Editorial: Send Walz back to Congress

Published 8:45 am Monday, October 20, 2008

When going up against an incumbent congressman, especially one who only has been in the seat for two years, there had better be clear reasons to vote him out.

Tim Walz, a Democrat from Mankato, has earned much praise and respect from his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives. He deserves to be re-elected on Nov. 4.

The 1st District of Minnesota gave Republican Gil Gutknecht 12 years, and he neither established himself as a leader in his party nor as an independent. One of those two routes would have been appreciated by constituents.

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But in his first term, Walz was elected president of the Democratic freshman class of representatives. He is the highest ranking enlisted man ever to serve in Congress. He is a school teacher, and his colleagues go to him for his military and education backgrounds. His peers recognize his wisdom and intelligence.

The attribute we like best about Walz is his ability to think long-term. The pioneers thought that way. Our grandparents thought that way.

For instance, on energy, many Republicans say “drill, baby, drill,” but it rings hollow when the oil companies won’t drill on federal land they already have rights to. The Democrats, with Walz vocal among them, say drill, baby, drill on the land you’ve already got first. Walz isn’t opposed to opening more land to drilling, but he is no fool. He is smart enough to know giving more rights to the oil companies doesn’t necessarily mean the oil companies will drill. Naturally, oil executives want to limit supply so gas prices will rise. Further, Walz says the drilling for oil needs to produce revenue for developing viable alternative energy sources so America can transition away from oil addiction. See, he is thinking long-term.

His opponent, Rochester physician Brian Davis, doesn’t present a long-term solution. Rather, he takes shots at Walz’s plan. In fact, Davis barely supports commuter rail between the Twin Cities and his own town, almost seeming to oppose it.

Davis deserves some credit for being an engineer and a doctor, skills that would be useful in Congress. He is soft-spoken, too. However, we feel the Republicans shafted one their own — longtime state Sen. Dick Day of Owatonna — when they nominated Davis, who seemed to have come out of nowhere. Day has exhibited years of public service. Davis performed his job duties as a doctor, but had little service outside that field.

Walz didn’t have to serve the Army National Guard, but he did, and rose to command sergeant major. He is the best candidate to represent the 1st District. Give him your vote.