Tuesday, August 14, 2007

LIVE BLOG: Rep. Ramstad on Centrism in the New Congress

I am sitting in the front row of the Cowles Auditorium awaiting Rep. Ramstad's take on "Life as a Centrist in the New Congress". I am by no means a live blogger at the level of my good friend and premier live blogger, Jeff Fecke. However, I will post a few snippets here during the event. I should have a more substantive post later in the afternoon, or tomorrow morning, as my domestic schedule warrants. Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Monitor is also covering the event. Also Eric Ostermeier at Smart Politics.

Skip Humphrey is here to to listen to the Congressman's delivery.

Larry Jacobs is giving the introductions and we are ready to go.

Congressman Ramstad:

Mental Health is clearly our number 1 health problems. He mentions that even when the GOP had control, and with 265 co sponsors (218 needed to pass). He only was able to get one hearing on his bill, and no votes.

Under Democratic control, the bill is now getting hearings and votes and will soon be before the full house.

It is still possible to work in a bipartisan and pragmatic way to get things done.

When the 35W bridge fell, political ranker came to s screeching halt. We were no longer Democrats and Republicans. We were Minnesotans!

Listing a variety of bi partisan proposals with their Democratic co authors displaying his commitment to work in this bi partisan way to provide for all.

More controversial, the International Family Planning bill co sponsored with Betty McCollum.

A glaring display if bipartisanship, including the Min Wage increase "which was long over due", were past during the first 100 hours with the assistance of about 60 Republicans.

It is wrong to politicize the stem cell issue and turn it into an abortion issue.

Direct negotiations for Medicare prescriptions and cutting interest rates on Student loans.

"So bipartisanship does happen in Congress"

When asked about the political cost of being a centrist, "You will never find members of our 'Tuesday Group' in leadership roles in Congress." The Tuesday groups is a group of moderate Republicans. There was some chuckles when he stated the Tuesday groups meeting for lunch on noon on Wednesdays. His first priority is voting his constituency, not his party.

"I have gotten many 'Love Letters' from the radicals who were against my votes. But I have found you don't have to look back when you know you have done the right thing."

All of us need to be reminded of HHH's guiding principle: The moral test of government os how we treat those in the dawn of life, the children, the twilight of light, the elderly, and the shadow of life, the sick and needy.

Congress and the President must work together in a bipartisan way because to much is at stake . . . we MUST govern from the center!"

We MUST change the tone in government in Washington!

Q -n- A
- - - -

What would the Ramstad of 1990 think of the Ramstad of 2007 -> Goverment exists to keep people safe. Gov't exists to provide services collectivly. Also to help people that can't help themselves. It is not about giving hand outs, but a help up!

Trade is not a zero sum game where there are winners and loosera, and also we have to remember that only five percent of the world's population live in the United States. we CAN'T be isolationists.

We must make the tax cuts permanent and fix the Alternative Minimum tax effecting 23 million people instead of the 200 or so it was designed for in its inception. In order to fund the new proposals we msut find offsets and not rely on ending the 2003 tax cuts.

What is your advice to moderate Republicans to take back their party?

There is room for diversity of opinion. We need to find common ground. My message is a messege of unity and the stronger both parties are the stronger we all are.

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