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GOP Candidates Vote Against WESA

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ortamnfaceA package of bills to help level the economic playing field for women is on its way to becoming law, thanks to Minnesota's progressive leadership.This is no thanks to the extreme conservatives running for statewide office. State Senators Julianne Ortman and Dave Thompson voted against the Women's Economic Security Act Wednesday, showing their truly conservative and twisted priorities.The Women's Economic Security Act will help women acquire non-traditional high paying jobs, provide increased sick leave, plus increased transparency in wage comparisons between workers.You could say this all makes sense, given women in Minnesota still earn just 80% of men. This is more shocking when you take into account the earnings lost over an entire career. Women lose approximately $500,000 in wages over a lifetime.But, State Senators Ortman and Thompson don't believe there's a problem. In fact, while debating the WESA, Ortman claimed that she supports equal pay. She just does't believe it's a problem anymore.Ortman writes:
"The current debate in Washington over the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act seems more a political ploy by Democrat lawmakers to distract attention away from Washington’s failing economic record than a needed reform."
Instead of working to help Minnesota families and women, Ortman continues fighting for big business. She voted against a more fair tax system asking the top 2% to pay their fair share, and she voted against raising the minimum wage for 350,000 working Minnesotans. Additionally, Ortman even bragged about shutting down state government to protect tax breaks for big business.Dave Thompson has some interesting views on the subject as well. In a blog post titled "Let's face it, boys are better than girls," Thompson uses pro golfer Annika Sorenstam as an example of women's ineptitude. He writes:
"As I submit this article, Annika Sorenstam is about thirty minutes from teeing off in the second round of the Bank of America Colonial golf tournament. She put up an “impressive” one over par 71 on Thursday. You might wonder why I put the word impressive in quotes. Well, because +1 in a PGA event is impressive only if you are an amateur or a girl."
Given these comments, it's not surprising Thompson voted against leveling the economic playing field for women. No wonder Minnesota women still earn less in the workplace with Republicans spreading views like this around.Thank goodness our progressive leaders are working to keep Thompson and Ortman's view of women back in the 1950s where it belongs. Welcome to 2014, candidates.
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MNGOP Legislators Tried to Pass Harsh Immigration Laws

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ALEC1Four years ago today, Governor Jan Brewer signed Arizona's harsh, controversial immigration law into effect. The law - SB 1070 - required police to arrest anyone who could not prove they entered the country legally when asked, among other provisions, making it one of the harshest immigration laws ever introduced. Critics like the ACLU claimed the law encouraged rampant racial profiling of folks who seem "foreign" based on how they look and sound.Over the next months and years, Republicans in the Minnesota legislature began attempting to pass similarly controversial immigration measures in Minnesota thanks to a shadowy corporate organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).ALEC is a corporate bill mill where corporate lobbyists and state legislators get together to write "model bills" that benefit big corporations. The state legislators who are ALEC members then introduce and pass these "model bills" in their states.Arizona's SB 1070 was one of those "model bills," a prime example of how the biggest corporations are able to write their own laws to benefit their bottom line. Corrections Corporation of America is the largest prison company in the country, and it sat at the table when SB 1070 was drafted.Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants could be locked up due to SB 1070, and you better believe that Corrections Corporation of America and other private prison companies stand to make millions off the law.Republicans in Minnesota began introducing their own bills modeled after SB 1070 soon after it passed in Arizona - banning cities and police departments from adopting policies designed to build trust with immigrant and refugee crime victims and witnesses, requiring law enforcement officers to record the country of citizenship and immigration status of felon arrestees, and requiring peace officers to report suspected immigration violations by felon arrestees.Not content with merely introducing pieces of ALEC's controversial SB 1070, GOP Rep. Steve Drazkowski introduced a straight up copy-cat bill that follows SB 1070 and ALEC's "model" anti-immigration bill. You can compare Rep. Drazkowski's bill word-for-word with SB 1070 here.Our progressive leaders were the only thing stopping these extreme conservative Republicans from actually passing a controversial anti-immigration law similar to Arizona's. Republicans have focused on helping their big, rich corporate friends at the expense of regular Minnesotans for years now. This is just one example of why it's so important to elect leaders who share our values: making sure our children get the 21st century education they need to succeed, fighting for the middle class, and ensuring that our seniors can retire with dignity.
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Tom Emmer's Extreme Record

