Voters used to have to travel to Capitol Hill to see and vet their congressional representatives' personal financial disclosures for potential conflicts of interests. Now, that information is available online. Strong leadership on this ethics issue by Minnesota U.S. House Rep. Tim Walz is a key reason why.
Walz, a Democrat seeking a fourth term, worked tirelessly over the past two years to push through a package of congressional ethics reforms -- known as the STOCK Act -- that specifically ban insider trading by politicians and require unprecedented levels of transparency. That didn't win him points from wealthy congressional leaders, but his embrace of the issue shows that six years in Washington, D.C., has enhanced rather than robbed him of old-fashioned southern Minnesota common sense.
That legislative coup isn't the only reason to send the former Mankato teacher back to Congress. Walz, who served 24 years in the Army National Guard, is one of the nation's most effective advocates for veterans young and old. Laws he's championed help protect the jobs of those still serving and help those who have returned to use the skills they've acquired to find employment. He's pushed to improve treatment for veterans with traumatic brain injuries. Walz also has worked hard on agricultural legislation, often with Republicans, on bills to help beginning farmers and ranchers and to reduce energy costs in rural areas.
Walz, 48, is running against former Republican legislator and gubernatorial candidate Allen Quist. The Quist campaign's focus on the national debt rather than the divisive social issues he's known for is welcome. But Quist's unyielding positions on additional tax revenue or reforming Medicare or Social Security run counter to Simpson-Bowles and every other credible debt-reduction plan. He would impede a "grand bargain" to rein in red ink. Walz, in contrast, is a bridge-builder who would work to forge the best deal for the country.
To read more of the Editorial Board's endorsements, go here.