Our View / Endorsement: Helping the elderly inspired Housley
Eight years ago, Karin Housley's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Six years ago, Housley was elected to the Minnesota Senate, and there she created a first: a Senate Aging and Long-Term Care Committee.
And it was while working on that committee that Housley became aware of what she now calls "the failures" of Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to protect aging Minnesotans. How bad did it get? Every week, 400 complaints were being made across our state alleging mistreatment and even abuse in nursing homes, assisted-living centers, and other care facilities, as a News Tribune editorial pointed out in April; the Minnesota Department of Health's backlog of complaints grew to an unmanageable more than 2,300.
In December, Dayton appointed Smith to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Al Franken after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him.
And Housley knew: "I had to step in and run to protect our elderly," she said in a candidate-screening interview with News Tribune Editorial Board members. In the Senate and with her committee, she has worked on legisation to protect aging Minnesotans from harm and neglect and from being scammed.
In the Aug. 14 primary for the former Franken seat — now held by Smith, who is running on the DFL side — Housley is, by far, the most-knowledgeable and best-qualified Republican on the ballot. She can be supported as the GOP's endorsed candidate to advance to the special election on Nov. 6, where she could possibly face Smith.
"I've learned a lot in the last six years (in the state Senate) about Minnesota and how to help people and how to help them keep more of their own money in their pocket and how to help our job creators," Housley said. "I'm running because I really want to continue the booming economy with the way things are going. I want to help create jobs. ... It's the same reason I ran for the Minnesota Senate."
Housley knows a bit about creating jobs because she created her own when she and her husband launched a real estate firm that now employs five. This was after she gave up a career as a TV news producer. Her husband played in the National Hockey League for 21 years, and they moved a lot, making the career difficult.
For the promise of good-paying jobs, Housley supports PolyMet and copper-nickel mining: "I'm absolutely comfortable with the environmental review," she said. "I think about how long this area has waited to get the (PolyMet) mine opened up. The cities and the towns are dying, and the jobs are readily there."
For the promise of good-paying jobs, Housley supports the Line 3 Replacement Project: "The line that's there already is operating at only about 50 percent capacity, and there are dangers to that line that it could pollute the environment even more than a new line," she said. "The new line will create jobs, be more efficient, and is needed. And it's time."
To work on creating good-paying jobs, Housley serves on the Senate Commerce Committee.
"I'm an independent Republican. I've always been an independent Republican," she said. "I represent all the people of my district, and I would represent all the people of Minnesota in Washington, D.C. (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell can say whatever Mitch McConnell wants to say, but I'm Karin Housley, independent Republican from Minnesota. I don't get pushed around by anybody."
Housley is opposed in the Aug. 14 primary by two fellow Republicans.
Bob Anderson of Hastings is a dental ceramist attempting to "bite back" at the political establishment, as he states it. He vows to limit himself to two terms if elected and to reject a federal pension and government-provided "gold-plated" health insurance.
"Parties don't care about us. They care about the power of the party. Both parties do. (That's why) I really wanted somebody from the outside, ... someone who understands what we're all going through. That's (President Donald) Trump," he said. "And that's why I ran, too."
Nikolay Nikolayevich Bey of Woodbury works at the Twin Cities airport and is an active blogger.
"When I went into this, I was like, 'I want to be me, myself, and I," he said. "I can work with anybody."
Anderson and Bey can be thanked for their candidacies. But Housley is the clear choice and the right pick for Minnesota Republicans in the Aug. 14 primary election.
ABOUT THIS ENDORSEMENT
This endorsement editorial was determined entirely by the Duluth News Tribune Editorial Board. The members of the board are Publisher Neal Ronquist, Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick, employee representative Kris Vereecken and citizen representative Julene Boe.