This past week I’ve received two pieces of mail from Erik Paulsen, my congressman for Minnesota’s 3rd District. The first reads: “Protecting Our Children Fighting Meningitis B” The second reads: “Getting Results for Minnesota Seniors”. In an effort to help Congressman Paulsen be honest with us and himself, I’m checking out these two affirmations by checking out his voting record.
I’m looking at Vote Smart (https://votesmart.org/, a site generally considered a valuable and unbiased tool for scrutinizing our senators and congress people. Bill Moyers calls it “a bright light in an often desultory civic culture. Granted, Mr. Moyers is a Democrat but he’s also a deeply ethical man. Check out Vote Smart yourselves. You might be surprised at what is in some of these bills your elected officials spend so much time piddling on.
Let’s begin with Paulsen’s assertion that he is protecting our children’s health care, specifically in the fight against Meningitis B (he sponsored a resolution to recognize Meningitis B Awareness Day), a rather limited healthcare niche especially when I see all the areas of health care which Paulsen votes to defund and discredit. That’s just my opinion. On Vote Smart we can see how healthcare organizations throughout the country rank Erik Paulsen. In order to make more sense of the numbers, I’m comparing Paulsen to Keith Ellison, Democrat, Minnesota’s 5th District
|American Public Health Association||29%||83%|
|Planned Parenthood Action Fund||0%||100%|
|National Breast Cancer Coalition||67%||100%|
|Aids Drug Assistance Program||25%||50%|
|American Nurses Association||0%||100%|
|National Right to Life Committee||100%||0%|
|Children’s Health Fund||0%||100%|
|National Association of Social Workers||0%||100%|
It appears the only health related issue Congressman Paulsen throws his full support behind is his effort to withhold affordable healthcare, which could be a big problem, should one our children take a gunshot to the gut.
|National Rifle Association||93%||7%|
|Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence||0%||100%|
Erik Paulsen, by the way, has $20,000 of gratitude owed to the NRA. I probably don’t have to mention that the NRA didn’t offer Keith Ellison cash and the Brady Campaign doesn’t have much money.
Shall we move on to his claim that he is “getting results for Minnesota Seniors”?
|Alliance for Retired Americans||4%||100%|
|Nat’l Active and Retired Federal Employees||38%||88%|
|Alzheimer’s Impact Movement||50%||100%|
Spelled out, large and clear, on Paulsen’s mailing, where he claims he’s been getting results for seniors, was the statement: AARP “Millions of Medicare beneficiaries will be able to afford the physical, speech or occupational therapy they need”. Apparently, he helped remove a cap of $1,940 on these services which had been in place since 1997. On the other hand, take a look at this site: https://press.aarp.org/2017-07-28-AARP-Calls-Defeat-of-Skinny-Health-Care-Bill-a-Win-for-Americans-Age-50-Plus , a bill which Congressman Paulsen supported and which AARP worked to see defeated. Take a look at his voting record. The headline in CityPages for November 17, 2017 reads: “As Rep. Erik Paulsen votes for tax bill, his staffer stonewalls concerned seniors”.
Paulsen’s outreach coordinator Alex Stanford placidly listened to the seniors’ complaints then deflected their questions about what senior groups the congressman consulted about the impacts of the bill, or whether Paulsen has held any in-person to listen to seniors’ concerns.
Stanford claimed Paulsen has recently held “more than 100” town halls, and that he himself had personally attended “dozens.” He declined to name one, stated no schedule is publicly available, and refused to explain how constituents should learn one is upcoming in the future. http://www.citypages.com/news/as-rep-erik-paulsen-votes-for-tax-bill-his-staffer-stonewalls-concerned-seniors/458059393
One hundred town halls!? Take a look at the opening salvo from the Minneapolis StarTribune: “In Minnesota, neither Paulsen nor neighboring Republican Rep. Jason Lewis have attended a town hall gathering in more than a year — or in Paulsen’s case, years.” Instead, Paulsen uses the phone.
“If you’re just joining, this is Congressman Erik Paulsen, welcoming you to our live telephone town hall meeting,” Paulsen told the 2,800 constituents listening on muted phones during a recent phone session. Anyone with questions for their congressman, he said, could hit *3 and hold, please. Using numbers provided by an outside contractor, Paulsen’s office dials as many as 50,000 households in his district at a time. Anyone who picks up the phone is given an invitation, a conference call code and a toll-free number to call within the next hour.
I’m sorry, I missed that last question. I can’t hear my neighbors as we’re all on MUTE.
In fact, don’t bother calling at all. Do what you’ve always done. Ignore your constituency. And save the paper and the postage for the thank you notes to your large corporate contributors. This November I’m voting for a candidate that knows the difference between a Town Hall and a Fire Wall; the difference between Health Care and God Help You. This November, I’m voting for Dean Phillips. https://www.phillipsforcongress.org/