Our country needs strong and courageous leaders. The Third Congressional District has many such leaders. We have visionary business leaders, faith leaders, local elected leaders and community leaders. We have a caring community that embraces change and is not afraid to meet challenges head-on. This community of leaders has stood by my side in the Minnesota Senate as I have taken on tough, controversial issues at times, standing alone among my elected colleagues to successfully champion what is right for the people of Minnesota. I have been a fearless advocate for tax, education and government reform. U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen enables a Republican-led Congress that prioritizes gridlock over progress. He votes with the extreme wing of his party and is out of step with the values and the vision of those in his own community. It is time for change.
This campaign season, I have been subjected to negative ads, smears of my record, and the target of special-interest money in the millions. Erik even took a page from Donald Trump to brand me “Taxin’ Terri.” I guess he was inspired by “Little Marco” and “Lying Ted.” I expected better from my congressman. Unfortunately, it comes with the nature of politics. I have no problem laying out my vision and record, because I am extremely proud of it. I did vote to invest in transportation infrastructure after the Insterstate 35W bridge collapse. It took five courageous GOP members of the Minnesota House to override a governor’s veto to make sure we upheld our constitutional obligation to provide safe transportation. Paulsen (then in the Legislature) voted no. He stood by his no-new-taxes pledge and his party.
What is different in this campaign from others in my lifetime is that much of it has been about exposing deep fissures within our society, scaring people by blaming their neighbors and retreating from the world community. We have seen this playbook before in dark times of history. I am running for Congress because I believe in the promise of America. I reject the politics of fear. I am running because in this election we have an opportunity to say that doesn’t work. We want a voice in Washington that has a plan to grow our economy, educate our kids and bring our community and neighbors together. We must protect our nation by strengthening our relationships with our allies and rooting out the threat of terror across the globe.
Before my time in office, I served in the private sector. During my business career, I learned the importance of maintaining fiscal responsibility, setting a vision to drive progress and planning for an uncertain future.
When I decided to run for the Minnesota Senate in 2005, I was not partisan or particularly political. I ran to make a difference in our education policy and funding structure, which I thought was putting the interests of adults above the interests of our students. I approached public policy with the vision and lessons that I learned in business, quickly earning a reputation as a pro-business Democrat who brings both sides of the aisle together to address the urgent challenges we face.
I am pro-trade and do stand for corporate-tax reform polices that would bring profits back to our country, expand jobs and strengthen the economy. My support for these policies and my strong stand on education reform have cost me some traditional institutional party support. This does not deter me. I will not vote or take action to put special interests before the interests of my community.
I co-authored the freedom-to-marry bill and have stood strong against efforts to roll back the clock on a woman’s right to choose. I believe we must take action on gun-violence prevention and climate change. My opponent is on the wrong side of history on these issues.
Uniting the middle is no easy task. It requires bold and courageous leadership. This is not easy. Congress accomplishes too little, thinks too small and says no too often. As you vote in this election, no matter your party, I ask you to consider the records and the vision for each candidate and who you believe will tackle our toughest issues and put our community ahead of special interests. I commit to you that my record of leadership in business, the Minnesota Senate and my community will be the same strong, independent leadership I will bring to Congress.
Terri Bonoff, of Minnetonka, is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District.