Minnesota 7th District Congressman Collin Peterson has the distinction of incurring the ire of the unreconstructed left and the tea party right. That factor in his political resume has served him and his constituents well for more than 20 years. He should be re-elected to another two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
No one in Congress – and we mean no one – knows more about farm policy and the mechanics of farm legislation than Peterson. His district is the most rural in the state, and agriculture – from dairy barns to wheat fields – is of primary concern. He has been a champion of farmers and agribusiness all his public life, and his position on the House Agriculture Committee is vital as he continues to be an advocate for rural America.
A pro-life, gun-rights Democrat, his pragmatic and moderate conservatism is in sync with the political climate of the district. His success at the polls reflects his enduring appeal across party lines.
The congressman’s opponent, Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom, has an admirable if undistinguished record of public service. He’s tried to run an honorable campaign, but outside interests associated with his candidacy have resorted to misrepresentation and half-truths in television attack ads.
Furthermore, Westrom has not made a credible argument that Peterson should be replaced.
Seventh District voters should return Peterson to Washington so he can continue his good work for them.
If Mike McFadden brings the enthusiasm and focus to the U.S. Senate that he has brought to his candidacy, Minnesotans will be well served. Republican McFadden is challenging first-term Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and on balance the challenger is making the case for change.
That’s not to say Franken has been wrong at every turn, as McFadden would have Minnesotans believe. If the challenger persists in that sort of hyperbole, his credibility will erode.
Nonetheless, McFadden’s conservative recipe for Senate service comports well with the needs of Minnesota and the nation in the 21st century. His success in the private sector, while not necessarily a requirement for public office, is an impressive tool in his public policy kit.
His dedication to education – including work in Minnesota to demonstrate what can be done if student-centered policies are implemented – can inform his Senate service.
McFadden also has a sensible view of government intervention in the marketplace, describing Franken’s approach as in sync with President Barack Obama’s “regressive regulation.”
That theme should resonate with Minnesotans, who frequently have seen responsible development slowed or killed by an onerous state-federal regulatory regime.
For his part, Franken happily identifies with the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., who was among the most liberal members of the Senate. Minnesotans should ask themselves if they are OK with a senator who is a feather in the far left wing of his party.
McFadden is a conservative who embodies intelligent pragmatism. He understands that divided government requires compromise. He rejects labels, and embraces a political “big tent,” which reflects the best of Minnesota’s political tradition. In that spirit, he would serve honorably in the U.S. Senate.
(Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board)