Minnesota Rep. Ellison backs Sanders for president

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison speak to members of the media during a news conference about private prisons September 17, 2015.(Alex Wong | Getty Images) U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Monday endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.

Ellison released a statement saying he’s backing Sanders because Sanders has “demonstrated a willingness to push for progressive ideas that will help American families and restore balance” to the nation’s economy.

Ellison, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he and Sanders stand together on many issues including a ban on private prisons and an end to subsidies for oil companies.

“Bernie knows that the power ultimately lies with the American people,” Ellison said. “And in a time where voter participation is at an all-time low, Bernie has shown that he has the ability to create a renaissance in civic participation by exciting those who are least likely to vote.”

Ellison is the second member of Congress to endorse Sanders.  Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., endorsed Sanders last week.  Grijalva is the other co-chair of the Progressive Caucus.

Ellison is the first member of Minnesota’s House delegation to back Sanders. Several other Minnesota Democrats, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton, are backing Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president.

Here’s Ellison’s full statement:

“I am happy to support my friend and colleague Senator Bernie Sanders in his candidacy for president. For decades, Bernie has demonstrated a willingness to push for progressive ideas that will help American families and restore balance to our economy, which has favored the millionaires and billionaires for way too long.

A founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he is committed to investing in our education system and infrastructure, raising the minimum wage, addressing climate change, fixing our criminal justice system, reforming our financial markets, and pushing for peace and diplomacy abroad.

“Bernie knows that the power ultimately lies with the American people. And in a time where voter participation is at an all-time low, Bernie has shown that he has the ability to create a renaissance in civic participation by exciting those who are least likely to vote.

“Having stood with Bernie over the years on many different issues, including the Fight for $15, the effort to ban private prisons, and calling for the end of subsidies for Big Oil, I am proud to stand with him now.”