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download_assetTom Emmer is now one step closer to becoming Minnesota's next Michele Bachmann. Last weekend, Emmer was endorsed as the Republican candidate in the 6th Congressional District race. Michele Bachmann, who announced a while ago she wasn't running for reelection, wholeheartedly endorsed and pledged to support Emmer as her successor.Emmer's not quite as well known as Bachmann, but his record is just as extreme. Around this time last year, Emmer had a radio show with another extreme conservative, Bob Davis. During a radio show in April 2013, Davis told the victims of the horrible Newtown massacre in Sandy Hook Connecticut to "go to hell."After Bob Davis offered up a weak non-apology for telling victims of a tragedy to go to hell, Tom Emmer claimed it was "beyond bad form" for the folks working on common-sense gun violence prevention measures to cite the Newtown massacre as evidence. City Pages writes:
So according to Tom Emmer's world view, it's "beyond bad form" for gun control advocates to cite those impacted by the Newtown shooting while making their case, but telling those who have recently lost loved ones during acts of senseless gun violence to "go to hell" is something to be appreciated? We just want to be clear.
Minnesota just raised the minimum wage for the first time since 2005, which also reminded me that when he was running for governor in 2010, Tom Emmer actually had the audacity to claim that waiters and waitresses make $100,000 a year as justification for cutting their wages.Emmer's claim was immediately debunked, as the median wage for the 45,000 servers in Minnesota is $9.36 an hour including tips, which means if they worked full time they would make a little over $19,000 a year. That's pretty far away from the $100,000 Tom Emmer thinks they make.These are just two examples of Tom Emmer's extreme record. He definitely seems to be following in Michele Bachmann's footsteps of false claims, outrageous statements, and extreme conservative views.
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Mike McFadden's "Philosophy" Continues to Evolve

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McFadden_titanicI wonder if the captain remembered to smile as the Titanic sank.Before his press conference earlier today, investment banker Mike McFadden's campaign team had only one piece of advice for him: Smile.  Maybe they should have advised him to simply level with voters, because what came next was a disaster of titanic proportions.It started innocently enough.  McFadden launched in to his latest attempt to hide from the issues with distraction and bombast.  When it came time for questions though, McFadden should have scrambled for the lifeboats.  But instead, he refused to give a straight answer to a single question; and his usual assault on the intelligence of Minnesota voters was full steam ahead.Voters that care about working families:Asked about raising the minimum wage, which has been opposed by most Republicans at the state and federal levels, McFadden again said it was “the wrong question.”Voters that care about women’s health:McFadden also refused to give a yes or no answer on whether he supports what’s called “personhood” legislation, which considers a fertilized egg to be a person from the moment of conception.Voters that care about gender discrimination in pay:He also refused to say whether he would have voted to block debate in the U.S. Senate on pay equity for women.And voters that just want to know where he stands before they vote for them:
Asked whether voters needed to know more specifics on his views, McFadden said: "I think they need to know my philosophy, how I think about things."
Okay, so maybe we owe him an apology.  We should have just been looking at McFadden's "philosophy" and how he thinks about things.  Which philosophy are we talking about, though?  Should we focus on the philosophy that he used to get rich by advising companies to lay off Minnesota workers?  Or maybe the philosophy that guided his common-sense approach to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, right up until he realized that the far-right GOP base disagreed with him and he flip flopped.  Or maybe we should take a step back and focus on his larger philosophy of communicating with voters.  Those same guiding principles that caused him to literally run away from a voter's question.Of course, this is all business as usual for investment banker Mike McFadden.  He started his campaign by telling Minnesotans:
“We’re going to build a detailed platform.”
He even went so far as to promise:
"A team of experts to come forward with details on health care."
It seems like the best those experts could come up with was reminding him to smile.  That might not be bad advice, but when it's all you want voters to know about you, you're certainly wrong for Minnesota
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Investment Banker McFadden: Specifics Don't Matter

