I read that you know you are a Minnesotan if you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by.
I think there are plenty of Minnesotans who find it strange, let alone people from other parts of the country that think it is odd to drive out on the ice to fish in the winter hoping there will be fish near a tiny hole that is a miniscule fraction of the size of the rest of the lake.
But fishing is important to Minnesotans. Just being outdoors is important to Minnesotans. I went fishing on Lake Waconia a few weeks ago. We caught a few perch, but despite the lack of luck, it was a great day just to be out.
And it isn’t just fishing. There seems to be an innate need among Minnesotans just to be outdoors. Have you been at Lake Harriet or Lake Calhoun on that first sunny and 70 degree day in the spring? The traffic on the walking paths rivals the halls of the Mall of America the week before Christmas.
Minnesotans are nationally known for our love of the outdoors. I’ve heard stats about the per capita cabins, boats, fishing licenses, golfers, snowmobiles, and I’m sure you probably know one or two statistics also. Fishing opener and deer hunting opener are practically state holidays. The outdoors and natural resources have an important place in many of our lives.
So who is representing us when it comes to the outdoors and the environment? It isn’t John Kline.
The group Conservation Minnesota just released congressional ratings for 2009. In 13 votes during the 2009 legislative session John Kline had a 0% environmental support rating. In a reviewing John Kline’s overall environmental ratings, I learned that he has about a 20% approval rating when it comes to environmental issues over his time in Congress. Of course that rating includes annual perfect 100% ratings from the conservative League of Private Property Voters. If you remove those scores, his rating falls into the lower single digits, with annual 0% ratings from The League of Conservation Voters, American Lands Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment America, and even the group Republicans for Environmental Protection.
Is that voting record a record that reflects the voters of his district? The environment is so important to Minnesotans, that we took matters into our own hands after years of decline in the quality of environmental legislation and spending by passing the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. With nearly 80% voter turnout, it passed, so no one can deny that was a mandate for our legislative leaders to take the lead and be the stewards of our natural resources that we expect.
John Kline isn’t willing to be that leader. John Kline and Michelle Bachmann were the only two Minnesota Legislators to score an imperfect zero from Conservation Minnesota. The voters of his district do not support zero percent. That rating is proof that John Kline is out of touch. It is proof that he is more willing to put Republican Party agenda above the ideals of a majority of people in his district?
The outdoors is a part of Minnesota’s heritage. It is imperative that we protect it so we can pass it on to new generations of Minnesotans who will love it. The candidates challenging John Kline will not score zeroes when one of them joins Congress. Dan Powers wants to listen and act for the people of CD2. Dan wants wind turbines and solar panels dotting the counties he represents. We need a Representative who represents the ideals we hold dear. Our wildlife and environment are dear to us.