Chris Fields says he unites, Ellison divides
By Dwight Hobbes
Keith Ellison, the charismatic and hugely popular congressional representative of Minnesota’s Fifth District, is confronted by a credible challenger in Chris Fields, who in April got the Republican Party nomination with upwards of 75 percent of the vote on the first ballot. Which is interesting, considering Fields is a political rookie.
He made a good impression to say the least, and states on his behalf, “My time as a United States Marine gives me [strong] experience in federal government. Since I haven’t had a long career in politics, I don’t owe anyone, especially special interests groups, anything.”
His assertion is that he stands as an authentically independent voice, one who sides “with the people of this district. Minnesotans want a representative who [shares] their experiences and possesses the leadership skills.”
Raised in South Bronx, N.Y. and going on to Bronx Regional High School, which he left as valedictorian, Chris Fields eventually enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. “I finished College Park University, graduating magna cum laude. Experience gives me [an informed] view of challenges facing the world.”
Fields adds, “Having survived a tough inner-city upbringing, I have certainly shared many of the struggles people in our district experience today. My 21-year career as United States Marine [gives] me real experience with the federal government and a first-hand look at what works and doesn’t work in government. My experience and professional career prepare me to successfully represent the Fifth Congressional District.”
Chris Fields (CF) gave the MSR a telephone interview to discuss his campaign and qualifications to represent Minnesota’s Fifth District.
MSR: What do you think about voter IDs?
CF: Practically speaking, it makes sense. If you look at Gore versus Bush, or Bush versus Gore down in Florida, were ballots cast that shouldn’t have been cast? In Minnesota, here, we’ve got a history of some districts, some precincts having more votes than voters.
It is insulting, the argument that people can’t get IDs. [It contends that] seniors, veterans are not smart enough, resourceful enough, to [acquire] a printed photo ID. That’s a real insult, especially on the Democratic side. You can help me register to vote, but you can’t help me get an ID?
MSR: What should happen with regard to taxes?
CF: It is a two-pronged situation. Taxes help us bring in the revenue that we need, but before you can get there, you have to determine with the need is. This affair with the GSA [General Services Administration], these guys throwing $863,000 around, wearing Armani suits, taking videos of clowns, there is waste in the government.
Is it a whole lot? We don’t know that, because they rarely get audited to that level of scrutiny. There is whole lot of money that the federal government spends that is wasteful. They duplicate efforts a number of different ways. We can do better.
So, first we need to clean up federal spending. Find out what programs work and don’t work, and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t work. Bring the stuff back down to the state and local level that should be there, because they can do a better job than the federal government. Then, we’ll have a new number of how much money is needed for the federal government. And you just blow up the 72,000-page tax code and start all over again.
MSR: Should Minnesota have an amendment to ban same sex marriage?
CF: That’s not my deal. I got good friends on both sides of that issue. That is [up to] voters’ conscience. People have to make up their own minds when they get in that booth. I’m not about dividing people.
MSR: What is the future of affirmative action?
CF: In 2050 there’ll be a 51 percent minority population. Does a 51 percent minority population need affirmative action? This issue for me has not been about affirmative action. The issue is having effective people in place.
MSR: Why should people vote for Chris Fields?
CF: Because it’s an opportunity to reset the whole political system. We have a political culture that uses race, the politics of victimhood or class warfare to achieve and retain power. Keith [Ellison] has been a divider, someone that is so far away from what has been happening to people in [the Twin Cities] it is almost laughable when he says he represents them.
The fact is, he’s not getting anything done. We have 20 percent unemployment among African Americans in Minneapolis according to Mayor Rybak. In our Twin Cities, we have the largest unemployment gap between Black and White in the entire country. That should not be in the age of Obama and with a representative like Ellison.
The urban core has been left to decay. Black Americans have become an inconvenient truth. No one’s paying attention to our needs. It is time for that to change.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.