A cynical non-voter recently engaged me and told me that there really is no major difference between a Republican and a Democrat. And in a sense, it is hard to argue with that on the national level somtimes. But in my mind, there are huge differences on the local and state level.
Last night’s House Minority Leader election of Kurt Zellers proves there is a huge difference. Simply by looking at the two house party leader’s websites instantly shows you straight forward differences between the newly elected Zellers and Majority Leader Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s website states:
“Most Minnesotans agree on the basic elements that make Minnesota strong – a thriving economy, excellent schools, health care that is affordable, safe communities and a clean environment.
Over the past two years we have made significant progress on these bread and butter issues by securing bipartisan support and cooperation. We recommitted Minnesota to quality education, made critical health care reforms, passed a nation leading renewable energy standard and provided needed property tax relief to Minnesota homeowners.”
So MAK seems to be concerned about what the average person cares about: a strong economy, healthcare, schools, and safety. Things a lot of people, including me, consider basic rights. And not only that, she is willing to work in a bipartisan manner and make concessions to get what we need. That was demonstrated very clearly in the DFLers actions on the budget this session.
On the other side of the aisle, new Minority Leader Kurt Zellers seems to have a very different agenda. If you look at his website, you will notice he is not in the house to improve Minnesotan’s standard of life. He does not want to make Minnesota a great place to live and raise a family. And he certainly doesn’t want to work with others to make it a better place. His first mission is “battling Democrats.” So right off the bat, forget bipartisanship. He is not in St. Paul to get things done, he is there to fight. Seems like a pretty stark difference between the two parties right there.
Zellers is in the house to “keep your taxes from rising” and that seems to be it. So to those cynical voters who don’t think there is a difference, think about this. Can you seriously tell me there is no difference between a political party willing to do what it takes to make sure we are taking care of the those who cannot take care of themselves, bridges are not going to collapse, the next generation is going to have educational opportunities to make our state better, and the air we breath and water we drink will continue to be safe for generations to come? Compared to a political party simply concerned with how much money wealthy people get to keep in their bank accounts?
There is no question, these are major, future impacting differences. Do we follow leaders who look to a better future, or do we follow leaders looking to keep a buck in their pocket at the cost of a better future.