On Monday, Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) and his Republican challenger Stewart Mills debated for what is likely to be their only face-to-face meeting before November’s election. The debate was a rematch of their 2014 race and covered many of the same themes — guns, social security and jobs.
This is the entire one hour debate along with a transcript that’s indexed so you can jump directly to specific questions that were asked of the two candidates.
There were a couple of notable clashes. On Medicare and Social Security Mills tried to walk back a statement he made in the 2014 debate that “all options were on the table,” something that Nolan interpreted as possibly privatizing the popular government programs.
“You wanna talk about disasters,” asked Nolan. “Turn our senior citizens’ hard-earned benefits y’know to those gamblers on Wall Street? Turn Medicare back over to the insurance industry? Both would be a disaster, there are ways to protect Social Security and Medicare. One would be to lift the cap on income! Remove the cap! And suddenly the system is good again.”
Mills said that was a lie. That he had reviewed the transcript of the 2014 debate and he had said it would need to be a bipartisan solution for social security. “So if you believe that yourself or members of your party would be in favor of a privatized system for Social Security, than that would be the only way that would be true. Other than that, it’s intellectually inconsistent to say that I’m for privatizing Social Security.”
The UpTake’s video shows that in 2014 Stewart Mills said
But also we have to be cognizant of those programs are going to reach insolvency in circa 2034. That’s in about twenty years. And after identifying the problem we have to come together on a bipartisan solution. Because we don’t need to do to Social Security and Medicaid what the Democrat party has done to America with Obamacare. It has to be both houses of Congress, both sides of the aisle. Putting all options on the table to make sure that we are able to make good on those promises to our seniors.
The two also tangled on guns. Mills attacked Nolan for supporting a ban on gun sales to people suspected of terrorism who are on a federal “no fly” list. Nolan said he couldn’t understand why anyone would support selling guns to someone who was “put on a list that says they are part of a group that wants to kill Americans.” Mills said he was against the ban because “bureaucrats” put people on the list and there wasn’t a way to get off of it if it was done in error. “I can’t figure out a way how anybody that would be erroneously put on other than a public uproar, or or the media causing a sensation over it?”
Nolan offered to show Mills how to get off the list after the debate.
Full transcript and captioned video
Discussion on medicare and social security.
Discussion on guns
Click on link to go to section
Opening Statements | Transportation Jobs in CD8 |National Debt | Pipelines & Energy Independence | Obamacare | Veterans And The VA | Rising Cost Of College Education | Gun Laws | Minimum Wage | Medicare And Social Security | Iran & Other Foreign Policy|Closing Statements
Transcript by Susan Maricle
MODERATOR-DAVID ROSS: Good day! And welcome to each of you. Our brothers and sisters from the Eighth Congressional District, I am David Ross, president of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber, the Duluth News Tribune, and the Playhouse Theater are partnering to bring you this candidate forum this morning. Our efforts today are fortified by the speak your peace civility project, offered by the Duluth-Superior community foundation. Representatives from the peace project are here to urge all of us in this theater to communicate in a respectful and effective way. We are fortunate to have Chuck Frederick, the talented editorial page editor of the Tribune, partner with me to moderate the discussion this morning. Chuck will share with us now how we will proceed with the rest of the forum.
MODERATOR-CHUCK FREDERICK: Thank you David very much, I appreciate the compliment. The purpose of the forum is twofold: the most important purpose, is to inform the electorate. We have very important decisions to make on November eighth, and our goal is to try and share as much information about the candidates and the issues as we can.
From the News-Tribune’s standpoint, there’s a second purpose. Our editorial board is here, and this forum will will contribute toward our endorsement decisions that we make. Ah I just want to welcome everyone who’s here in attendance, everyone watching online. Each of the candidates will be answering a series of questions that David and I will ask. There will be no questions taken from the audience this morning. The candidates will be given one minute to answer, our timekeeper is in the front row, and she’ll hold up signs that indicate how much time you gentlemen have left, and when your time is up. We’ll offer each of the candidates thirty-second rebuttals to the questions.
