Lawmakers' response: Range DFLers support Line 3, the project's good jobs
Recent comments on the News Tribune Opinion page seemed intended to distort our support of Enbridge's Line 3 project as well as our support for quality, well-paying jobs for all Minnesota families. As members of the Iron Range Delegation, we are ...
Recent comments on the News Tribune Opinion page seemed intended to distort our support of Enbridge's Line 3 project as well as our support for quality, well-paying jobs for all Minnesota families. As members of the Iron Range Delegation, we are proud to join DFLers in the Legislature in supporting good-paying union jobs, especially at a time when corporate gains are skyrocketing and union-busting and attacks on American workers in states like Wisconsin are at all-time highs. One need look no further than our neighbors in Wisconsin to see the negative impacts of Republican union-busting.
Not all jobs are created equal. Right now, Minnesotans are discussing the proposed Line 3 Replacement Project, and we are proud to join with all of our Iron Range colleagues in a letter supporting the project. In fact, Sen. David Tomassoni spoke on behalf of the entire Iron Range Delegation in voicing our support at a Line 3 public hearing in Grand Rapids.
Unfortunately, Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt's disingenuous claims about a Republican proposal seemed meant to score political points. In truth, Republican tactics would have stripped our community of our right to a voice in the process. It is disheartening that while there is support for this project in our region, Republican politicians like Daudt try to cover up that they would like to see unions busted and big businesses making profits over the livelihoods of our people.
For those of us who make our living on the Range, it's clear Daudt's experience as a used car salesman in the Twin Cities area doesn't translate well to going to bat for workers. Simply put, he, and most conservatives, don't understand the history of the Iron Range. Any major undertaking, like an over-1,000-mile-long pipeline, should have a thorough review. These are massive projects that can produce hundreds of good-paying jobs for years, but they need to be done right.
Republicans like Daudt have a long history of attacking workers. For whatever reason, Daudt seems intent on singling out those on the Iron Range. In 2015, thousands of miners were laid off during an economic crisis. When families on the Iron Range were suffering, Daudt and his Republican members blocked extending unemployment benefits for months trying to get something in return. It's shameful Daudt is trying to pander to the very people he tried to use as a political bargaining chip just over a year ago.
He has joined his colleagues - in many cases has led them - to block higher wages and benefits for workers and to create poorer working conditions time and time again.
Also, with Daudt as the highest-ranking Republican in Minnesota, we challenge readers to ask themselves: What have he and Republicans done for us lately?
We as proud DFLers and Iron Rangers support the kinds of quality jobs the Line 3 project would produce. We are continuing to fight for better wages and benefits for working people. Instead of trying to divide our community, we believe we all deserve access to quality jobs and the opportunity to live out the American dream on the Iron Range or anywhere else in our state.
Rep. Jason Metsa is a DFL member of the Minnesota House from Virginia. State Rep. Rob Ecklund is a DFLer from International Falls. And state Rep. Julie Sandstede is a DFLer of Hibbing.