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8th Congressional District race/Challenger's view: ‘Hunting Camp Doctrine’ will make district better

People in our part of Minnesota ask me all the time: Between gridlock, a 14 percent approval rating and mudslinging politics, what in the world could make you want to run for Congress?...

Stewart Mills campaigns
Stewart Mills (center), the Republican candidate for the 8th Congressional District, talks with supporters during the grand opening of the GOP office in Grand Rapids in August. Contributed photo

People in our part of Minnesota ask me all the time: Between gridlock, a 14 percent approval rating and mudslinging politics, what in the world could make you want to run for Congress?
There are lots of things that jump to mind, like the disastrous effects of Obamacare, the way politicians disregard our Second Amendment rights, the excessive regulations and burdens that hamper our main street businesses, and how U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan constantly sides with President Barack Obama and Washington Democrats over his constituents.
But at the heart of it all, it’s something a lot simpler - our family’s Hunting Camp Doctrine.
When I was about 8, I went hunting with my dad for the first time. At breakfast I made the mistake of complaining about runny eggs. My dad took me aside and said, “Here’s how this works. If you complain about the food, you get the job to be the cook.” That’s the Hunting Camp Doctrine. If you complain about something, you get the job to fix it.
Well, I’ve been doing a lot of complaining about how our interests are not being represented in Washington, so now I’m going to fight to fix it. And in our part of Minnesota, there are a lot of things that need fixing.
For example, while the media doesn’t want to cover Obamacare anymore, people in Northeastern Minnesota haven’t forgotten about it. I hear all the time from young people facing higher premiums in the individual marketplace, families who lost their coverage and have to find more expensive plans and seniors who are concerned about the
$716 billion in cuts to Medicare that could start hitting them as soon as this year.
But Congressman Nolan loves Obamacare. He thinks it’s a great first step to
government-run, single-payer health care. While there’s no doubt we need health care reform in our country, a government takeover isn’t the way to do it.
The goal of health care reform should be to decrease costs and increase access, and I’ve seen firsthand the ways we can do that. Working as plan administrator of Fleet Farm’s self-insured health plan, I’ve spent most of my adult life working to provide affordable health care for more than 6,000 employees and their families. Making sure they have good-quality care always has been a top priority for me, and it’s what drove me to help implement innovative reforms and cost-saving measures at Fleet Farm.
At the end of the day, our health care system needs new patient-centered solutions, not a government takeover.
Another thing people in Northeastern Minnesota are concerned about is Nolan’s record on our Second Amendment rights. Congressman Nolan will be the first to tell you he’s a lifelong hunter who respects the Second Amendment and doesn’t want to take away your hunting guns. But it’s just not that simple.
The Second Amendment is about more than hunting. It’s about more than just self-defense or recreation. It’s a fundamental liberty granted to us by the Constitution, and no politician can ever take that away.
The National Rifle Association gave Rick Nolan an “F” rating for his repeated assaults on our Second Amendment rights. As much as he’d like to sweep that under the rug, Nolan more than earned that “F” rating. His first time in Congress, he voted for a national gun registry and said he wanted to ban small and medium-sized handguns. This time around, he went on national television to argue for a ban on certain semi-automatic rifles - but then came home and posed with one at seemingly the first opportunity he got.
That sort of D.C. double-talk is unfortunately what Minnesotans have come to expect from their congressman. We need a congressman who stands up for Minnesota values, not one who says anything to get elected and then votes with President Obama 90 percent of the time.
The Hunting Camp Doctrine helped me decide to run for Congress, but there’s another part to our family saying: Always leave the camp better than you found it. I’m ready to head to Washington to stand up for people in our part of Minnesota - and leave our country better than we found it.
Stewart Mills of Brainerd is the Republican candidate in the race for U.S. House in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. He wrote this at the request of the News Tribune Opinion page.

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Stewart Mills

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