The revelation several weeks back that U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer and two fellow thoughtless politicians, Reps. Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber, boarded a public flight after knowingly having been exposed to a potentially deadly virus is shocking. It appears they put their own convenience ahead of the health and welfare of the general public they are supposed to serve.

Sadly, it is not the first time and won't be the last if we re-elect these selfish men. More shocking, still, is the fact that my opponent, Emmer, is more than a follower in this bad behavior. He is actually an instigator who purposefully sets out to deny his fellow Minnesotans their most desperately needed resources for political expediency. A person of character leads with his humanity, particularly in a crisis.

After the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis in 2007, then Eighth District Congressman Jim Oberstar stepped up to request funding to replace a bridge with a similar design flaw in St. Cloud. Even though it was not in his district and had only a minimal impact on his constituents, Oberstar made sure that a similar disaster would not affect others in Minnesota. Oberstar displayed true leadership for Minnesota.

Contrast that with the gleeful announcement by current Sixth District Rep. Emmer that he asked President Donald Trump to deny federal funding to rebuild damaged infrastructure in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Even though many of his constituents work and own businesses in areas affected by the rioting, Emmer requested that no funding be provided until a thorough review of the events was completed.

Anyone who can walk and chew gum at the same time knows that the federal government is big enough to do both.

Apparently, Emmer, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, would rather see Minnesota burn than help Minnesotans in a Democratic district, even when it hurts his own constituents.

That is not leadership and it does not reflect Minnesota values, but it is no surprise coming from the most divisive and partisan member of Minnesota's congressional delegation.

Emmer's partisanship and callous unconcern for his own constituents can be seen in his recent votes:

Opposing additional coronavirus economic support now that the CARES Act protections and support for businesses and individuals has run out.

Opposing the Violence Against Women Act, because he objects to taking guns out of the hands of violent and dangerous abusers.

Opposing the Affordable Care Act, voting several times to repeal it and its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

When elected I will:

Support re-entry into the Paris Climate Agreement and encourage legislation to create jobs in renewable energy.

Support affordable, accessible health care for all American citizens, including negotiating drug prices with the companies that are gouging the American public.

Support economic relief for those who are unemployed during the pandemic.

Support the Violence Against Women Act and common-sense legislation to keep guns out of the hands of those who would misuse them.

For a complete list of today's political issues I support please visit

This year, we can make a change in the direction of our country by electing forward-thinking, honest leaders who care about our citizens.

Tom Emmer, move over. If you are not ready to lead, I will.

Tawnja Zahradka, of Forest Lake, is the DFL candidate for Congress in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District.