Ah we expect that we ask those in attendance please no outbursts, please silence your cell phones, please no signs, I don’t think anyone brought signs in, we probably caught you on the way in. Ah a few minutes ago we flipped a coin to determine who would speak first this morning, and to determine who would have the final say, at the end, the campaign of Mr. Mills won the coin flip, and chose to have the final word at the very end. So with that said, we’ll start things off with a one minute, one and a half minute, introduction, and Congressman Nolan we’ll start with you sir.
RICK NOLAN: Thank you Chuck. (clears throat) I’d like to begin by thanking the great Duluth News Tribune and the great Chamber of Commerce, best Chamber anywhere in the country. (laughter) Mr. Mills, and of course everybody here, and most importantly, the voters of the Eighth Congressional District. Who have given me the great honor and the great privilege to represent them in Washington D.C.
I’d like to begin with a little advice my father gave me: when he learned I was considering public service. He said, “Son, if you just do a couple of things, I’ll always be proud of ya.” He said, “Number one, be honest.” He said “Number two, work for the common good. For the workin men and women in this country. They want champions, they need champions, they deserve champions in Washington D.C.”
So I wake up every single day, planning what can my staff and I do for the people of Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District? To protect and to create good jobs, to protect Social Security, Medicare, people’s pensions, to protect and enhance the way of life that brought us to this Eighth Congressional District that we love so much. I’m proud of the fact that the work that we have done has been recognized nationally and locally. National groups recognizing me as one of the most respected members of the Congress for my integrity. And secondly, local groups as well as national groups recognizing my effectiveness. As Minnesota’s most effective member of Congress, the second most effective Democrat in Washington, and one of the 10 most effective Democrats in the country. I’m proud of that work, proud of that support, ask the voters to please consider me to allow to continue to go forward fighting for the people in the Eighth District of Minnesota. Thank you.
MOD: Thank you very much. Mr. Mills.
STUART MILLS: Thank you. Equally I would like to thank the Chamber, ah the Duluth Duluth News Tribune, Congressman Nolan and the audience for being here. But, elections are about choices. And we have a choice in front of us. And this choice is, who is best fit to represent our values, our ideals, and our priorities in Washington D.C.? Ah Congressman Nolan is F-rated by the National Rifle Association, Congressman Nolan voted for a carbon tax that would absolutely put our part of Minnesota out of business. The number one expense in iron mining, taconite production, and paper ah production, is energy. Also, 40% of everything that goes through the Port of Duluth is energy. It’s carbon. It’s eerily similar to Hillary Clinton’s; we’re gonna put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.
Also, Congressman Nolan supports Obamacare. Supports Obamacare as a great first step to a government-run single-payer system. Congressman Nolan has also voted in support of the Iranian nuclear deal. An Iranian nuclear deal, which now has funded terrorism. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism; the money we sent them now has proven to go to fund terrorists, and has put it, put Iran, on a glide path to nuclear weapon. Congressman Nolan also wants to close Guantanamo Bay. Ah we’re still at war, folks. Ah we should not be bringing those people here to our soil, or releasing them. The recidivism rate for Guantanamo Bay inmates is almost a third. And we, just last week, have found out two more have returned to terrorism. So there’s a difference between Congressman Nolan and myself. Positions matter. Philosophy matters.
MILLS: Well, no, you’re entirely right, and that was in my opening ah ah remarks. Ah jobs is absolutely huge, and it’s a huge part of ah our campaign, and the issues of making sure that we have a true “all of the above” energy policy, ah that includes pipelines. Certainly the lack of pipelines, whether it is the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline, or the Keystone XL pipeline, which has effectively been rerouted, ah I should say Keystone’s been killed, Enbridge has been rerouted around the state of Minnesota costing us millions of potential dollars in tax revenue.
Ah but no, jobs. We need an “all of the above” energy policy. Our part of Minnesota runs on energy. And we need to make sure that we have ah cheap clean affordable energy to make sure that we’re able to keep and ah build the paper-making jobs and the taconite-producing jobs that we have. And also make sure the Port of Duluth can remain viable. Because if 40% of everything goes through the Port of Duluth, is coal, is carbon, and we have ah Congressman Nolan voting in favor of a carbon tax, effectively if that was ever passed into law, it would put our part of Minnesota out of business.
MOD: Thank you. Representative Nolan, same question.