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McFaddenIssuesInvestment banker Mike McFadden wants your vote for U.S. Senate, but he doesn't want to actually tell you what he believes.Yep, really.At a press conference today, reporters repeatedly asked McFadden straight forward questions on current policy issues. They waited for a simple "yes" or "no" answer from McFadden, but he never really answered any of their questions.When asked if he supported equal pay for equal work, McFadden said:
“I believe it is the wrong question… These are election-year tricks. It’s politics as usual.”
Gender discrimination in pay is just an election-year trick for politics as usual? That doesn't seem to add up with the recent studies showing women still earn less for equal work.When asked if he supported raising the minimum wage- something all Minnesota elected officials voted on this week and the U.S. Senate continues debating- McFadden again didn't give a real answer.MPR writes:
McFadden also declined to weigh in on legislative efforts this week to increase Minnesota’s minimum wage.
When pressed as to why he's not being more specific, McFadden responded that specifics aren't important.
“What I think is really important with politicians and with leaders [is] you understand their overriding philosophies — how do they make decisions? And so I’ve been very specific in this campaign as to how I make decisions.”
McFadden doesn't want to tell you what he believes, because as long as you understand how he makes decisions about his beliefs, his beliefs aren't important. But he would like to have your vote anyway.Sorry, Mike. That's not how it works.
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The GOP Doesn't Believe in the Gender Pay Gap

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The MNGOP Party just tweeted an article claiming that gender discrimination in pay doesn't exist.Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated view. Republicans across the country today regurgitated the same false talking point: the gender pay gap doesn't exist. Women don't earn just 77 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn.So if you have a conservative friend or coworker who has been talking your ear off about why you're wrong on gender discrimination in pay, here's what to tell them:Women earn less than men regardless of any other factors, including age, education, and occupation. Spoiler alert: the gender pay gap exists across all occupations and educational levels. Regardless of occupation, education, industry, marital status and other factors, women get paid less than men.Women earn less than men starting the moment they graduate. College-education women out of college for one year earned five percent less than college-educated men who had also been out of college for one year. The gender pay gap widens the longer women and men are in the workplace.Gender discrimination in pay is an institutional problem, not a circumstantial problem. Conservatives often claim that the gender pay gap--when they acknowledge it exists--can be explained by the act that women are dually focused on work and family. But the gender pay gap doesn't just exist at a certain point in women's careers (i.e. when they have kids).Women lose almost $500,000 in income, on average, throughout their career. On average, women earn $434,000 less over their career, with the pay gap widening as time goes on because raises are typically given as a percentage of current salary.Women earn less than men in all the highest paying occupations. Women earn less than men in all of the highest paying occupations, including physicians and surgeons, CEOs, lawyers, and computer and information systems managers.Differences in hours worked do not account for the entire gender wage gap. Starting salaries aren't impacted by differences in hours worked, and, in fact, research suggests that differences in hours worked accounts for a small part of gender discrimination in pay.Many women don't even know they're being discriminated against. Economists suspect that lack of good information about how much folks make partly drives gender discrimination in pay. Pay secrecy means some women may not even know they make less than their male colleagues, and may fear their employer might retaliate against them if they ask their colleagues how much they make.Pay inequality isn't just a "women's issue." Gender discrimination in pay may play out along gender lines, but it is a family issue, not a women's issue. 70% of minimum wage earners in Minnesota are women. Leveling the economic playing field for women will help Minnesota families not only survive, but thrive.
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Needing Help Doesn't Make You A Wild Animal

