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"This is a major committee assignment – vital to generating good jobs and economic development here in the 8th Congressional District."  Congressman-elect Rick Nolan

The premise of the common good -  that government exists to help people, and that elected officials and citizens alike are morally obligated to work for the betterment of the greater community - is the tie that binds Minnesota's Iron Range together. It demands that citizens not only hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions, but support them in their efforts  regardless of political affiliation.  Yet the region's largest newspaper violated this covenant Thursday, using what should have been celebrated as great news for Rangers - Congressman-elect Rick Nolan's appointment to the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - as an excuse to take cheap shots at the newly elected 8th district congressman a week before he is even sworn into office.

In a prepared statement, Nolan outlined the importance of his committee assignment to northern Minnesota:

This committee assignment means we can move forward on Day One with efforts to secure federal support for the Northern Lights Express high speed rail project, fund Essential Air Service for our regional airports, repair and rebuild our network of Northern Minnesota roads and bridges, build capacity and traffic through the Port of Duluth, modernize the electrical grid system and make high speed broadband communications available to everyone, regardless of location.
But instead of discussing the potential benefits for the Iron Range of Nolan sitting on this key committee, Republican Bill Hanna of the Mesabi Daily News embarks on a nonsensical effort to discredit Nolan, criticizing him for not identifying financing mechanisms and suggesting that one serving in the minority cannot possibly be an effective representative for the region. Hanna's sour grapes whine born of ignorance further deteriorates into this petty rant:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also did not refer to the deficit or the Democrats’ minority status in her comments in a Nolan news release, which labeled her “House Leader” not “House Minority Leader.
Seriously?

Perhaps if Packsacker Hanna practiced real journalism instead of  hatchet jobs masquerading as journalism he would know that the simple title 'House Leader' is common practice,  and that press releases announcing committee assignments typically do not contain detailed legislative analysis.

Furthermore, any astute political observer understands that it is not majority or minority status that measures effectiveness of a congressman. It's what one does with it that counts. Hanna's packsacker buddy, one term 8th district Congressman Chip Cravaack, squandered his majority status to represent the Tea Party instead of his constituents, co-sponsoring legislation to end the Essential Air Services program (which would have resulted in the loss of passenger air service at Range Regional Airport)  and opposing critical infrastructure projects such as the Northern Lights Express. In contrast,  Nolan campaigned on making projects critical to the 8th district a priority, and proposed funding them by ending tax cuts for the wealthy and eliminating expensive and unnecessary wars of choice. During his previous service in the Congress, Nolan demonstrated an ability to build coalitions with Republicans and was an effective advocate for his constituents. 8th District voters elected him in November because they believe Nolan will represent them well even while in the minority, and at this time there is absolutely no reason to think otherwise.

Unlike Packsackers Cravaack and Hanna, Cuyuna Range native Nolan clearly understands the common good. If Nolan fails to deliver on his promise to work for the betterment of northern Minnesota, then residents are morally obligated to hold him accountable for his actions. Until then, the common good demands that the newly elected 8th district congressman have unqualified support from the community. Even packsacker republican newspaper editors.

Originally posted to keewatinrose on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 01:51 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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