This is revolutionary!
Stage is Set to Advance Our Restore Democracy Revolution
According to a recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland and the non-partisan research group Voice of the People, 65 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats who responded back a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and put a stop to the billions of dollars in secret, dark money corporations and wealthy special interests are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
Now more than ever, our Nation’s future depends on overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, so we can finally put a stop to the billions of dollars in secret, dark money corporations and special interests are permitted to spend for terrible, false, and negative TV ads.
These messages, which begin months before Election Day, go on ad nauseum – discouraging good people from running for office, denigrating the candidates, driving down voter turnout, and causing Americans to lose faith in their leaders and the integrity of our public policymaking process.
According to the highly respected Center for Responsive Politics, last week’s congressional mid-term elections accounted for more than $5.2 billion. Much of that money came via incredibly wealthy special interest groups hoping to advance their own narrow agendas in the next Congress. And much of the rest was raised by incumbents who go to Washington to govern, but end up spending the lion’s share of their time dialing for campaign dollars like mid-level telemarketers.
The good news is that key elements of our Restore Democracy legislation – a blueprint that includes some of the very best ideas for campaign and elections reform (see article below) – are gaining support inside and outside of Congress.
The Washington Post reported last week that influential organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights have signed onto a “Declaration of American Democracy,” demanding that campaign and elections reform – including a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United – be a major priority of the next Congress.
Hopefully one key element will be the reintroduction and passage of legislation Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher and I have put forward to end congressional campaign fundraising – by incumbents and challengers alike – on days when Congress is in session. Our “Go to Washington, Go to Work” Act would ensure that when Members of Congress go to Washington, they go to work governing and doing the people’s business – not fundraising for reelection on the people’s time.
The simple fact is that there’s not a single Republican or Democrat in Congress who prefers fundraising to governing. Everyone comes to Washington with ideas they believe will improve our Nation and make life better for people. But far too many of the best ideas will be left on the cutting room floor until we change the system. And changing the system is what our “Go to Washington, Go to Work” bill is all about.
We will keep you posted as events proceed. Meanwhile, I want to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact any of our offices listed below or send me an email.
The Restore Democracy Revolution
This is What Will be Required to Restore Our Democracy and Take Back Our Government
One of my very first acts after returning to Congress in 2013 was to introduce a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which unleashed billions of dollars in secret, dark money into our campaigns and elections. This photo, taken during our press conference at the National Press Club, appeared on the front page of Capitol Hill’s well known daily newspaper, Roll Call.
Our Restore Democracy legislation is a blueprint for reform encompassing the best ideas put forth by many thoughtful leaders over the years. Any one of these elements would constitute major reform in and of itself. Taken together, the ‘Restore Democracy’ package would bring about a true renaissance for our democratic process. Here’s the plan in a nutshell:
Overturn Citizens United and get Secret, Dark Money out of Politics
Congress must enact a Constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ decision because corporations are not people. And campaign contributions are not defined as ‘free speech’ under the First Amendment.
Require Full Disclosure of Campaign Finances
Congress must have the power to require full public disclosure of all campaign financing so voters are aware of who is providing financial assistance to their candidates and how much they receive.
Institute Small Donor and Public Financing
Congress must create a system of small donor and public financing for elections in order to offset the power of well-financed special interests, and ensure that when Members of Congress go to Washington, they go to work on the people’s business – not on raising campaign funds.
Limit the Campaign Season
Congress must limit the campaign season by restricting spending on congressional campaigns to a period 60 days before a primary or general election, and prohibiting both incumbents and challengers from raising political contributions while Congress is in session.
Preserve and Expand Voting Rights
Congress must protect the right to vote by outlawing voter suppression activities, and providing an online voter registration system in every state. Our democracy succeeds – and our government works best – only when everyone participates.
Outlaw Partisan Redistricting
Congress must eliminate partisan redistricting and gerrymandering so reapportionment creates compact and contiguous Congressional districts that represent a regional community of interest and follow geographic boundaries and county lines.
Restore Regular Order
Congress must restore the traditional process of regular order that has served our Nation well for more than 200 years. All legislation must be the subject of public hearings with at least 72 hours provided for public review prior to recorded votes. Every bill must be considered under an open rule, with every amendment considered and given an up or down vote. Regular Order fosters bipartisanship and cooperation as we find points of agreement toward the best solutions to tough problems.
EPA Announces Plan to Boost Corporate Profits and Accelerate Global Warming in 2019
Our old friend, Pulitzer Prize winning Star Tribune cartoonist Steve Sack, nails it again with this cartoon pointing out that global warming is causing more and more extreme weather events.
