Letter: Make Election about Issues, Records

To the editor:

Too much money, particularly “dark money,” has fueled the political divide and created much of the gridlock we see in government. It is depriving “We the People” of genuine competition, free communication and meaningful choice in selection of leadership.

A while ago, I received one of Rep. Erik Paulsen’s “phone town hall” calls. I dialed *3 to indicate I wanted to ask a question and listened to the rest of the call. Several times Mr. Paulsen said, “If we don’t have time to get to your question, stay on the line … one of my staff will respond within 24 hours.”

So far, no response.

I signed up for the invite lottery of all three recent “town halls.” I received an invite and attended the Hamel event. I was fortunate enough to have my name drawn to ask my question. It is:

“During your last election campaign, you challenged your opponent to sign the People’s Pledge saying, ‘The people of this district deserve a race that’s going to be about issues and about our records.’ Your opponent this year has signed the Minnesota Way Pledge, which is to forgo all special interest money, sign the People’s Pledge to limit outside spending and commit to twice-monthly public events that don’t limit discussion. In this election, will you commit to the Minnesota Way Pledge and/or the People’s Pledge and if not, what has changed since 2016?”

Paulsen’s responded that he was not familiar with the Minnesota Way Pledge and he did not have the money his opponent has to be able to self-fund his campaign.

The problem with Paulsen’s response is, if both candidates sign the pledge, as his opponent already has, then neither candidate can self-fund. Since Mr. Paulsen challenged his opponent to sign the People’s Pledge in 2016, I presume he understands what that pledge is, his non-answer is simply an attempt to mislead.

Paulsen’s “unfamiliarity” or “not aware of” reply seems to be a theme of non-response for issues he prefers to ignore, such as: The Minnesota Way, “not familiar”; the environment and Scott Pruitt, “not aware of” and “not my committee,” but I like the BWCA; and the NFL, “not really familiar with…”

Mr. Paulsen is correct, we, the voters, deserve a race about the issues and the records. He has an opportunity to make that happen. Please sign the Minnesota Way and the People’s Pledge!

Bill Lester

Click here to read the original posting in the Lakeshore Weekly News (6/24/18).


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