and Northeastern Minnesota, we live together as friends and family, supporting our regional centers and farmers, enjoying hunting, fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling. It’s what we love about this place.
Representative Cravaack is disconnected from us and has different priorities. Maybe it's because he hasn't lived in Minnesota very long, or because he lives in a suburb, or because he's moved his family to New Hampshire.
Unlike Representative Cravaack I am the only one who has worked across this district. I am the only one that has fought for seniors. I have stood by the unions for 23 years. I have fought veterans. I am the only one who has a proven record of fighting for the priorities of our families and communities for over the past two decades.
More important than the lines drawn on a map are the lines that show whose side you're on. He's chosen Wall Street. I've chosen Main Street. He's chosen special interests and big money. I've chosen our families and our communities. In Congress, I’ll be on your side.
Yes. I believe we need a truly progressive tax structure.
Can we continue to spend more than we are taking in? Will raising taxes not slow the economy even more? -- Doug Cheney, Park Rapids
This country's been good to anybody making $250 thousand dollars a year and up. We need to insist they step up and pay their fair share, and yes, that means more taxes.
Yes. We need to repeal the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
It's hard to define wealthy, but under a truly progressive tax structure people will pay their fair share. The more you make, the more you pay. It's fair. That doesn't mean punishing people for being successful, it means leveling the playing field - which is why I will work tirelessly to end Bush's tax cuts. We cannot balance the budge on the backs of the middle class and lower income. As someone who as been lower income most of my life, I will NOT accept that.
What is your view of compromise in terms of governing? -- Robert Warmuth, Nashwauk
Doug - For the past decade we've been at war and for the first time in American history we did not raise taxes - we cut them. I certainly support us being accountable for every tax dollar, but our problem in America is not just with spending. We have a revenue problem because the wealthiest Americans and corporations are not paying their fair share.
To Doug's question - No, not under a progressive structure I don't believe it would.
The deficits, the wars and the tax policies that allow millionaires and billionaires to escape paying their fair share of taxes are at the heart of our deficit.
Corporations and big banks are sitting on trillions of dollars in capital they are not investing because they don't have markets for their products. Creating good paying jobs for the American people will strengthen the middle class, create markets and incentives for businesses and banks to invest.
Do you support the reroute of the North Country Trail through the Arrowhead, which would avoid having to build a 100-mile section of the trail through swamp? And will you introduce re-route legislation early in the next congress? -- Bryan Hansel, Grand Marais
I believe that everyone should pay their fair share. Unfortunately Representative Cravaack has chosen to give tax breaks for the wealthy like himself, at the expense of our seniors and middle class families. In the state senate I focused on job creation and fought to keep taxes down for over 95% of Minnesota Families. Our priority is to get people back to work and those who have benefited the most and have the ability to contribute more should be. The middle class is taxed enough and we shouldn't be putting the recovery on their and seniors shoulders.
No one I know other than Michelle Bachmann has a direct line to the Lord. For the rest of us, compromise is an essential part of effectiveness and success.
Robert, it is essential. Without some compromise nothing ever gets done. I think that's one of the problems with DC today. Anyone who signs a pledge never to raise taxes certainly isn't one who is going to entertain much compromise.
Robert, we can compromise on some issues to produce results. However, I will never compromise on my values and principles. I believe in putting principle before party politics, patriotism over partisanship. I'm a proud progressive DFLer but I am and will continue to be an independent thinker. I don't belong to any cliques, good ol' boys clubs, or establishments and I won't be a rubber stamp for anyone. I'll always work to hear both sides of an issue and will do what I think is in the best interest of our district and country.
Hiking trails are critical to tourism development and jobs here in the 8th. I will give a
ny trail plans careful consideration and would like very much to hear from all the parties involved.
YES, I absolutely support the reroute of the North Country Trail! And Yes, I will introduce re-route legislation early in the next Congress~
Do you support the use of federal funds to develop high speed rail between Duluth and the Twin Cities? -- Patrick Steven, Moose Lake
By the way, I am presently serving on a trails subcommittee of my township planning committee looking for ways to expand and improve our trail system.
Patrick, yes. I have been one of Duluth's most vocal supporters of the Northern Lights Express.
Yes and enthusiastically. Latest reports indicate this project will generate some 14,000 jobs and $2 Billion in economic development through the corridor. And the project will create important transportation options for our future.
We have to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. We have to reinvest in America’s infrastructure. Projects like Northern Lights Express (NLX) High Speed Passenger Rail would not only create immediate construction jobs but also set the region up for long-term success. It would be great for Duluth and the Range, great for the Mille Lacs Band, and great for Pine County and the City of Hinckley – among other communities in the 8th District. Talk about a phenomenal return on investment. These are the kinds of projects we should be supporting right now. Unfortunately, our current Congressman doesn’t seem too interested in investing in our district. I WILL! I just spoke about the NLX project down in Hinckley last week. I will continue to be a very strong supporter of the project until it gets done.
Our current congressman is more concerned with appeasing the tea party than focusing on our priorities. I grew in a Republican family and understand no one has a corner of the market of good ideas. As a State Senator I reached out the MN Attorney General, AARP and one of the most conservative members of the State Senate to stop unscrupulous predatory lenders from preying on Seniors. It was a better bill because of our work together. If it was early childhood education, veterans, job creation or government efficiency I reached out across the aisle As Harry Truman said its amazing what can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit. I am interested in making a difference not making headlines. While I worked in a bipartisan manner I have never compromised on our values or priorities
Furthermore, if we don't use the federal funds that are currently available for rail they will go to rail projects in other states. Thankfully, we have a President and Vice-President who get it and have investing in rail. Let's use that money right here in the 8th District.
Thanks for the opportunity to discuss these important issues!
I strongly support multimodule transportation whether it be the NLX, traditional transportation or trail projects. I have worked on these issues in the State Senate, my current job and will continue to do so in Congress. If you haven't joined our petition to to support NLX please go to our website or facebook page and sign. www.tarrylclark.com
Thank you for this great opportunity
Let me also say thanks to all the candidates for participating and to all the 8th district voters who tuned-in today. Just a reminder that all four candidates will have closing statements posted on mprnews.org by 5 p.m. tonight, as will Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Thanks everyone for your contributions to today's event. Also thanks to Perfect Duluth Day, The Duluth News Tribune and The Timberjay for including the live event on their websites. Please send any feedback you have on today's event to firstname.lastname@example.org