Editorial: Walz offers answers, leadership

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006

The Tribune endorsed U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht two years ago over a weak opponent. The Democratic Party this year has put forward a qualified candidate for Minnesota&8217;s 1st District congressman. Tim Walz &8212; a Mankato Teacher of the Year, a former high school football coach with two state titles and a veteran of the Army National Guard &8212; is a well-spoken, intelligent leader. What he does, he does well. You can bet he will listen to the concerns of District 1 constituents.

Gutknecht has served in Washington for 12 years. In that time, he hasn&8217;t become an influential member of the Republican Party.

Most conservatives in southern Minnesota who support the Republican Party do so because of its candidates often talk about the reduction of government expenditures. In fact, when Gutknecht stopped in Albert Lea on Oct. 17, he said that when he was elected in 1994 he was concerned about the debt the federal government was accumulating.

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&8220;I wanted to stop spending our grandchildren&8217;s money,&8221; he told the audience.

He has voted for every spending bill President Bush put in front of Congress, racking up more debt that his and your grandchildren will have to pay off. Essentially, that&8217;s taxation without representation. And in 1994 he called for 12-year term limits, but he&8217;s still running.

Gutknecht is conservative in talk, not in action.

Further, Gutknecht repeats he is &8220;frustrated with Iraq,&8221; but fails to see the problems of the Iraq War. He offers criticism of Walz&8217;s plan more than answers of his own.

Walz opposes immediate withdrawal but supports milestones to bring troops home. He has been a vocal opponent of Bush&8217;s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Tax cuts for the middle class will help 1st District voters. He wants a balanced budget. Funding of federal education mandates will relieve the property tax burden. His call for negotiating for lower drug costs will help everyday folks, too. Walz offers voters more complete answers on every subject, from agriculture to immigration. Voters appreciate knowing the candidate&8217;s intentions.

And, to point out a character trait, Walz seems more comfortable talking to District 1 residents than Gutknecht.

Gutknecht offers ideology. Walz offers action.

It&8217;s time for a change.