NOLAN: Yeah. Thank you for that very very good question. I I sought a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee because I know how important it is. In addition to the legislative work, amendments and bills that I’ve passed, more than virtually anybody else in the Congress, I’ve worked closely with the agencies, helped get 10 million dollars to build new docks here at the port. Ten, twelve million dollars to get new runways at the airport. Twelve, thirteen million dollars for new intermodal transportation system. A million and a half dollars to do a feasibility study to rebuild the locks at the Soo Narrows. That’s our access to the Great Lakes. And the St. Lawrence Sea Seaway. Vital. I’m proud of the fact that that mining executives in this ah region as well as steelworkers, miners, tradesmen have endorsed my campaign. They say “nobody has done more for mining in this entire nation than Rick Nolan.” In fact, ah the chairman of of Cliffs National Resources say, “It was Rick Nolan’s work that gave us the confidence to go ahead and put a thousand new miners back to work.” At Forbes. At Eveleth. At Babbitt. At Silver Bay. “It was Rick Nolan’s work,” he said, “That persuaded them to invest another 65 million dollars in new mining technology.”
I’m proud of the work that I’ve done, the success that we’ve had, and I wanna continue that work. And that’s why I ask for your support in this election contest.
MILLS: Well, when it comes to jobs, ah Congressman Nolan was re-elected in 2012. He went to Washington D.C. knowing that our mining communities and mining families face challenges. Ah rather than going right to work for them, he went on the Sunday morning shows and called for gun control. Ah telling us that we shouldn’t have semiautomatic rifles of a certain ah cosmetic composition and also have the government tell us how many bullets we could have in our gun.
Ah y’know that wasn’t his first choice. We had 2,000 laid-off iron miners before Congressman Nolan started the process of making sure that we had the countervailing terrorist that we needed so we had some breathing room. That was only one third of what we needed to do.
NOLAN: Ah well what what I said on CBS was, I didn’t need an assault rifle to shoot a duck. (audience laughs) And and I don’t. (audience applauds)
MOD: (silencing audience) Please.
NOLAN: So ah but but more importantly, Mr. Mills, y’know ah you constantly refer to me as a professional politician. I went to the International Trade Commission and testified more than any other member of Congress once this crisis started. I didn’t see you there. I went before Congress to expedite the proceedings, I I I didn’t see you there. I brought the president’s chief of staff out here to hear firsthand how devastating this was on our communities. I didn’t see you there. The work that I’ve done secured tariffs and duties as high as 500%. On cheap subsidized steel, we have seen a decline in it, we’ve seen an increase in ore prices, we have seen an increase in steel consumption, and steel use in this country, and we have put our mining back on track on the road to recovery. And that’s why there’s a thousand people
MILLS: I would like – I would make just three real quick rebuttal points. First of all, what you said is that assault rifles should be banned. You said that on the Sunday morning programs. It’s all over the internet. The second thing, you kept saying “You didn’t see me there, you didn’t see me there,” I wasn’t the elected representative. That’s an unfair attack –
NOLAN: Well, you know what? Ah, it’s not an unfair attack because I’ll tell you what. Most of the people testifying there were not politicians. They were not members of Congress. They were private sector businessmen, laborers, and community leaders. Who saw trouble, they saw something that needed to be done, and they wrote letters, they appeared, they gave testimony, and you were not there my friend.
MILLS: And (to MOD) let me ask one more question.
MILLS: No no, this is isn’t on guns
(MODS cross talk)
NOLAN: I thought this question was about -.
MILLS: This one is on on jobs. Ah you I talk to people over the Iron Range. There still is people getting pink slips. Over at Magnetation there’s a lot of people that have gotten their war notices. Ah the economy on the Iron Range is not improved, and the people that have been called back to work, some of that is due to the fact that a mine has closed down over in Michigan. So it isn’t a net gain.
MOD: Thank you Mr. Mills. We’ll move on next question.
MOD: Next question, I remind the audience again to please refrain from from clapping, from outbursts. Ah next question has to do with the national debt and annual deficits. Is spending in Washington out of control, as some are constantly claiming? Congressman Nolan we’ll begin with you.
