By LESLEY TOTH
Mille Lacs County Times
Area residents came together and talked politics over steaming plates of pancakes and sausages this past Saturday morning at the DFL Candidate Breakfast at the Milaca American Legion.
Neighbors caught up on each other’s families, shared their views on the current state of the economy, unionized labor, global warming and other environmental concerns, and the presidential debates. They also had the chance to hear two Congressional hopefuls, Minnesota’s Attorney General, and an announcement for candidacy for the Minnesota Legislature by a local DFL leader.
Despite the uncertainty of the redistricting outcomes, two Minnesota DFLers vying for the 8th District chair in the U.S. House against Republican incumbent Chip Cravaack in this November’s elections were at the breakfast to rally the locals.
Clark stakes out issues
Tarryl Clark, former Minnesota senator for District 15 (St. Cloud), was there with her husband, Doug.
“We have no idea where our [Congressional] lines will be, but regardless of where those lines will be, we know that we need a change in the representation in Washington, D.C.,” Clark told the crowd of about 30. “We desperately need to change what’s happening in Washington.”
Nolan has ‘fire in his belly’
Also at the breakfast was Rick Nolan, a former U.S. Representative for the 6th District from 1975-1981 who is also making a bid for Cravaack’s seat.
“We’re looking at deficits that are unsustainable, wars that are unsustainable and a jobless rate that is unsustainable,” Nolan said. “Wall Street gets in financial trouble and we bail them out. Main Street gets in financial trouble and they get thrown out of their homes. That’s fundamentally unfair.”
Nolan offered his ideas on how to move the country forward economically.
“We need to put an end to these wars of choice that are costing us trillions of dollars and are not adding to our national security,” he said to cheers from the crowd. “We can also pull back on our military footprint.” He said most of defense spending goes to Haliburton and other contractors and “not the patriotic men and women in the military.”
Nolan said he would advocate using the defense savings on expanding broadband Internet service, road and bridge construction and education. He also said policy needs to return to protecting the most vulnerable and not the wealthy.
Nolan received a enthusiastic applause and at least one local was encouraged by the “fire in his belly.” Both Clark and Nolan encouraged those in attendance to participate in the caucus process Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Local lawyer announces bid
Joe Walsh, Princeton resident and attorney with Milaca’s Curott & Associates, announced his candidacy for the Minnesota Legislature Saturday morning.
Walsh began by introducing himself as the youngest of five siblings, raised by a farmer on one of the family’s two Century Farms. Four years ago, Walsh moved to Mille Lacs County for his position at the local law firm.
“As a lawyer, I meet people with problems and I solve them,” he said. “And we have some problems in the Minnesota House.”
He said the state shutdown of last summer indicates a need for a change in representation.
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being held hostage,” Walsh said.
He also criticized the “no new taxes” pledge many House members promised voters.
“I think some of you have noticed a few new taxes recently,” he said, calling Minnesota’s tax policy regressive. “I think we need to get the top 10 percent paying the same as the bottom 10 percent — at least. That’s just basic math.”
For the full story, see the Thursday, Jan. 26 print edition of the Times.