Candidate’s View: Urban liberals won’t fight for Northland way of life

Candidate’s View: Urban liberals won’t fight for Northland way of life

July 15, 2020

Minnesota is facing some trying times. Gov. Tim Walz’s never-ending lockdown has crushed small businesses and put many Minnesotans out of work. The hard-working men and women of the Iron Range have been no exception. Mines and paper mills have idled production, and countless small businesses have closed their doors indefinitely.

This comes during an already difficult time for the Northland.

Unfortunately, urban liberals have made it painfully clear how they feel about our Iron Range communities. During a time where we need to get our economy moving again with good paying jobs — like those in mining, energy, and logging — Democrats are trying to shut down our economic engine.

No government should deny its citizens access to their own resources. And that principle has been the governing philosophy for the Iron Range from as far back as when the Superior National Forest was established in 1909 to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act in 1978.

Yet Democrats, like my opponent Sen. Tina Smith, have completely sold out to the wealthy special-interest groups and urban elites who seem hellbent on robbing Northeastern Minnesota of an economic renaissance powered by the increased demand for precious metals.

Contrary to the fearmongering from wealthy metro special interests, no operators are proposing any mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The fact is the Iron Range holds what could be some of the largest deposits of precious metals in the world. Responsible copper-nickel mining has been estimated to add $5.9 billion to Minnesota’s economy — along with upwards of 15,000 jobs, direct and indirect. The PolyMet mine alone is expected to add over 1,300 high-paying jobs.

For the small towns and cities on the Range, this economic boost is a lifeline, crucially important as we start to recover from the coronavirus lockdown — a lockdown, it should be noted, that has had far more to do with politics than public health. That’s why I sued Gov. Walz, to force him to reopen Minnesota, including our schools this fall.

Of course, this isn’t just about mining communities. The best way to get Duluth moving again is to get the Range moving again. According to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, iron ore and coal make up 80% of the total tonnage leaving the Port of Duluth.

Just as taconite saved the Range, a new era of precious metals could provide the entire region with an economic boost it desperately needs. And yet, today’s “resistance Democrats” are willing to throw it all away to earn favor with their ever-increasing radical base.

Folks, this is no longer your mother’s or father’s DFL.

The “revolutionaries” now in control of the Democrat Party present the greatest threat to freedom in our lifetime. From the cancel culture on campuses to social-media censorship, they seek to harass, intimidate, and ban anyone who opposes them.

Sadly, Sen. Smith is in lockstep with these newfound extremists, such as U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have so cynically sacrificed the Range for political power. Let’s not give it to them.

Minnesota needs a senator ready to fight for the Northland way of life. I am.

Jason Lewis is a former congressman and the Republican-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate in the Aug. 11 primary. There are five Republican and five Democrat candidates for the seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Tina Smith. They were all invited by the News Tribune Opinion page to submit a commentary. Their “Candidate’s View” columns are being published this month.