Counterpoint

As a Minneapolis attorney and chairman of the Minnesota chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition since 2006, I have known and worked with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann since she first ran for Congress. In response to the Star Tribune editorial (“Bachmann’s exit is an opportunity,” May 30) I can attest to her character, integrity and inspiring leadership.

Perhaps her most striking quality is her compassion and empathy, based on her life experiences. She grew up in modest circumstances in Waterloo, Iowa, and experienced difficult times after her parents divorced. Through sheer determination, she worked her way through college and law school, served as a federal tax attorney and became active in her local community in Stillwater, where she devoted her energies to ensuring that all children received high-quality education free from political indoctrination.

Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, demonstrated their compassion by welcoming 23 at-risk foster children into their home. Her lifelong dedication to prolife values reflects her commitment to the sanctity of human life. I have often said that Michele Bachmann is a woman for all seasons, for her core convictions and principles never waiver with the times.

Her public life, both in the Minnesota Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, reflects her unrivaled honesty and integrity. I know that she insists that all who work for her strictly adhere to the highest ethical standards. The recent desperate and lamentable attacks upon her are crude, despicable attempts to defame her for purely partisan political objectives.

As a member of the pro-Israel community, I have been inspired by her steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and recall the many occasions when she spoke out passionately against anti-Semitism in all its manifestations throughout the world. As she has often said: “I will not keep silent when it comes to the defense of Israel and the Jewish people.”

After Israel in 2005 tore down all of its settlements in Gaza, forcibly removed its citizens living there and unilaterally withdrew, it was Bachmann who declared this a tragic mistake, since, as she explained, the extremists would use the opportunity to smuggle in weapons through the tunnels from Egypt, and would use Gaza as a launchpad from which to fire missiles into Israel. That is exactly what happened.

Michele Bachmann will never be intimidated and will never compromise her principles and values for any reason. She stands in the same magnificent tradition as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. We Minnesotans can be justly proud of her inspiring leadership, and I am honored to call her my friend.

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Mark R. Miller lives in Minneapolis.