As Chairman of the Emmer for Governor Campaign, I have been disappointed to learn of several attacks leveled against Tom Emmer dealing with his leadership and voting record. While we welcome a robust discussion of the record to help delegates make this important decision, I am compelled to respond to some of the more frequent attacks in order to set the record straight.
Some of the attacks were leveled in an email from Rep. Seifert’s running mate Rhonda Sivarajah sent yesterday. Others have never been disseminated publicly or brought up by Rep. Seifert in any of the numerous public forums where he and Rep. Emmer were on the same stage. I guess they call that the “whisper campaign.”
Some delegates have asked us about the allegation that Tom “walked out” on the House Republican Caucus after he lost an election for caucus leader. This is not true. Tom completed the 2007 session as Deputy Minority Leader and simply chose not to be part of Marty’s leadership team anymore. He was not alone in this decision.
The 2007-2008 House GOP Leadership Team consisted of Tom as Deputy and Assistants Brad Finstad, Dean Simpson, Kurt Zellers, Dennis McNamara and Laura Brod.
In 2009-2010 the team consisted of Steve Smith as Deputy and Assistants Sarah Anderson, Randy Demmer, Bob Gunther, Rod Hamilton, Carol McFarlane and Dan Severson.
Not a single holdover from one biennium to the next under Rep. Seifert’s leadership. Why? Because the caucus began to lose their way and stopped standing up for the Republican principles you and I believe in. The best example of this of course was the override of Governor Pawlenty’s veto of the gas tax increase.
When members of the Republican caucus started voting for tax increases and the leadership couldn’t prevent it, some members (including myself and Rep. Emmer) had trouble identifying with that “team.”
But Tom Emmer never stopped leading. He mentored new members of the House on policy and politics. He continued to lead our House floor strategy. And he continued to lead the debate against the DFL on the House floor with passion. Ironically, that passion was also the subject of a recent attack.
At this writing, Tom enjoys the support of seventeen members of the legislature and countless former members, on par with Rep. Seifert. So don't take it from us - listen to those who serve with Tom and know him to be a man of integrity and someone who will never abandon the fight for our principles.
In her email yesterday, Rhonda Sivarajah repeats the Seifert campaign’s attack on the amendment to add a referendum to the Twins stadium vote which Emmer voted against. While it’s fair to bring up that vote, it is not fair to imply that Tom Emmer didn’t “stand up for the taxpayers” when it comes to stadium votes. In fact, he voted against the referendum because he did not believe a taxpayer-funded stadium was proper even if it was imposed via referendum, and he wanted to encourage legislators to vote the stadium bill down outright.
Ms. Sivarajah also pointed to an amendment to the 2005 bonding bill, with Seifert voting for removal of funding for the Northstar commuter rail project, and Emmer voting against. She says "Representative Emmer voted against this amendment to de-fund Northstar" -- clearly implying that Emmer favored funding of Northstar. There’s only one problem with this argument: Emmer voted against the final bill that actually funded the Northstar rail project, while Seifert voted for it. Seifert actually voted to fund Northstar in two bonding bills: $37 million in 2005 and $60 million in 2006.
It takes a lot of guts to make this criticism of Emmer when it was Seifert who actually voted for the funding.
Sivarajah’s email also discusses the "cheeseburger bill", a bill which banned a certain type of obesity lawsuit, to suggest that Emmer is against tort reform because he is a "trial lawyer." While Tom is technically a “trial lawyer” because he does litigation work, most of his work has been on the defense side of the argument. Tom supports reforms to our legal process and so do most of his clients, so to imply that his professional work influenced how he voted on a bill is very disingenuous.
The Seifert campaign has also made several unsuccessful attempts to debunk the allegation that Seifert voted for cap and trade legislation.
Back in 2007, Marty Seifert jumped on the global warming bandwagon and voted for several energy/environment bills that have been driving up the cost of our energy ever since. Now he’s trying to run away from those votes by saying they weren’t really cap and trade bills.
One result of this legislation was Minnesota’s participation in the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System - as close to full fledged cap and trade as you can get right now. See http://www.mrets.net/ for more information. But don’t take my word for it – when you search the Minnesota House website for “cap and trade” in the 2007-2008 session, the Next Generation Energy Act pops up.
And if you haven’t already watched Seifert’s speech on the floor of the House the day the bill was passed, click on this link – his own words tell the story better than anything.
So when you hear these themes on the phone or read about them in an email, we only ask one thing – call us first before you believe them.
On May 1st, 2010, all of us will be supporting the endorsed Republican candidate for Governor. Let’s not hand the DFL any extra ammunition in the fight as we endeavor to make this important choice.
Prepared and paid for by
Tom Emmer for Governor
P.O. Box 14269
Saint Paul, MN 55114