Where’s Erik Paulsen?

Our Representative in Congress hasn’t held a public town hall since September 6, 2011. There’ve been last minute meetings announced on social media shortly before they happen, tele-town halls where questions can be vetted before being forwarded, appearances at local businesses and school, robocalls that come to you saying he’s sorry you weren’t there to take his invitation to the tele-townhalls — but no traditional town hall.

It’s been 2,145 days since Rep. Paulsen’s last public town hall.

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Where was Paulsen for Edina parade?

While excited parade-goers lined the 50th Street in Edina, back in the staging area, Section 16 was curiously empty. That was the spot Rep. Erik Paulsen had reserved, and it was the position in which the parade information materials listed he would be marching.

But as a large group gathered nearby in Section 17, where Rep Keith Ellison and his supporters would march, still not one supporter or staffer for Rep. Paulsen appeared. Let alone the representative himself. And so the parade went on without him.

So where was Erik Paulsen? (more…)

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Russia sanctions stall in the House as Democrats object to being frozen out of restraining Trump

NOTE:  If you have questions about this situation, please contact Rep. Erik Paulsen’s offices to ask them. You can reach them here:  202.225.2871 (DC) or 952.405.8510 (MN).

The following article by Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis was posted on the Washington Post website July 10, 2017:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he is in favor of the Russia sanctions bill. The measure is mired in a partisan dispute in the House — with Democrats saying a recent change weakens the legislation. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Popular legislation that would limit President Trump’s ability to lift financial sanctions on Russia is mired in a partisan dispute in the House, with Democrats charging that a recent change would weaken the bill.

The surprising roadblock emerged in recent days as Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Group of 20 summit in Germany and floated the possibility of joining forces with Russia on a cybersecurity initiative, to objections from both parties.

The pending legislation, which passed the Senate on a 98-to-2 vote last month, is effectively a congressional check on Trump: any time the president wants to make a change to sanctions policy on Russia, lawmakers would have a chance to block him. (more…)

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What will happen to my mom?

My mom is 97 years old and has severe dementia.  She has been in a memory care unit for three years.  My mom loved reading, loved book, but now can’t recognize even one written word.  She can’t hold a conversation or count past one.

And mom has outlived her live savings.

The skilled nursing care she is receiving is being paid for by Medicaid.  So if the present GOP health care bill becomes law, Medicaid will be cut. (more…)

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Kids in pro-Trump rural areas have a lot to lose if GOP rolls back Medicaid

The following article by Noam N. Levey was posted on the Los Angeles Times website July 6, 2017:

Communities like this aging West Virginia coal town along the Kanawha River were key to President Trump’s victory last year; more than two-thirds of voters in surrounding Fayette County backed the Republican nominee.

Now, families in this rural county and hundreds like it that supported Trump face the loss of a critical safety net for children as congressional Republicans move to cut hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade from Medicaid, the half-century-old government health plan for the poor. (more…)

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Local Newspapers Uniquely Positioned to Promote Healthy Political Discourse

The following letter was submitted to the Lakeshore Weekly News June 27, 2017:

To the Editor:

The Lakeshore Weekly News is an important resource for local information that falls under the radar of state and national news feeds. Thank you to reporter Patty Dexter for the exception to this in the June 22 edition by providing Congressman Erik Paulsen’s reaction to the attempted murder of congressmen in Washington DC on June 14th . This terrible assault on our democracy is a local issue because it was an attack on all Americans. The article also demonstrated access community news organizations have to our elected representatives and the opportunity they have to report on them. This is especially important because Congressman Paulsen has chosen to ignore his constituents and refuse on‐the‐record open public discussions.

Lakeshore Weekly is uniquely positioned to promote healthy political discourse because of its access to Paulsen which is not afforded, or is affordable, to his constituents. Lakeshore Weekly has the opportunity to raise the bar in reporting on Paulsen by asking him rigorous questions on his positions affecting our district and demanding complete and truthful answers. For example, Paulsen voted for legislation (H.J. Res. 40) to make it easier for those suffering from severe mental illness to purchase firearms. This regressive legislation was rejected by over 70% of voters and his friend, Gabby Gifford. The reporter could have asked Paulsen why he voted to remove checks and balances on the purchase of firearms by those diagnosed as a risk to themselves and/or others. (more…)

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America must repair its scientific infrastructure

The following commentary by Olle Heinonen was posted on the Minneapolis StarTribune website July 3, 2017:

This is especially important in Minnesota, with its background of innovation.

Source: Morguefile.com

President Donald Trump’s $1 trillion plan to repair the nation’s dilapidated roads, antiquated bridges and shabby railways through an infrastructure overhaul is a worthy goal. But to fully boost the economy, strengthen our competitiveness and increase job growth, Trump’s plan should include our nation’s scientific infrastructure. I urge U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota’s Third Congressional District — who is in a position of influence on this because of his service on the Joint Economic Committee — to take the necessary steps to ensure that the president includes science in his infrastructure plan.

Americans rely on our country’s scientific infrastructure — national labs, university research facilities and cutting-edge instrumentation — for the breakthroughs and discoveries that improve our lives, fuel our economy and help protect our country. (more…)

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Where is the kindness?

Where is America’s heart?

All over the news, I hear politicians reference religion and their belief systems to justify their actions. And that is fine. It’s a right in this great nation to hold those beliefs. However, what’s interesting is that even a cursory glance at all major religions shows one major similarity: treat others with kindness.

Kindness. We don’t seem to see that much anymore. But I ask one question. The new healthcare bill written in total secrecy by the GOP. Does it evoke the idea of kindness to others? (more…)

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Rep. Erik Paulsen: Still Missing in Action

As a resident of the Third Congressional District, I’ve become accustomed to Rep. Erik Paulsen’s unavailability. His last public, in-person town hall meeting was September 2011, and he refuses to hold another because he doesn’t want people yelling at him. However, his last-minute cancellation at Edina’s July 4th parade took his unavailability to a whole new level. A Paulsen spokesman said he doesn’t make public events like this a priority during “off” years. I guess we can only expect his presence during election years when he needs our votes.

Paulsen recently stated he is “good friends” with former Rep. Gabby Giffords, and even attended the commissioning ceremony of the Navy ship in her honor. I implore him to listen to her advice: “Town halls … were a hallmark of my tenure in Congress. … [L]istening to my constituents was the most basic and core tenet of the job I was hired to do. … To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

And, maybe even attend a parade.

Colleen Graf, Brooklyn Park
Minneapolis StarTribune, July 8, 2017

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