State Representative Keith Ellison is calling for renewal for our country. In announcing that he is running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat being vacated by 28 year incumbent, Martin Olav Sabo, Ellison said America must return to a “place where people’s labor is dignified and where people’s jobs are not outsourced.
Ellison, in tribute to Sabo, said “The great Martin Sabo served Minnesota and the nation for nearly fifty years, his last 25 years as a distinguished member of the United States Congress. His retirement announcement, however, should not be viewed as the end of an era, but instead the transfer of a trust to another generation who will advance his progressive, service-oriented work.”
“I can and will call our nation to a renewal of values around peace, working class prosperity, health care for all, and a clean safe environment, Ellison said.
Ellison, who is serving his second term as State Representative for Minnesota House of Representatives District 58B, said he envisions a nation where “war is not the first option when countries are facing international conflict.
“Some one must call us to peace,” Ellison said in an interview broadcast last Monday on KFAI and also presented Saturday on KMOJ on the Conversations With Al McFarlane public affairs broadcasts.
“Someone must say that there must be an immediate end to this conflict and a cut-off of funding for the Bush war machine,” he said.
“The war is not only taking Iraqi and American lives, but it is actually diverting resources away from vitally needed things in this country,” he said.
He said tuition support dollars have been consumed by the $9 billion a month cost of the Iraq war. The nation cannot provide health care for its citizens, Ellison said, because of the war machine.
America can’t afford the social safety net it promised its citizens because of the war, he said.
Our money should be directed toward creating a sustainable future, Ellison said.
Our nation has always had two faces, Ellison said. One is motivated by fear. The other, however, reflects the courage and conviction of those who stand tall, fighting for freedom and justice, “like Martin Sabo, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Martin Luther King.”
Ellison said he is laying claim to Minnesota’s progressive legacy. He recalled an appearance on a Conversations With Al McFarlane broadcast: “I drew inspiration from Martin Sabo. Sabo stood up for decency when the administration was trying to privatize Social Security. And he has stood up for environmental justice,” Ellison said.
Ellison said the war is number one issue facing the nation today, but environmental justice is the long term number 1 issue. How we live now is not sustainable, he said. “We are poisoning our world and warming it up.” Our concern for the environment is “not about saving exotic species. It is about saving our selves. It is about saving the inner city by reclaiming brownfields. We have to make energy in a clean, green way to assure the long term survival of our species.”
Ellison said his campaign will focus on bridge building, not on the wedge issues Republicans use to drive people apart. “People have much more in common that they share than what divides them.
For instance, he said, the Conservatives separate people who truly believe in what Jesus said: ‘feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless’, by ignoring those commandments while claiming to follow Bible passages which they use to justify asking the government to play matchmaker.
“The government has no business picking who marries who,” Ellison said. “This is a wedge issue. They use it to divide people who want social justice, and who want to do what Jesus commanded, forcing them to choose one part of the Bible over another.”
The real issue is that we are consuming resources that are finite. What we need is an advocate for transit, smart growth, rebuilding the inner city so that people want to be there, and can be comfortable there. We say faith is personal and public.” He said people should be free to believe however they choose to believe, but shouldn’t push their beliefs on other people.
The Conservatives, he said, would have us believe immigrants are the reason for stagnation in the economy. This is fear mongering. There is enough for all of us if we use our resources wisely.”
“It is simply not enough to send someone to Washington who will vote for the right things. America needs, and Minnesota sends, men and women to Washington to lead. These times demand people to build bridges, not push wedges. I will speak for a united America around shared rewards and responsibilities,” he said.