Michael Cavlan: Who is Skip Sandman? And why environmentalists and other progressives should support his campaign.


Who is Skip Sandman and why environmentalists and other progressives should support his campaign.

This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.

Ray “Skip” Sandman is a Vietnam veteran and served two combat tours in that conflict. Skip is a respected elder in the Fond Du LacBand of Ojibwe. He is also the Green Party candidate running for Congress in the 8th Congressional District of Minnesota. He is the only Congressional candidate in this race that opposes the Polymet Sulfide Mining and the Enbridge XL Tar Sands running dirty oil through northern Minnesota. He appears to be the only real friend environmentalists have in this race. He can also safely be called the only candidate who is a friend of Mother Earth and serious about the global climate change crisis that all of us in humanity face.

At this point we need to take a look at his opponents. Stewart Mills, the Republican is pretty blatantly a friend of the wealthy elites in Minnesota and the United States. After all he comes directly from their ranks with his family ties to the owners of Fleet Farm. At first glance the incumbent, Congressman Rick Nolan appears to speak for ordinary working people but when we take a closer look we can see that this is in rhetoric only.

Both of these men fully support both the PolyMet Sulfide Mining and the Enbridge XL Tar Sands. There are claims that these will create much needed jobs in northern Minnesota but these jobs are few in number and only temporary. The contamination of these dirty industries will affect all the people of the northern Minnesota region and the health of an unknown number of people in Minnesota. When these industries fail, as they invariably will, it will be the people of Minnesota who will be forced to pay for the clean up while the corporate owners will abscond with their profits. At least if history is any indicator. Then we have the bigger issue of the critical need to get serious about honestly facing the potential global catastrophe we all face.

Some progressives will claim that Congressman Rick Nolan should be supported by progressives because of his support for the Move To Amend acts, attempting to get big corporate money out of politics. As well as his support for Single Payer Healthcare in the Congress.

However again upon closer analysis we can see a different picture emerging with Congressman Nolan’s rhetoric and his actions. Claiming to support a Move To Amend Bill which has zero chance of passing via the current Congress, while taking donations from big money groups who support PolyMet and the Enbridge corporations seems incongrious at best, if not downright dishonest at worst. The exact same thing can be made about supporting a symbolic Single Payer Bill, knowing that it cannot pass at the current time. These acts seem to be the acts of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Not to be trusted.

The very best way to get big corporate money out of electoral politics is to actively support candidates for office who do not accept any big corporate donor monies. This is the most logical and honest way to do so, at least from where I sit.

Getting big money out of politics is a very important reason to support Skip Sandman for Congress. However the central reason is much more compelling.

The Skip Sandman for Congress campaign is about much more than Skip Sandman. Skip is a demure, humble and soft spoken warrior for the planet but he is not alone. Skip is speaking for those of us who have been waging this battle to save the future of humanity for some time. He is known and respected in the northern Minnesota area. He has been getting something almost unheard of for a Green Party candidate in recent years. Favorable press in establishment media up north like the Duluth Tribune, as well as the local progressive, alternative media. Equally important and rare, Skip Sandman has actually been “allowed” to participate in debates in this race. So was Jesse Ventura and we seen the results of that in Minnesota.

The Skip Sandman for Congress campaign will also draw out people in the northern Minnesota area who would in all likelihood not vote at all if he were not running. People and communities who understand that in the final analysis neither of the two main corporate parties speak or act on their behalf. He is running and actually “splitting” the pro PolyMet, Sulfide Mining and Enbridge XL Tar Sands vote.

Put all this together and we can come to only one logical conclusion. Ray “Skip” Sandman could actually win this race. It is a win that we environmentalists and progressives so desperately need.

Which then leads to the central reason that environmentalists and progressives should whole heartedly support this campaign. This is not just about Skip Sandman and the 8th Congressional race of Minnesota. This is about the need for a greater movement in our nation. One that goes searing past symbolic rhetoric and those who speak it.

After all it has been the status quo that has gotten us teetering on the brink of uncontrolled global climate change and disaster. Let us boldly take that further small step towards creating a real, sustainable world.

There will be a fundraiser for Skip Sandman for Congress campaign in Minneapolis. It will be on Saturday October 25th 4-8 pm at the American Indian Center on 1530 East Franklin St in south Minneapolis.

This is not just about a political campaign for Skip Sandman. It is about the first faltering steps away from the brink and towards sanity. It is about who and what we are. Come join us as we sing, to paraphrase the famous Andrews Sisters

Mister Sandman, help us along. Help us save the planet as fast as you can.

That is why environmentalist and other progressives should know who Skip Sandman is and support him and his campaign.

Michael Cavlan RN was the Minnesota Green Party candidate for US Senate 2006.