ECM Editorial: Keith Ellison Should Return to Washington

Monday, October 15, 2012

Via the Sun-Post:

Voters in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District will do well to return Congressman Keith Ellison to Washington.

He is by all accounts representing the district well and is also respected on the national level. While some voters might prefer someone who is not a “career politician,” as they say, surely someone with a thorough knowledge of the system has an advantage in representing their district.

His opponent, Chris Fields, offered refreshingly original opinions on many topics. Not only is Fields very intelligent, his experience as a career military man was impressive. It is rare to hear from anyone who has extensive experience in military management and operations, and we hope his skills can be put to good use in service to our region.

We also liked his ideas for creating an enterprise zone in Minneapolis, which would encourage business development in some of the city’s poorer neighborhoods. Both candidates are Minneapolis residents and seem genuine in their concern for the city’s future.

However, Fields is new to Minnesota and has no experience in elected office. He needs more time to get to know his communities.

Ellison, seeking his fourth term in Congress, has had his share of national attention. He was elected to Congress in 2006, and became the first Muslim ever to serve in the U.S. House. We think Ellison was right to call out his colleague, Rep. Michele Bachmann, when she falsely accused him and others as being members of the Muslim Brotherhood. His response to us regarding the Bachmann flap was also telling. He did not seem angered by the mention of her name. In fact, he said he gets along with her and looks forward to working with her in the future. Other politicians may not have handled it that way.

We liked Ellison’s thoughts on reinvesting in infrastructure and his willingness to work on both sides of the aisle. He shared an idea for a national investment bank to address electrical grid issues and major infrastructure needs that are getting lost in road and bridge funding. His plan would provide jobs and accomplish much.

He also talked passionately about developing solidarity in our country, something that is sorely needed. He has garnered attention for some statements that might as well have been unsaid, calling the Republican Party “bigoted” and for a tweet that criticized music legend James Brown.

Fields has criticized Ellison for spending too much time in Washington and not enough at home, but we do not give that criticism much weight. Ellison is frequently at events throughout the district, such as interfaith meetings at the Sabes Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park.

Ellison seems sincere in striving to break the gridlock that dominates Congress. Like many, he will have a tough job ahead in addressing this issue, but he is in a strong leadership position to do so.

For those reasons, we endorse Keith Ellison for re-election to represent the 5th Congressional District.

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