The Fifth District DFL Congressional candidates tend to travel in a pack. On Monday night, six of us descended on Munkabeans in Hopkins. The candidate forum, graciously hosted by Cheryl and Jacques Youakim, gave us each 15 minutes to expound on our lives and positions. After four weeks of sustaining ourselves on 1 to 2 minute soundbites, it was a time feast to be savored (for the candidates at least). Thank you.
The Iraq War is clearly a central issue in the 2006 election and it was raised on Monday night (see issue pages on all of our web sites for the standard answers). We branched out into a conversation on the Bush administration's declaring the "right" to use tactical nuclear weapons in Iran. As Democrats we need to be perfectly clear: This is not 1945. We fully understand the dangers and consequences of nuclear conflict. Any nation that deploys nuclear weapons forfeits its moral standing in the world. It must not happen. The U.S. must lead the world away from weapons of mass destructions, including reducing our own arsenal.
Iran was touched upon. Simple answer and the one we should have given in Iraq before it started -- NO!
Joel asked if I supported a constitutional amendment limiting or clearly subordinating the rights of corporations under the Constitution -- particularly the right to freedom of speech. I'll admit to having a quick impulse to answer "yes," but on further research I believe the issue requires more thought (at least on my part). Corporate protections under the U.S. Constitution go back 150 years. There are volumes of case law and over a century of precedent to consider. Clearly there are areas that need scrutiny -- freedom of speech being one. For those of you who are interested in the topic, try www.reclaimdemocracy.org
for more information.
On Tuesday night, SD 60 held a meeting at Painter Park and a couple more interesting questions came up. One question, delivered somewhat tongue in cheek, was "how are you going to make your opponents bleed?" By that I inferred we were talking about our Republican opponents and rather than bleed we agreed that beating them at the polls was the form of suffering we were after. This won't be too hard in the Fifth Congressional District. We will elect a Democrat. Regaining a majority across the country so that we can make genuine progress in Washington is a different matter. That is why I believe unity among Democrats in this election is critical. I will abide by the endorsement and I hope we do not draw valuable funds away from statewide races such as the Governor and U.S. Senate, or more hotly contested districts such as those to our north and south, into a contentious primary in the Fifth District.