NOLAN: Well ah the deficits that we have been witnessing are unsustainable. And ah there’s a lot of ways that that can be tackled. My opponent would suggest we give super millionaires and billionaires more tax breaks. Well, that only adds to the deficit. All the fact checkers have said that. That’s those are irrefutable facts. Secondly, we need to change our priorities in this country. One of my personal missions is to stop these endless wars. And this so-called nation-building abroad that is bankrupting this country and causing so many difficulties. It’s time that – and it’s so costly! In Treasury! And in blood. It’s time that we take that energy, take that money, and use it to start rebuilding America. And balancing our budget.
MOD: Okay Mr. Mills, on spending and debt?
MILLS: Well, first of all, ah our number one challenge is growing the economy. Right now the Obama presidency is competing for either the third or the fourth-worst economy in U.S. history. We have 1.25 economic (audience member interjects) hey, our economic growth last sec ah quarter was 1.25%. Before that it was 1.5%. That is not a growing economy. What we need to do is we need tax and regulatory reform – and I’m not talking about giveaways to Wall Street or multibillionaires – what I’m talking about is Main Street tax relief. And what I’m talking about is making sure we have a true “all of the above” energy policy to make sure that we can be competitive on the world stage.
So no, I am somebody that is for economic growth. Ah but we are not engaged in a cycle of economic growth right now. Nobody can say that we are. A matter of fact, we have the lowest workforce participation rate since the first time Congressman Nolan was in Congress back in the seventies. If if you want the Jimmy Carter years, we’re reliving them.
MOD: Congressman Nolan, thirty seconds if you’d like it.
NOLAN: Well (clears throat) y’know, the fact is, you referred to the work that I’d done on behalf of mining as a dog and pony show.
NOLAN: Don’t tell that to the thousand workers that just went back to work. No dog and pony show for them. That’s their livelihood, they couldn’t be more pleased, and to be sure, there’s a lot more work that needs to be done. I was on the phone last week with U.S. Steel, and talking about Granite City steel productions, talking about talking about Keewatin. And they’re keeping both of those, and they’re keeping that steel mill open, they’re keeping all the workers ready, because they like they see they like what they see happening, and they have plans, they have plans to open up Keetac and to reopen up the mill at at at Granite City for steel production. Ah like I said, everything is not perfect, but it’s all headin in the right direction. As a result of the work
MILLS: But people are getting pink slips.
NOLAN: my staff and I have done. Pardon?
MILLS: But people are still getting their pink slips. People are still unemployed.
NOLAN: Well, what’s happened ah y’know at Magnetation is something that ah and Essar Steel is something that’s different than what’s happening in the marketplace. That has to do with some business practices and ah the way that they run and manage those companies. All the indications for the future are good.
MILLS: The people I talk to are nervous ah if they are employed, and people that are unemployed are angry.
NOLAN: Well –
MOD: We must move on. And we will, to Mr. Mills, this is a question for you, related to energy. How can we repair and build pipelines in a way that is not environmentally controversial so we can attain energy independence?
MILLS: Well first of all, we have to start building pipelines. Ah shipping ah ah oil by rail is inefficient, it’s costly, and it’s dangerous. Pipelines are the best way to do that. We should have built the Keystone XL pipeline. Ah certainly the fact that ah the ah Congressman Nolan’s good friend Mark Dayton has given the Enbridge folks for the Sandpiper pipeline ah the runaround, and they finally just threw up their hands and pulled the pipe out, and they’re just gonna run it down around the state of ah Minnesota. And again, we’re losing tax revenue. Ah over in Aitkin County, if that was built, their school systems would have got three million dollars a year in tax revenue. Aitkin County needed that revenue. Ah. No. We should have been doing a lot more, we should have been proactive. But we have an administration that Congressman Nolan has been supportive of that has been no, no, time and time again. And it’s been holding back our economy.
MOD: Thank you. Representative Nolan.
NOLAN: Yep. And once again, I have I have championed pipelines. And I’ll tell ya why. I’ve looked at all the studies that have been done. And when you look at pipelines, and compare them to the safety and the health and the hazards and the risks associated with rail transportation, associated with truck transportation, they’re simply safer. We have a a 107-year-old wooden bridge up here over the Rainy River in the Voyageurs National Park, with oil trains lined up for miles! And we saw an incident where one of em went off the track, thank God it wasn’t an oil train. Ah they’re very very dangerous.
