Minnesota’s Second District stretches from Minneapolis and St. Paul’s southern suburbs through the towns of Lakeview, Red Wing, Northfield (the home of Carleton College) and Rochester. Barack Obama won this district by 3 points in 2008, and by just 300 votes in 2012. Congressman John Kline, who currently represents it, used to represent a far more conservative district prior to redistricting. His conservative record and the district’s moderate leanings mean this will be a very competitive race in 2014.
As a close ally of Speaker Boehner and part of the Republican congressional leadership, John Kline is part of the problem – making this the least effective Congress in modern history, one that puts opposing Obama ahead of Minnesota’s middle class families.
John Kline is a key member of the Republican Congressional Leadership, in charge of the party’s education and labor policies. Kline has led the charge against public education. He authored legislation to raise student loan rates, and voted to cut Pell Grants and against a tuition tax credit for families. Kline also wrote legislation cutting funding for public education and eliminating the requirement that students be proficient in math and reading in grades 3-12.
Despite John Kline’s terrible record in Congress, he has voted five times in 10 years to raise his own pay, which is now $174 thousand dollars a year, and voted to allow members of Congress to keep their taxpayer-subsidized health care for themselves and their families for life.
Kline goes too far in interfering with women’s healthcare decisions. He voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood’s work to screen women for cancer, and he even sponsored a bill that would redefine what actually constitutes rape. Kline would redefine rape to mean only "forcible rape." For Kline women who were drugged or even minors who are victims of statutory rape -- would not be classified as rape victims at all.
Kline has continually voted to cut funding to help Minnesota farmers. He voted for the unfair Republican Budget, which would cut critical farm support to our local corn and dairy farmers. He opposes stem cell research, which could find cures for diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes. He’s voted to privatize Social Security and raise the retirement age, and to turn Medicare into a voucher system. On issue after issue, he’s just not looking out for Minnesotans.
Democratic candidate Mike Obermueller is a State Representative who grew up on a small dairy farm where he learned the importance of working together to meet common goals. He says that Washington is broken and that both sides are to blame; Democrats because they will not do enough to cut wasteful spending, and Republicans are just as wasteful when they want to give more tax breaks to the wealthiest among us. Obermueller says it is time for Washington to start doing what’s right for people who work for a living. In Congress, he will work to level the playing field for middle class workers and our small businesses.