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Two years ago, a Republican state legislator repeated Rush Limbaugh talking points and compared low-income Minnesotans to wild animals. Rep. Mary Franson compared feeding folks on food stamps to feeding wild animals.This was not an accident or a slip of the tongue - Rep. Franson actually sat down and taped this as part of a legislative update for her constituents.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5eJIcoOWtMRep. Franson's comments were hurtful, wrong-headed and offensive to many Minnesotans. Needing a bit of help to get by in tough times does not mean you're a wild animal. In fact, no human should ever be called a wild animal.As Minnesotans, we believe in the golden rule: do to others as you would have them do. That means lending a helping hand to those less fortunate, not making a mockery of their struggles.Rep. Franson took down her legislative update video when she saw how many Minnesotans found it offensive, but refused to issue a video apology, even after we delivered letters to her office from over 2,500 Minnesotans demanding that she apologize.We need leaders who will stand up for low-income and middle class Minnesotans. Rep. Franson, Rush Limbaugh, and other conservative extremists who repeat these hurtful comments should be ashamed of themselves.
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GOP Extremists Host Fundraiser for McFadden

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McFaddenIssuesFor months, investment banker Mike McFadden has been dodging voters. Recently, he even ran away from a voter's question about his stance on an issue. That's right- ran away. Literally.But this week, McFadden is coming out of his shell for a big fundraising event. In Washington DC. With a bunch of GOP extremists.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is hosting the fundraiser along with 15 other past and present Republican Senators, including Norm Coleman.How extreme is this group? Well, these are the GOP extremists who shut down our federal government, voted to turn Medicare into a voucher system and worked to protect tax breaks for corporations outsourcing jobs.So, as you can tell from that list, this group doesn't have the best interest of middle-class workers in mind. McFadden would be just another peg in their wheel of conservative priorities that protect businesses and hurt the middle class.And this is the group McFadden is hanging out with instead of answering questions from Minnesotans. That is very, very wrong for Minnesota.
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We Don't Need Any More Cuts-Only Budgets

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pam myhra3Gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert wasn't in the legislature when Republican extremists shut down our government to protect tax breaks for big corporations. But he just chose one of those extremists as his running mate.By picking State Rep. Pam Myhra as his running mate, Seifert is basically endorsing the state government shutdown that put thousands of hard-working Minnesotans out of work.That's not even the worst part, though. Rep. Myhra actually said she preferred the 2011 Republican budget that Gov. Dayton vetoed because of its drastic and reckless budget cuts over the compromise budget that ended the state shutdown.Here's a quick look at the budget Seifert's running mate "preferred":
  • Deep cuts to Minnesota colleges - which would mean higher tuition for Minnesota students
  • Deep cuts to in-home care for aging Minnesotans, which would make it more expensive to keep aging seniors in their homes and force many into costly nursing homes
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts from Minnesota hospitals, which would have put tens of thousands of good-paying health care jobs at risk
  • Allowed big insurance companies to deny women health care coverage for mammograms, maternity care, and doctor-prescribed birth control
When Gov. Dayton vetoed the 2011 Republican budget, he explained to legislative Republicans that their all-cuts budget would balance the budget on the backs of regular Minnesotans.
I chose a balanced approach to our budget; one that includes both significant cuts, but asked the top two percent of Minnesotans to pay more to ensure our quality of life and the services millions of Minnesotans rely on...Instead, you chose to present me with an all-cuts approach, one that has serious consequences for Minnesotans, and that I do not believe is in line with our shared commitment to build a better Minnesota.
A Seifert-Myhra Administration would be nothing more than the same failed cuts-only approach Republicans have been trying for decades. We've seen that Minnesota has been on a rollercoaster of budget deficits for years, but under the leadership of Gov. Dayton and our progressive legislature we've managed to responsibly balance the state budget while investing in our shared priorities, like education and caring for our older relatives.We can't go back to the same old failed policies of the past. It's time to keep Minnesota moving forward and build on the progress we've already made.