Having said that, there’s a lot we can do in pipeline safety. As a matter of fact, I sponsored the amendment to require U.S. steel to be used in all pipelines. Why? Well, because it’s a better quality steel. It is safer. And ah and quite frankly, it also enhances mining in Minnesota. U.S. Steel is one of the largest manufacturers of tubular steel goods. So ah I’m workin at every level, I support pipelines, we have lots of pipelines, they’re safer than the alternatives, they’re an integral part of our transportation network. And we have to continue to support it.
MOD: Mr. Mills, any final comments?
MILLS: Well, other than the fact that Congressman Nolan had said he’d been in favor of the Sandpiper Pipeline but didn’t like any of the routes that they had chosen ah to put it along. So finally, if they couldn’t have the route that they needed, where it ended up in the place, the terminal where it needed to be, ah they couldn’t afford, they didn’t want to build the pipeline because then they’d have to put on rail cars and then ship it to the final destination. And that’s one of the runarounds that they got where they finally gave up and just went straight around the state of Minnesota geographically.
MOD: Thank you. We’ll move in.
NOLAN: Well ah
MOD: Thirty seconds.
NOLAN: Yeah, thirty seconds. I know a little bit about the pipeline business. I was involved in the sixty million ah oil drilling venture in the Persian Gulf, I’ve sold tubular goods, and ah y’know the the the fact is that the oil companies wanna go the straightest line between two points. I’m a business guy, I understand that! But as a representative, your obligation is to take the safest route. It’s in the best interest of the people who will be affected by that. And oil companies and and and pipeline companies, they understand that. They rerouted some of the routes around some of the organic farms just south of here, in in Carlton County. There’s nothing wrong with a representative of the people saying “Look, this is not just about the shortest distance between two points. This is about what’s good for the public and what’s good for moving the goods that are being transported.”
MILLS: So they rerouted it around the entire state of Minnesota.
NOLAN: No no, they rerouted it around some organic farms just south of here. (audience laughs)
MILLS: I’m pretty sure they’re going right around the state of Minnesota. I’m pretty sure the Sandpiper Enbridge is not going through
MODs cross talk
MOD: Gentlemen, the Affordable Care Act is already come up, and I don’t have to tell either of you about the rising costs, the insurers we’re bailing out, but also on on the positive side, more people have insurance than ever before. Does the Affordable Care Act need to be replaced with something else, or how can it be improved? Representative Nolan, we begin with you.
NOLAN: Well I I I supported I think out of 60 attempts, to repeal the Affordable Care Act. All of which, by the way, came up under closed rules, with no opportunity to offer amendments and fix many of the things that need fixing in our healthcare system, quite frankly. I’ve supported it because it enabled 18 million people to get insurance that were unable to get insurance before. People with pre-existing conditions, people with children up to the age of 26, ah things in there that made sure that women were treated equally. All good stuff.
Is there more we can do? Oh, by all means. The free market solutions my opponent has advocated are the ones that are responsible for $800 WikiPens, or whatever they call them. A thousand percent increase on pharmaceutical prices. We need to make some changes. And we can start just by giving the government the authority to negotiate for pharmaceuticals. The Veterans does it, the Medicare administration does it. Most nations around the world do it, but no. The Republicans have opposed us on that at every step of the way in the Congress. Yes, there’s more that we can do. But there’s 17 million people that still need insurance. But we got insurance for 18 million people. I’m proud of that.
MOD: Mr. Mills?
MILLS: Ah Obamacare has been a disaster and has been a series of lies. Ah if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Everybody’s gonna save twenty-five hundred dollars. And everybody’s gonna be healthier. Lie, lie, and lie. A matter of fact, I call it the fifty-five-hundred-dollar lie because between copays, deductibles and ah premiums, people are paying about three thousand dollars more. The fifty-five-hundred-dollar lie.
Now we’ve had increases through MNsure, which are gonna be up to 67%. Now Congressman Nolan talked about the people that had been additionally insured. But when you have to go into high-cost plans with super high deductibles and copays, the people I talk to are afraid to use that insurance because the copays and the deductibles are so incredibly high, they can’t afford to do so with sick kids. Families are suffering because of it. Obamacare and MNsure is is to blame, and so you know what? Just having insurance doesn’t mean you have access to care. Because of Obamacare in the state of Minnesota, more people have less access to care than before it was implemented.
