With Bachmann's latest attention seeking stunt and lurch towards pure McCarthyism, people are asking who Jim Graves is, the Democratic nominee for MN-06, the district just north and west of the Twin Cities saddled with Congress' craziest Member. I reached out to Jim and asked him to introduce himself to and Daily Kos readers. This is the guest post he sent me this morning. Please watch the video from the campaign and read Jim's own words afer the jump and then consider contributing to his campaign here.
Why I'm Taking On Bachmann
-by Jim Graves
Watching Michele Bachmann’s McCarthy-like witch-hunt unfold over the past few weeks has been truly disturbing. Her baseless attacks upon honorable, hard-working Americans is not only designed to divide us through hate and fear, it weakens our ability to take on the real challenges facing our nation today.
But these events have also reminded me exactly why I felt so compelled to take on Rep. Bachmann in this election-- for far too long she has gotten away with dangerous political stunts that come at the expense of the citizens she has been entrusted to serve.
Now people across Minnesota and across the nation are calling for her removal from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. I understand their outrage and agree that her reckless behavior warrants such a move. That said, if we’ve learned anything from the past it is this: the only way to bring her politics of fear to an end is by bringing her congressional career to end once and for all this November.
I’ve never run for office before. I’m just a businessman who grew up as one of six kids in an ordinary working-class family in St. Cloud, Minnesota. After teaching elementary school for two years, I launched my own family business while working out of my basement office with little more than a typewriter and a plan. That company grew into a successful hospitality business that has employed thousands of people throughout Minnesota and across the country.
By Rep. Bachmann's definition, I am a "job creator." But, unlike Bachmann, I understand that the real job creators are hard working middle class Americans. They are the ones that produce demand for the products and services companies provide. In order to revive our economy, we need to make sure that ordinary working families have money to spend on those products and services. But those middle class families are the one's suffering most in today’s tough economic climate-- a climate brought on by a political establishment too concerned with Wall Street and not concerned enough with Main Street.
I believe it is high time that our elected officials begin focusing on the priorities of Main Street America. And I know something about that-- in fact, I achieved my American Dream by investing on the Main Streets, the highways, and the byways across Minnesota and the region. I’ve spent my life building business up (not by breaking businesses apart and sending American jobs overseas). Unlike my opponent, I know that the small business person doesn't worry as much about taxes as they do about making sure that costumers are coming in the front door and buying the products and services they sell.
As someone who employs hundreds of unionized workers and built dozens of buildings with union labor, I also understand the valuable roll that collective bargaining and organized labor play in building and maintaining a vibrant middle class that can afford to live a fulfilled life. That is an essential part of our country's heritage. I refuse to believe that unions and employers have mutually exclusive goals. At the end of the day, we want the same thing, success. Businesses do best when their employees can work with dignity, respect and good livable wages-- when that happens, everyone benefits.
I also reject my opponent's understanding of the role of government. She talks a lot about making government smaller. But, in fact, she seems to think the government should interfere with the most personal decisions a person could ever make. She would like government officials to tell the victim of rape what she ought to do with her body. She would like the government to determine who a person can and cannot marry. Now, I have been married to my wife, Julie, for nearly forty years. Our marriage has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I don’t see how anyone would want our government to deprive individuals the freedom to experience that same joy and happiness no matter what their sexual orientation.
I don’t need to go on about Rep. Bachmann because her exploits are well known and quite notorious. What I will say is that we have never had a better chance to defeat her. Our polling has us down by just 5 points and charging fast. Rep. Bachmann has paid a price for ignoring her constituents to pursue her intolerant political agenda aimed at promoting her own celebrity. She has done unbelievable damage. She has made a mockery of our political system and the people it represents. Now is the time to stop her. Please join our effort, and together we will end this painful chapter for good.