When I first ran for Congress, it was clear Washington was broken. Far too many people were ignoring the issues that matter most, focusing their time on politics instead of policy. For me, the goal was simple: putting my time and energy into working on the big stuff, the important stuff — things that actually can improve people’s lives.

I knew it would take an intentional, ongoing and, most importantly, bipartisan effort in order to do this. That effort became my mission — and it remains my mission.

I believe no issue is more essential than creating a strong economy to restore hope for a prosperous future for ourselves, our parents, and — most importantly — our children. A growing, competitive economy ensures that young people can get a good job, that the savings our retirees have worked for all their lives is safeguarded, and that prosperity for the next generation is on stronger economic footing.

The once-in-a-generation tax reform that I helped write is making our economy boom again with confidence. It’s truly a game changer. For the first time in the history of our country we have more job openings than job seekers. Consumer confidence is at record levels and business optimism is incredibly high.

Record-setting job growth, the lowest unemployment in 50 years and the fastest wage increases in a decade are restoring a spirit and optimism for every class in our country.

Middle-income families are not only earning more, but keeping more of their hard-earned money. The average tax cut for families in the Third Congressional District is more than $5,000. That’s real money in people’s pockets to pay bills, save and plan for the future.

While the economy is as strong as it’s been in decades, we all know that poor choices and bad economic policies from Washington would quickly undermine the progress the country has made in recent years. Tax increases and more regulations — coupled with higher government spending — would not only add to the national debt, but also grind our economy to a halt.

Many have said they would undo this incredible progress, including my opponent, which would be crippling for Minnesota’s economy and the Third District. In fact, it’s one of the most important contrasts for voters to consider in this election.

Too often, the loudest, angriest voices on both the left and right are the ones that get the attention. In reality, the hard work — the work that really matters — is usually done by keeping your eye on the ball and not letting things like cable TV news, political attacks, or the manufactured outrage of the day derail those efforts.

I have embraced that hard work and done it by working with Republicans and Democrats on an ongoing basis. For me, it has never mattered who is president or which party is in control of Congress. I always do what is right for Minnesota and am willing to work with whoever shares these priorities.

That commitment is why, under both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump, I have a record of bipartisan accomplishments that I’m proud to share with my constituents. I worked with Sen. Amy Klobuchar to help victims of sex trafficking. I eliminated the Medicare therapy cap so our seniors can get the physical, speech and occupational therapy care they need. I’ve authored bipartisan initiatives to combat the growing crisis of opioid abuse and addiction. And, I’ve fought to repeal the job-killing medical device tax, which had cost Minnesota thousands of jobs.

None of these efforts were about politics or party — they were simply about doing what is right for Minnesota.

As a father of four daughters, nothing is more important to me than building a stronger future for the next generation. That’s why I have focused so much of my time and effort on improving economic opportunities and building prosperity for families across the Third District.

And while I am extremely proud of the progress I’ve been able to make by working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle, I am more motivated than ever to build a stronger, brighter and more prosperous future for all of us.

If I am given the honor of continuing to serve the Third District, I will continue working to do exactly that.

 

Erik Paulsen, a Republican, represents Minnesota’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House.