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View Diary: MN-02: What are the Issues in the 2nd Congressional District? - Congressman John Kline's District (5 comments)

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  •  This is my district (0+ / 0-)

    I will have some more info on further comments.

    John Kline has sailed past some weak opponents.
    2012 he won in single digits while taking it easy this election cycle. He ran one campaign ad and repeated it.
    Per my recollection, he only debated his opponent once.

    John Kline is a Texan and a Marine with a resume of carrying the nuclear football briefcase for Ronald Reagan.

    Kline refuses to take earmarks. This seems to shortchange federal dollars to the district.

    The district became slightly more liberal after redistricting.
    West Saint Paul areas were added ( previously in Betty McCollum's district. )The district includes South Metro Suburbs, such as mixed racial Burnsville, to weathly Lakeville, expanding exurbs such as Hastings,  and Elko , ,rural towns, and the college town of Northfield.

    Transit is a huge issue, many residents commute to the Twin Cities and are stuck in long commutes, make even longer in bad weather or accidents. With the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, options for roads are limited to due bridges needed to cross.

    The 2nd congressional district is considered a "lower tax" area. This tends to contribute to relatively lower services, in the form of parks and other "perks" . For example. The bike trail systems lag behind most of the other parts of the metro area.

    One interesting situation for Kline's district is a line of 300 freight cars parked on tracks for 5-7 years in Lakeville. These have brought about graffiti while Progressive Railway refuses to move the cars in the afluent suburb. I am told that the "right away is a federal issue. John Kline has written a letter to the NTSB. No solution appears in sight.

    John Kline gets many contributions from the For-profit post secondary education sector, the same sector he is charged with regulating as chair of the House education committee.

    Education has struggled in this area. For instance, while weathier suburb Lakeville has some of the top ranked schools in the State, it's district has faced millions of dollars in cuts. Meanwhile its neighbor Burnsville has some areas with a large population of  new immigrants, from countries such as Mexico and Somalia. This causes it's schools to struggle trying to spend resources.

    Trivia:
     the highest point of the district is a little ski area, next to Interstate 35. In Burnsville, called Buck Hill, with 350 vertical feet drop, you can cruise to the bottom in about 30- 40 seconds per run. However the ski hill boasts at least 3 alumni olympians including one the the best female skiers in history- Lindsey Vonn.  She grew up there learning to ski race.

    John Kline , although voting along Republican lines, tends to try to stay out of the limelight. When I door knocked last fall, voters would commonly split their ticket with D- Senator Amy Klobachar and R- John Kline. Both candidates tend to work relatively quietly.

    John Kline tends to engage constituents in telephone town hall meetings.  You never know when you will get called, and questions tend to be screened. He work these pretty easily, spouting standard Republican talking points including less taxes on job creators, Kill Obamacare, and cutting government spending.

    The media tends to be silent on John Kline. Around election time, you will see some local puff pieces.

    A couple of the local media stations are controlled by Republican donors including Stanley Hubbard (5- KSTP)
    and of course, the local Fox affiliate. (myfox9 Twin Cities)

    A new aggressive media opportunity is an online newspaper called
    patch.com.
    This is a newer option to reach local informed voters.

    •  The district is home to one of the most popular (0+ / 0-)

      tourist destinations in the country.
      The Mall of America. This is accessible by light rail line from the airport and is popular with many people flying in simply to go shopping. There is no sales tax on clothing.

      There is a planned Phase two for the Mall across the street,  however, planners are relying on subsidies and TIF financing to help build this. The Great Recession tempered down these plans and they cannot get enough support in the Legislature.

      Back to issues- the Twin Cities is considered on of the most sprawling major metropolitan areas in the country. Due to urban sprawl, This leads to conflict with new sewer systems, schools, and roads being built with a upper middle class constituency that despises taxes.

      The Metropolitan Council is in place to work on these issues.  For the Southern Metro, at the federal level, transportation funding, including commuter rail, rapid bus transit, and general road construction issues dominate.
      As I wrote earlier, due to river crossings, north/south roads, are limited from the South Metro to Minneapolis/ St Paul.

      There are some very large construction projects to be worked on in the Southern Metro this summer including a multi- week closing of I-35E where it connects to I-35W in Burnsville.

      There is a case to be made that John Kline has limited tax money coming back in to his district, while it gets spent in other states.

      Minnesota gets fewer federal dollars back then it pays.
      Unlike southern states like Alabama and Mississippi.

      The chambers of commerce tend to be very active in the South Metro. They put a god deal of pressure on local politicians to "keep taxes low" and to "reduce spending".

      Due to lack of in depth media coverage, residents do not get a lot of information about what their congressperson is doing (or not doing in Washington.

      Another important issue is that the MSP airport has expanded in recent years. Many of the air traffic occurs  over the 2nd district.
      Noise issues are continuing source of controversy with federal funding for noise abatement programs for houses.

      Another issue, there are some major resources in the district with regards to standard of living. The Minnesota River and Mississippi Rivers converge in the 2nd District.

      Cities like Burnsville have neglected this resource by allowing large gravel pits and dumps to be built next to the river. The 20 year city plan turns these into parks and golf courses along the river with trails linking the rest of the city.

      The Minnesota River frequently floods and polution and runoff is a major concern.

      Also- there is great fear in the 2nd district of the Asian Carp spreading via the Mississippi. These jumping carp will decrease the native fish population.

      Trails, many of the cities like Apple Valley, Lakeville, and Eagan have wide paved bike trails along it's main roads.
      The county is working a master plan to connect most parts of the county with bike trails. Once completed there will be a 40 mile trail connecting Burnsville and Minnesota River to Hastings along the Mississippi River. Many of these segments are either completed or under construction. Many other "bike"corridors are being planned. However, many areas of the county are 20 years behind the rest of the Twin Cities Metro.

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