MN-08 DFL forum: closing thoughts

The four candidates seeking the DFL nomination in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District discussed the jobs, the economy, sulfide mining and other important issues facing their district during an online forum hosted by MPR News earlier today. Each of the candidates shared a few closing thoughts with MPR about the forum. Rep. Chip Cravaack has also responded. Here’s what they had to say in the order they were received:

Rick Nolan: Thanks again to MPR and all who participated in a great candidate forum.

Let me just return to the points I made at the onset. This campaign for the 8th District DFL Congressional endorsement boils down to two deciding factors.

First, jobs. Which DFL candidate possesses real-life experience necessary to hit the ground running and provide effective job-generating leadership in Washington?

I’m not just talking about voting right. I’m talking about getting out front and fighting for the middle class – our miners, loggers, small businesses, seniors and working families – with jobs and infrastructure funding, pension protection, Employee Free Choice legislation, and with bills to absolutely protect Medicare and Social Security.

With six years previously served, I’ll enter Congress with the seniority of a 4th termer, and hard experience leading tough battles for regular people in committee and on the floor of the House.

And second, who is best able to defeat Chip Cravaack, a failed Congressional experiment, and send him home to New Hampshire?

I won three consecutive Congressional elections in a conservative district (Republicans preceded and succeeded me) by an average of 58% of the vote. And I raised the record amounts of money necessary to do it.

In campaigning as in governing, real life experience counts.

Daniel Fanning: Thanks for the opportunity to discuss important issues. An hour is barely enough time to scratch the surface – but I look forward to the ongoing discussion over the year. What’s clear from the debate is we all have different depths of knowledge of federal issues concerning our 8th District and different styles. I prefer the Wellstone Way: straightforward, honest and informed. You may not agree with me on every issue, but you’ll know where I stand and why. No more politics as usual. I am the only candidate that addressed every question, including the reroute of the North Country Trail and that I’m aware there hasn’t been a sulfide mining project where technology was able to mitigate environmental damage. That’s not to say it can’t be done (if anyone can do it right, we can) but we must have honest conversations, ask tough questions and act responsibly. That’s the new leadership we need in Congress – long term solutions, not just quick fixes, generalizations and more empty rhetoric. Aside from a few typos, I wouldn’t change a single answer. If folks have more questions or want to chat, contact me at, (218) 206-1268, or visit Thanks again!

Jeff Anderson: I want to thank MPR for hosting today’s online forum. It’s great for citizens to hear from the candidates running for Congress here in the 8th.

This is such an important race for the people of Minnesota. We have a chance to take back the 8th and replace Rep. Cravaack with a leader who knows the district and is interested in working with citizens, elected officials and different constituencies to create jobs and opportunities for working people in the district.

We’ve seen Rep. Cravaack’s true colors. He has voted against funding for programs to assist homeless veterans; he’s supported the Ryan Budget Plan which would end Medicare as we know it; he’s supported ending air service to places like Brainerd, International Falls and Hibbing; and he refuses to raise taxes on billionaires, Big Oil, and Wall Street fat cats.

We need a Congressman who is one of us – and who will stand with us. We need a Congressman who knows the challenges and opportunities that face the people of the 8th. The next generation of Minnesota prosperity is on its way, but only if we have a partner in Washington. I’m ready to go to work for you.

Tarryl Clark: This election is critical. We need a member of Congress who is going to stand up and fight for our priorities: well-paying, sustainable jobs and making good on our promises to our seniors, veterans and our children’s future.

I’m committed to making sure that families and communities – not Wall Street are being heard in Washington. We have the opportunity to create jobs here in the 8th district while strengthening programs like Medicare and Social Security, but our current member of Congress is more interested in advocating for the Ryan Plan to kill Social Security and gut Medicare.

I’m the only candidate in this race that has been fighting for the priorities of our families and communities for the past 23 years. As a youth minister, founder of Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity, Senior law attorney, and director of the statewide Community Action agency, I worked to improve the lives of seniors, veterans, families and communities. As a State Senator, I helped write laws that put the priorities of our families and communities first and I’m already working to help create jobs here in Minnesota as the co-chair of the national Jobs21! Initiative.

Thank you to MPR for hosting this forum and I would appreciate having your vote next November.

Rep. Chip Cravaack: Since entrusted to serve this office, it has been my duty to be visible and accessible to residents of the 8th Congressional District.

It’s been my privilege to provide constituents with 12 public town hall meetings, 5 seniors’ town halls, 10 tele-townhalls, and mobile offices in over 120 Minnesota cities.

I ran for Congress because the status quo in the 8th District was unacceptable.

I’ve disagreed with President Obama and members of my own party on how best to address the country’s economic troubles. I supported the Cut-Cap-and-Balance plan. This legislation would have reduced the deficit, provided enforceable caps on future spending, protected Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans’ Benefits – and also contained a balanced budget amendment. The plan passed by the House does none of these things. I also defend Davis Bacon provisions that protect working families’ take home pay.

I remain focused on creating more jobs for the 8th District by protecting our precious industries and directing our limited resources towards our most urgent infrastructure needs. I will continue to work with my colleagues on bi-partisan, common-sense solutions to the problems facing our country.

Please feel free to contact me on issues of importance to you. Thank you.

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