Back in 2016 before the election, Rep. Erik Paulsen was initially coy about whether he supported Trump. In May of 2016 when Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee, Paulsen said, “I’m going to vote for, and I said I plan to vote for, the nominee coming out of the convention." Then, in August of 2016 during a 3rd District Congressional debate with Terri Bonoff he said, “Donald Trump has not earned my vote”. And when asked by a reporter who he was going to vote for he said “Whoever earns my vote." Then in October 2016 after the infamous Access Hollywood video came to light, Paulsen said Trump’s comments were disgusting and offensive and that “I will not be voting for him.”
Since Trump was elected, however, Paulsen has supported Trump’s agenda with 97.1% of his votes. In doing so, he’s voted against the interests and values of his own constituents as we’ve pointed out previously in this blog. For example, he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (I.e., ACA or Obamacare) in May of 2017 after a poll commissioned by the Minneapolis Star Tribune found that Minnesotans living in and around the Twin Cities overwhelmingly supported the ACA and opposed efforts to repeal and replace the law. His vote for the Republican Tax Bill was a particular blow for Minnesotans and to the constituents of the Third District because the House bill eliminated the long-standing deduction for state and local taxes which half of us have relied on in the past. And Paulsen’s right-wing gun votes don’t represent the majority of our district.
Paulsen’s slavish support of Trump and his policies was underscored by Vice President Pence’s recent trip to Minnesota to show support for the Republican congressmen and to try and sell the Republican tax plan which has so far failed to generate much enthusiasm for Republicans. Trump spoke on March 28 at an event sponsored by a group called America First Policies. It was founded by former Trump campaign officials, including Rick Gates who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements. The group has also been accused recently of skirting around election laws to provide polling data, an in-kind contribution, to Trump’s current campaign.
At the March 28th event, Pence thanked a number of people but “first and foremost” thanked Erik Paulsen for his “tireless efforts” in “fighting every day, shoulder-to-shoulder with President Trump to make good on all the promises” he made. Yikes!!!
So if you’re happy with the direction Trump is taking this country then by all means vote for Paulsen in November because he’s going to work tirelessly, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump, to make sure the Trump agenda is carried out. On the other hand, if you find Trump’s policies repugnant, then vote to replace Paulsen!!!
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On February 14, 2018, ironically just hours before the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, we published a blog entitled, “Paulsen’s Right-Wing Gun Votes Don’t Represent The Majority Of Our District”. Since the shooting, notwithstanding all the media attention and political protests in favor of reasonable gun control legislation around the country and in Minnesota, there has been virtual radio silence on this issue from Rep. Erik Paulsen.
On March 26, a group called Listen to the Children ran a full page ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune addressed to Minnesota’s U.S. Senators and Representatives asking if they would introduce, cosponsor or vote for legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines for firearms. It also asked if they would return any donation from the NRA and refuse to accept future NRA donations. A spokesman for Paulsen claimed that he has supported ways to combat gun violence but he didn’t specifically address the issues of high-capacity magazines or NRA funding.
Paulsen has “supported ways to combat gun violence”? Really? Was that his 2009 vote to prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from making any law restricting the possession of firearms? Was it his 2010 vote to authorize debtors in bankruptcy to exempt firearms from the property of their estate? Because we really need to make sure that people undergoing the stress and emotional turmoil of bankruptcy have all their firearms readily at hand? Or perhaps the Paulsen spokesman was referring to his 2016 vote, a week after the infamous Orlando nightclub mass shooting, to prevent even any debate about a bill to ban firearm sales to people on terrorist watch lists. Or maybe it was his 2017 vote to block any rules that would have restricted gun purchases by those who are so mentally incompetent they can’t even manage their Social Security benefits, or his vote to authorize veterans deemed mentally incompetent to buy firearms, or his vote to authorize individuals who hold concealed carry permits to carry their firearms in any state which authorizes concealed-carry and overrides the federal law concerning the concealed-carry of a firearm into a school zone. No wonder he has received a 93% approval rating by the NRA or why it has consistently given him donations since he has been in office.
According to the Star Tribune, Paulsen said last Monday that he would not rule out accepting contributions from the NRA in the future. He said, “I wouldn’t discount it, but I would certainly scrutinize it.” Huh? What is he going to scrutinize? Does that mean he’s going to look for bloodstains on the money before he accepts it from NRA?
Replace Paulsen on November 6, 2018.
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Minnesotans for Real Representation is a grassroots organization in Minnesota's Third District with the goal of replacing Erik Paulsen in 2018.