MOD: Thirty-second rebuttals, I know I’m gonna go out of order here, but Mr. Mills, let’s stay right with you. What would you replace it with? What’s the alternative?
MILLS: Well, first of all, he wanted to talk about the EpiPen. A Democrat senator’s daughter and ah that was basically an abuse of ah patent laws. Ah what they have done. That had nothing to do with the free market. But certainly I’m for ah ah solid social safety nets. I’ve always been for solid social safety nets such as MCHA, Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association. Due to Obamacare it went out of business. In 2014, the end of 2014. And if you had a pre-existing condition, you had reached your lifetime max or you couldn’t get insurance elsewhere, the state of Minnesota had a good, solid social safety net. On top of that, we have to have free market solutions. Buying and selling insurance across state lines, price transparency, so when you go to the doctor’s office, you actually know the price of the care you’re receiving. Ah making sure that we have tort reform, ah and then also, better utilization of health savings accounts. Y’know I actually ran a health plan, a self-insured ERISA plan for Mills Fleet Farm. Very very proud of it. Six thousand of our employees and their family members in a 34 million dollar plan. I lived this, I know it, and with the direction that Congressman Nolan wants to take us, to government-run single payer, would be an absolute disaster. It would be more expensive and we’d get even less.
MOD: Congressman Nolan, is what Mr. Mills proposing, would it work, or what has to happen next?
NOLAN: Well (clears throat), what Mr. Mills is doing in attacking the Affordable Care Act ah he’s ignoring the good things that it did. And he is attacking the things that it didn’t get around to fixing. So ah if you’re talking about what needs to be done in addition to the Affordable Care Act, ah there’s a point to to be heard there. And ah to be sure. We need to start negotiating for pharmaceutical prices. I quite frankly do favor a single-payer universal system, and your facts are just wrong. Every country that has employed it ah insures their people for less cost, and they get better outcomes. Medicare’s a good example. Costs three or four percent to administer Medicare. Ah the private sector, free market solution, everybody in this room’s got a different policy! Depending on your age and your medical condition and how many children you have – can you imagine the administrative complexity of a free market solution for 300 million people? All have a different plan? We’re spending 30% of our healthcare dollars on costly ah administrative procedures and insurance company executive profits and salaries. It’s gotta stop. We gotta fix it.
MOD: Thank you.
MILLS: I think I just heard Congressman Nolan say he was against individuality. And that’s against liberty.
NOLAN: I don’t think I said that. (audience laughs)
MILLS: But everybody should have the same plan? Everybody should have the exact same plan?
MILLS: Well, first of all I talk to a lot of veterans. And I’ll start out by saying very clearly and emphatically, I will never support anything that is not supported by the veterans service organizations themselves, or the veterans. But when I talk to folks, and again we have a disproportionately high number of veterans in Minnesota’s eighth Congressional District. About 58,000.
We don’t have a VA hospital here. We have Korean War veterans, and even some World War II veterans, that are forced to drive in the middle of winter, down icy roads, get up at 3:30 – four o’clock in the morning, get to their appointments down in the Minneapolis/St Paul VA. Ah, what they want, they want actual choice. Not choice where they have to call up and beg for it based on how far away they are ah from the the nearest VA. Or ah how long of a waiting time. They want a card – this is what they’re telling me – they want a card that gives them the same level of benefits that they can take anywhere. To any hospital, any clinic of their choosing. I’m talking about true ah VA choice that is entirely up to the veterans, where they get the same level of benefits and they can take it wherever they wanna go. And that’s what they’re asking for, that’s what they’re telling me, and that’s what I think we should give ‘em.
MOD: Thank you. Representative Nolan. Veterans.
