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Stewart Mills, candidate's view: The people, not Washington, have the answers

Republican congressional candidate Stewart Mills high-fives supporters at the Wild Rice Days parade in McGregor on Sept. 3. Mills is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected to Congress, I will put the folks in the 8th District first and fight to unleash the economic boom in greater Minnesota, regardless of the consequences to my party or re-election efforts.

Stewart Mills

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Congressman Rick Nolan.

Last month at its State Central Committee meeting in Sauk Rapids, the Minnesota DFL debated Resolution 54. Referred to by news reports as an “anti-mining resolution,” this proposed plank in the DFL platform was intended to condemn the mining industry. The main objective for the resolution was to placate the ever-expanding, extreme environmentalist wing of the party and submit to its shrill voices instead of siding with working families and economic growth.

That a major political party is even considering such a drastic anti-jobs position is concerning to many in our part of the state. Sadly, that wasn’t the most disappointing revelation caused by Resolution 54.

Congressman Nolan, a member of the DFL party, was presented with an opportunity: When faced with this anti-mining, anti-working family, anti-jobs resolution, he could have instantly denounced such a silly proclamation and worked tirelessly to stop this resolution dead in its tracks. That would have been the right thing to do. Instead, Congressman Nolan and his allies brokered a deal to delay voting on the anti-mining resolution until shortly after Election Day.

When asked by reporters after the DFL meeting why he encouraged the anti-mining Democrats to delay their vote against mining and job creation on the Iron Range, Congressman Nolan revealed: “This time of the year, everything is election-related.”

Rather than stand with his constituents, Congressman Nolan put his own re-election bid first and cut a backroom deal so he couldn’t be held accountable.

Mining in northern Minnesota has been part of the fabric in the region for more than 130 years. It is the engine that powers much of our part of Minnesota’s economy and the reason many families, mine included, have lived here for generations. As it has for years, mining can be done safely, preserving the economic vitality of our Iron Range communities and our beautiful Boundary Waters and Lake Superior.

Folks on the Iron Range and throughout our part of the state deserve to know the truth: Congressman Nolan cynically views the welfare of working families on the Range as a ticket to his own re-election campaign.

The far left has waged a decades-long battle against all sorts of mining, from coal to iron ore to copper. At best, Congressman Nolan has been giving our mining communities lip service and photo opps. At worst, the job-killing Environmental Protection Agency deploys to shut down our mines or prevent them from ever being developed. In Congress, I will fight the EPA tooth and nail every day and be a proactive advocate of mining projects that are vital to our way of life. I stand with Minnesotans, not with the federal government’s EPA.

It comes as no surprise that Congressman Nolan and I differ on many issues — most, in fact. But rest assured, when I am in Congress, you will always know where I stand. I won’t run from tough questions, I won’t hide from my positions, and I certainly won’t broker a backroom deal with party elites to preserve my own re-election. Those types of political games may have worked in the 1970s when Congressman Nolan first went to Washington, but they aren’t appreciated now. In fact, it is one of the reasons the public’s confidence in the federal government has become so eroded.

Constituents aren’t political pawns; they are the people you are fortunate enough to represent. I will be a strong voice for them and will never lose sight of the fact that it is the American people — not the federal government — who have the answers to the challenges facing our great nation.

Stewart Mills of Nisswa is the Republican candidate to represent Northeastern Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.