Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz will not support President Obama's push for U.S. military strikes in Syria.
In a statement released Monday, Walz said he's skeptical that the current proposals would keep U.S. troops out of Syria or prevent their involvement in another foreign conflict.
"While I believe the use of chemical weapons is despicable and the world must take action to ensure that cruel dictators are not allowed to use such weapons without repercussions, at this time I cannot in good conscience support current proposals to take unilateral, military action," said Walz, a former National Guardsman.
Last week, Walz hosted a forum to gather input from residents on whether the United States should take military action in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged chemical weapons attacks against civilians.
Walz's southern Minnesota constituents respond with a clear message: Stay out of Syria.
"After 12 years of war, the American public has every right to weigh in and expect that their views be represented in Congress," Walz said.
With a median age of 42 years old, the people Minnesota's northern Eighth Congressional District boasts the most seasoned population in the state.
By contrast, Minneapolis' Fifth Congressional District has the youngest population -- the median age is just 34 years old.
The figures are contained in a new look-up tool available from the U.S. Census Bureau, which allows quick display of all sorts data about each congressional district.
Use the tool (below) to see that the Fifth District, represented by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, had a 9.5 percent unemployment rate when the Census Bureau collected its data while U.S. Rep. Tim Walz's southern Minnesota First Congressional District had a 6.1 percent unemployment rate.
Interested in education, housing, marital status or other data? That's all in the tool as well. You can pick which district to look at by clicking 'select a district' in the widget below.
Let us know what nuggets you find most interesting in the comments or on Twitter by replying to @Rachelsb.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched online and print ads in six college newspapers that single out Republicans, including U.S. Rep. John Kline, on the issue of student loan rates.
The ads will run in the Minnesota Daily, the campus newspaper of the University of Minnesota, which is not in Kline's district.
With the rate on federally subsidized student loans set to double on July 1 if Congress doesn't act, lawmakers remain divided over a solution. Without an agreement, the loan rate for undergraduate students would double, rising from 3.4 percent to 6.3 percent.
Last week, House Republicans passed Kline's plan to address the pending increase by switching loan rates to market-based system. But it's unlikely to become law because Democrats don't approve of it. The day before the House approved Kline's legislation, the White House threatened to veto it, arguing that the plan would create uncertainty for students and families.
For the second consecutive summer, the pending rate hike will be a hot-button issue for college students across the country. On average, Minnesota college students graduate with a $30,000 loan debt.
During an event at the White House today, President Obama publicly called on Cognress to prevent the loan rates from doubling. Like Kline, Obama has also voiced support for a switch to market rate loans, which would end the system in which rates are set by Congress.
Kline, the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, spent Thursday touring campuses and meeting with students in his district.
"It's time for the president to stop politicizing the student loan issue," Kline said in a statement today. "Instead of holding campaign-style events, the president should urge his Senate colleagues to put forward their own plan to solve the problem."
Facing a similar deadline on the student loan issue last summer, Congress simply extended the 3.4 percent rate for another year. Now the matter has resurfaced, with little more than four weeks until zero hour.
The DCCC would not reveal how much they're spending on the ad campaign against Kline.
President Obama today signed a disaster declaration today, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the southern Minnesota counties affected by a severe winter storm in early April.
Federal funding will be available to state and local governments and some nonprofit organizations in Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles and Rock counties for emergency work and the repair of replacement of facilities damaged by the spring snow and ice storm that hit that region of the state during the second week of April.
According to a Federal Emergency Management Agency estimate, the storm caused more than $26 million in damages.
In the storm's aftermath, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who represents southern Minnesota, surveyed the damage and met with residents, business owners and government leaders. They sent a letter to the White House last month, urging the president to issue a disaster declaration.
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