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ECM ENDORSEMENT: Sarvi's the choice in 2nd District
Friday, 24 October 2008
Second District U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Lakeville, and challenger Steve Sarvi, D-Watertown, both served their country as members of the military.
Although they have this common experience, when it comes to the pressing issues in the 2008 campaign, that is largely where the similarities end.
Their differing opinions of the war in Iraq, rebuilding the economy, funding transportation projects and governing philosophies give voters a clear choice in this election.
We feel Sarvi has a better approach on a wide range of issues, and we endorse his candidacy.
With regard to the issue that has risen to the forefront in this election - the economy - we feel Sarvi is better equipped to make decisions in these troubling times.
We feel Sarvi's experiences as a mayor, city manager and U.S. Army sergeant in charge of rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq are the kind needed to rebuild the U.S. economy.
Sarvi has managed budgets and will champion tighter regulation of the financial markets, which didn't happen under Kline and the hands-off Republican administration.
We applaud Kline for his vote for the $700 billion bailout package, but Sarvi said more needs to be done help the middle class through incentives to lenders to help those facing foreclosure. Sarvi notes the economic collapse could have been worse if Kline had his way on privatizing Social Security by investing more retirement savings in the stock market.
With regard to the Iraq war, Sarvi's experience on the ground in Iraq will help as the United States moves forward with a plan to stabilize, reduce troop levels and rebuild the country.
Sarvi and Kline do not favor a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, relying on conditions on the ground to dictate when to reduce troop levels. Sarvi adds that it is urgent to stabilize Iraq as soon as possible, so it is no longer a financial drain on U.S. spending. He's also been vocal in saying that the Iraq war diverted the nation's attention from post-9/11 target Osama bin Laden, whose continued presence is causing more concerns in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
We acknowledge Kline's support of an increase in troop levels that has helped reduce violence in Iraq, but we feel he, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, should have been more critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war for much of the past five years.
In communicating with the people of the 2nd District, Kline has been criticized for his lack of public availability and was pressed to hold a "town hall" style forum in 2007 after constituents repeatedly asked for it as opposition for the Iraq war mounted.
We don't foresee Sarvi having such communication problems. He has a leadership style that relies more on coalition building, as demonstrated by his grassroots campaign, which has drawn the Independence Party endorsement and focused on communicating with voters in person, by e-mail and through his Web site.
Sarvi has a wealth of information on his Web site, where people can find his views on a range of issues and ideas for improving education, health care and veterans' benefits. Kline doesn't provide this depth of information on his Web site, relying more on his endorsements to speak for him.
Sarvi has proposed good ideas to reform veterans' medical benefits by changing eligibility requirements, reducing deductibles and changing the priority-care model.
ome local officials have criticized Kline's refusal to accept earmark spending, and we don't feel it is a responsible way to serve the 2nd District by neglecting constituents for Kline's principled stand against earmarks.
Although the earmark system may be flawed, we feel it currently provides needed projects to the 2nd District, like the ones Kline touted he returned to the district in 2005. The projects, totaling $16 million, included the design and construction of the Cedar Avenue Busway in Dakota County and a contribution toward reconstruction of the intersection at County Road 5 and Highway 13 in Burnsville.
Kline, who has served in Congress since 2003 and missed fewer than 1 percent of votes during that time, is an apparent good fit for the Republican-leaning 2nd District. He has gained re-election in 2004 and 2006 with 57 and 56 percent of the vote, respectively.
We applaud his service, but we feel it is time for new ideas and a new approach on behalf of constituents in the 2nd District. This editorial is a product of the ECM Editorial Board.