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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz says he's running for governor

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz is running for governor in 2018, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reported early Monday

Walz, a Mankato DFLer representing the First Congressional District, was elected in 2006. DFL powerbrokers have been hoping Walz would run, given his ability to garner votes in greater Minnesota. Walz has been re-elected in tough Democratic years like 2010 but barely squeaked by in 2016 despite facing weak opposition. 

After losing the state Senate in 2016 and falling deeper into the minority in the House, DFLers say much is riding on the 2018 governor's race. 

Walz, a retired high school geography teacher and retired command sergeant major in the Army
National Guard, is also known as an energetic retail politician. Walz won some acclaim among DFLers in 2004 when he was stopped and briefly hassled by Republicans while trying to enter a campaign event for President George W. Bush. Walz defeated longtime GOP Rep. Gil Gutknecht two years later. 

He joins State Auditor Rebecca Otto, Rep. Erin Murphy and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman in the DFL race. Others considering a run are U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, Rep. Paul Thissen and Attorney General Lori Swanson. 

No Republican has announced a run yet, but House Speaker Kurt Daudt, GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey, and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek are all said to be considering a bid.  

Where Minnesota's delegation stands on GOP health care bill

As the House prepares to vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, here’s what Minnesota’s federal representatives have been saying about the bill:

Rep. Tim Walz, D-1:

In a statement this week, he criticized the bill for leaving millions without health insurance, cutting care for the most vulnerable and failing to provide relief to many southern Minnesotans, including farmers and small business owners. “To make matters worse, this legislation has the potential to make health insurance even more unaffordable for rural Americans,” he said.

Rep. Jason Lewis, R-2:

He tweeted this week, “Important improvements to the AHCA, including more support for our seniors!” He said in a recent statement that the legislation lowers premiums, gives universal access to quality care and lets the patient choose a plan that works, not one that the government thinks they should have.

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-3:

He tweeted this week, “The [GOP bill] means patient-centered health care w/ lower costs, more choice for families & individuals in Minnesota & the rest of the country.” He said it provides more support for older Americans, offers tax relief and offers immediate relief from a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-4:

“President Trump and Speaker Ryan are rushing because Minnesotans and Americans continue to learn how harmful this bill really is,” she said in a video update this week. She criticized the bill for causing millions to lose their insurance and causing insurance premiums to increase, especially for seniors.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-5:

He recently tweeted that the GOP healthcare bill would be a disaster for all Americans, but that “women would get hit worst.”  He issued a statement this month saying that President Trump’s support of the bill “leaves no doubt that he is just as bad as Congressional Republicans - harming millions of working Americans in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich.”

Rep. Tom Emmer, R-6:

He supports the bill, though he hasn’t made any statements this week. Two weeks ago, his office sent the Star Tribune a statement saying that he heard stories every day from constituents who are struggling under the Affordable Care Act and that he was reviewing the text of the GOP healthcare plan “because I believe, unlike the lawmakers who passed Obamacare, it is important to know what is in a bill before we vote on it.”

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-7:

He plans to vote no. "After reviewing the legislation, it was clear that it does nothing to address the real problem, which is the skyrocketing cost of premiums and unaffordable deductibles that working families have been facing," he said in a statement. Peterson was the sole Democrat to vote for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act in January 2016, and one of 34 House Democrats to vote against the original legislation in 2010.

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-8: 

He criticized the bill this week for causing 24 million people to lose their healthcare if enacted, while giving billions in tax cuts to the richest Americans. "Some pundits have described it as one of the biggest transfers of wealth and travesties perpetuated on the American people in American history," he said.