Rep. Tom Emmer is seeking a second term representing Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, and despite disagreeing with him on some significant issues the Editorial Board believes he deserves it.
Emmer, 55, has had an interesting trajectory as a political figure. When he started out in the Minnesota House in 2005, he brought with him a trial lawyer’s brash, elbows out, I-win-you-lose attitude. A deft speaker, he styled himself as a populist conservative and came within a whisker of becoming governor in 2010. He lost to Mark Dayton, and that was the beginning of a journey that continues today. He’s still a conservative: He favors small government and low taxes, opposes gun control and has been forthright about his support of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
But Emmer also has developed a more inclusive style. He listens. Exposure to the world as a congressman has broadened his views. He has seen the good that U.S. foreign aid does in spots around the globe. He knows addressing terrorism must go deeper than simplistic bans. “I tell people now if you want to create a Paris or Brussels, you can do that by pushing these young people away,” Emmer said, referring to the terrorist attacks in those cities. “We want you to be Americans.”
To that end, Emmer said he has built a strong relationship with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger on working to combat the roots of terrorism locally. He joined forces with fellow legislative alum Rep. Keith Ellison to form the Congressional Somali Caucus. He traveled to Alabama to take part in the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma. As a freshman, he made a practice of reaching out to Democrats on his subcommittees for breakfast or coffee.
Emmer has worked to hold his tongue on controversial topics. “Lazy politicians use opportunities to foment fear because it benefits them,” he said, “but it destroys the community.” That is a commendable sentiment for any lawmaker and one we hope Emmer continues to hold. Unlike his predecessor, Michele Bachmann, Emmer has put his head down and worked on meaningful legislation. He’s been a strong voice on free trade, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, on lifting the Cuba embargo and on reforming a corporate tax structure that has helped drive U.S. companies offshore.
Democratic challenger David Snyder, 57, is an ironworker, veteran and political newcomer. Snyder said he supports trade, but opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and believes the North American Free Trade Agreement did lasting damage to U.S. workers. He supports a strong infrastructure program that would improve the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and pipelines but also “create jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.” A union member, Snyder believes strongly in union rights and labor protections for workers.
After this election, the nation will need members on both sides of the aisle who can fight for their agenda, but who also can lead the way to principled compromise that moves America forward. Emmer has a good start on that, and we look forward to more in a second term.