The President has called climate change a “hoax” invented by the Chinese. Well, he can try telling that to people in California, Florida, and up and down the East Coast whose homes, communities, and lives have been devastated by terrible fires, rain storms, and hurricanes.Our hearts go out to them.
In fact, it could not be more obvious that the battle against climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. And the price of failure is almost unimaginable. According to a new report from the International Panel on Climate Change, unless the world undertakes an immediate, herculean effort to save our planet, thousands of lives will be lost and even more disastrous storms, flooding, food scarcity, and damage topping $54 trillion will occur by 2040.
Yet the President's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans last week to triple its efforts in 2019 to roll back air quality rules and regulations designed to eliminate billions of tons of carbon emissions that drive climate change.
And EPA has made clear that by March, they will have officially nixed the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, designed to move the nation away from coal, oil and other fossil fuels toward the use of more wind, solar and hydroelectric power.
The simple truth is, the United States should be leading the global effort to address and solve climate change with the same tenacity it took to defeat fascism in World War II or put a man on the moon in 1969.
But instead, the President has called climate change “a Chinese hoax” and announced that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate accords. The hard, cold fact is that unless determined people of good will find a way to overcome his refusal to accept facts and science, the entire world will pay the price for countless generations to come.
Electric Infrastructure and Smart Grid Technology in Lake and St. Louis County to Get $5,670,000 Upgrade
Under our watch, Minnesota’s 8th District has received more than $1.2 billion in federal grants for projects that create good paying jobs and make life better for people
We were pleased to announce an important grant for Minnesota's 8th district last week.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - via the Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program - announced that the Cooperative Light and Power Association in Two Harbors will be the recipient of a $5,670,000 rural development investment to build 35 miles of line and improve 12 line miles and make other system improvements, including $439,278 in smart grid technologies.
First energized in 1936, the Cooperative Light and Power Association serves more than 6,000 residential and commercial consumers in the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota. Tourism, timber and mining are the major industries in the service territory, which also serves four state parks, a National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
To help keep you updated, we will be using the Monday Report to highlight important federal grants for the 8th District.
Our Week in Washington
On his walk home from work last week, my Press Secretary, Jordan Metsa, witnessed what he calls "one of the most beautiful sunsets he's ever seen" over the U.S. Capitol Building. He was able to snap this photo, which captured the remarkable sight that evening.
Our Week in Mora
In the southeastern five countries of 8th District: Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec and Kanabec (PICKM) transportation providers and users met at the East Central Regional Development Commission in Mora to organize the East Central Regional Transportation Coordinating Council Advisory Board (ECRTCC Advisory Board). Their mission is to work towards transportation access for seniors, military Veterans, people with disabilities, and low income individuals. My Field Representative Rick Olseen attended on my behalf and spoke about my legislation, H.R. 5664, that addresses the tax issue many volunteer drivers are facing.
Our Week in Minneapolis
My Field Representative Rick Olseen has been attending the United Veterans Legislative Council of Minnesota on my behalf at the Minneapolis VA for the last six years. He’s receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from the group’s Chairman Jerry Kyser. The wellness of our military Veterans is so important to me, and it’s been a privilege for my staff and me to help many Veterans in the 8th District.
Our Week in St. Paul
Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended the Minnesota Department of Health Flex Advisory Committee Meeting in St. Paul. They focus on rural issues for hospitals, emergency medical services and wellness. The word cloud chart on the screen illustrates the input the group received from a series of public meetings they hosted to find out residents top concerns throughout the region.
Coming Up in Washington
- The House is expected to take up H.R. 6651, the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, extends authorities, limitations, and reporting requirements relating to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), as initially authorized by Congress in 2003 and reauthorized in 2008 and 2013.
Did you know November is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month?
The bipartisan Bold Infrastructure Alzheimer's Act, H.R. 4256, introduced by Congressman Brett Guthrie (R) of Kentucky, has my support along with 209 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
November marks Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, and as a Member of Congress, I am doing everything I can to support efforts that raise awareness and work toward a cure. Specifically, I have signed onto bipartisan legislation - supported by the Alzheimer's Association - to provide the funding and resources the Center for Disease Control (CDC), health care providers and researchers require to combat this deadly and extremely costly disease.
As it stands now, Alzheimer's Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States - costing a quarter of a trillion dollars each year. More than 5 million Americans live with this debilitating disease.
By working together to pass the Bold Infrastructure Alzheimer's Act, Congress can improve quality of life for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and reduce human and financial costs associated with it.