NOLAN: Yeah, as as as far as I’m concerned, we have a very profound, ah sacred obligation to take care of our veterans. They stood up, they were willing to put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us. And we darn well better be there to serve and protect them when they return. I think the choice idea is a wonderfully good idea. I supported that. I’ve supported pay increases for our soldiers, I’ve supported increased benefits for our veterans, I will continue to do that, my staff and I every day go to work on behalf of the veterans. I see John Marshall here, earlier. When the Defense Department decided they were going to do away with funeral services at our veterans’ funerals, we stepped in and we turned that around to make sure that the honor guards were there for the men and women who served. Every day we help veterans get the benefits that they’d earned, that they’re entitled to, that they need. I I I get a sense we’re in quite agreement on the importance of our veterans and doing everything we can to serve and protect them in the way that they serve and protect us.
MOD: Thank you. Mr. Mills, any rebuttal?
MILLS: Ah, the only rebuttal is a simple one. There was the original, the first VA Accountability Act ah that would have made the people that work at the VA accountable. Accountable to the veterans they’re there to serve. Congressman Nolan voted against the first VA Accountability Act. He voted for a second VA Accountability Act that actually gave more protection to the people that were neglecting and abusing our veterans, the veterans themselves. Ah I don’t think Congressman Nolan has a voting record to support his rhetoric.
NOLAN: Well ah y’know we’ve had ah Civil Service protection system in this country for a long time. Ah to avoid partisan political jobs being handed out and given out throughout the country. Ah the simple truth is that twenty-six hundred VA employees have been fired! In the last couple of years for not doing their jobs. But if you’re gonna fire someone, you can’t go and fire a whistleblower, you can’t go and fire someone because you don’t like their politics, you can’t go and fire people who are doing a good job because you don’t like them. So yes, we are in agreement. Nobody, in any employment of the government, should be allowed to keep their job if they’re not doing their job and getting their job done. But I’m not about to dispense with ah y’know the protections that have been there that are not onerous. In fact twenty-six hundred VA employees have been fired in the last couple years, even with those protections that are there in place, and I’m gonna insist on keeping them for a number of reasons. Number one, is they’re good essential protections, number two, the VA employs more veterans than any other agency.of the federal government.
MOD: Representative Nolan.
NOLAN: And I don’t want someone firing veterans because they don’t like their look.
MOD: Thank you.
MOD: The student loan debts have skyrocketed, some are pushing for free college and selection. The question is, what can Washington do to provide equitable, quality public education for all, Congressman Nolan we’ll begin with you.
NOLAN: Well I support free four years of public education. I think that ah the money that we invest in education is the best money that our society or any society ever invests. Where does the money come from? Y’know I’ve been passionate about ending these wars of choice. Let’s take the war in Iraq. Three trillion dollars. For one of those trillion we could have graduated every kid in America from vocational or college debt free. For another of those trillion dollars, we talked about transportation. We could’ve rebuilt our bridges that are falling down. The roads that are crumbling. We could have rebuilt our infrastructure. For another one of those trillion dollars, you know what we could’ve done? We could’ve had some fun! You know we could’ve helped find a cure for cancer or alzheimer’s. We could’ve put a solar panel on everybody’s roof. But, be mindful of the fact we still have two trillion dollars going forward that we are obligated to. And that’s taking care of the veterans who served. But who lost arms, who lost legs, who who who suffered nerve damage, and and in some cases, brain damage. And that is something we ARE obligated to.
So it’s a matter of priorities, what’s important to you. To me, nation-building abroad where we’re not wanted and don’t belong, don’t know what we’re doing, is nowhere near as important as educating our children. Building our infrastructure. Finding a cure for cancer. Finding a cure for ah alzheimer’s. Ah finding alternative energies for this country and our future.
MOD: Mr. Mills.
MILLS: Well, I talk to a lot of young people that are in college, and a lot of people that are recently graduated. Ah they have a mountain of student debt ah and they’re not quite sure what they got for it other than a piece of paper. I am in for, I am in favor of a student’s bill of rights. A student’s bill of rights that when you enroll in a college, that when you enroll in a major, you are guaranteed those classes that you need to graduate within four years. That there’s no prerequisites, there’s no waiting list, there’s no jump through the hoops. And also, when you transfer from one college to another, you don’t lose credits. If you go from one accredited university or one accredited college, to another, you’re not losing ah credits in the process.
And almost more importantly than that is complete transparency on what that college spends their money on. Does the money go to professors? And I submit that it doesn’t. I don’t see professors driving Ferraris. But yet we have all these administrators and we have all these great buildings and all these other programs that don’t go into educating our children that they’re spending money on. The people that are taking out these huge student loans – first of all, they should be, college shouldn’t cost that much. And the way to rein it in is to make sure that people have price transparency, they know what they’re paying for and they can choose a college that has the best outcomes, for the least amount of money, we should make college much more competitive.
MOD: And Congressman Nolan, thirty second rebuttal.
NOLAN: Well (clears throat) y’know I don’t know what it was like in Florida, where you went to college, but I I can tell you this. When I went to the University of Minnesota, and working my way through by the way, ah roofin houses and working as a Teamster, United Parcel Service, you couldn’t always get in the class that you wanted, ah that’s just reality, ah it would be nice if everybody could have everything they wanted; but if you were patient you could finally get into the class. So, I don’t know what you’re talking about here. And then to suggest that any credit, anywhere, should be transferable? Anywhere? Credits from Trump University (audience laughs)
NOLAN: should be transferred to ah UMD and Scholastica and Superior Community College? That that that thought is ridiculous. It’s abhorrent.
MILLS: Well, what I did learn in business school was that if you’re gonna sell a product ah you should deliver on the product that you’re selling. So yeah, if you’re accepted into that major, you should be able to get into classes. And if you’re not able to get into classes that you have paid for, paid to get into that program, that’s fraud. And you know what? Ah I don’t think that that is right. Because I have seen student after student that a four-year college degree, takes five, five and a half years. And that just adds to the student debt. We need to streamline things to make sure that a four-year degree only lasts four years.
NOLAN: Let let let me tell you why it takes many kids five and six years to get through college, okay? When I was a kid, when I was a kid it cost one hour’s daily wages to pay for your college education. Today it takes 17 hours of daily wages to pay for your college education. My generation, we were able to work our way through college because our parents stepped up and financed our universities, and we could graduate from college debt free, and work our way through the university. That’s simply not possible today. Kids have to work longer, they have to work harder, they have to pay more for their education, and that is not good for them, it’s not good for our economy, it’s not good for our country, and we need to do the same for the future generation, what our generation did for us. Make a college technical education affordable so they can graduate debt-free and get fully engaged in the economic well being of our society.
MILLS: And you’re never gonna do that until you cut the cost of college.
MOD: We will move on. This question is for Mr. Mills.
MILLS: Oh thank you.
MILLS: Well, first of all ah let’s talk about Congressman Nolan’s most recent demonstration on the House floor. In which he took part of shutting down Congress for two days. I think it was on the twenty-second or the twenty-third. Shut down Congress for two days. To demonstrate against our Second Amendment rights. And they called it “no fly, no buy.” But we had terrorist attacks in Chattanooga, we had terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, and Orlando. None of those people were on the no fly list. It wouldn’t have ah prevented a single act of terrorist violence in the United States. Matter of fact, even ah France has some of the strictest gun control in the world. And there are terrorists over there. Seem to have no problems getting guns. Whether it’s a Charlie Hebdo attack or the Paris attack at the Bataclan.
Ah so we know that if we’re gonna really try to prevent terrorism, ah terrorist watch lists, no fly no buy legislation, doesn’t prevent it. All it would do is restrict our Second Amendment rights. Rather than having a terrorist watch list, and using that to restrict people’s Second Amendment rights, just arbitrarily, we don’t know who puts that on there, rather than having that terrorist watch list, why don’t we have a terrorist investigate list? Or better yet, a terrorist arrest list? Rather than abridging our Second Amendment rights?
And the other thing with no fly no buy, is that not only did it violate the Second Amendment, it violated the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment. It was entirely unconstitutional.
MOD: Thank you. Representative Nolan.
NOLAN: Well ah first of all ah I am at a loss to understand why anyone would want to allow someone who is on the terrorist watch list ah should be allowed to walk into any gun shop, legally or illegally, and buy all the guns and weapons that they want after they’ve already been put on a list that says they are part of a group that wants to kill Americans. Ah it it it it’s just beyond my comprehension. How someone – we have laws in this nation now that prohibit ah violent criminals from buying guns! Why should we have people dedicated to killing Americans not have to comply with the same requirements? That’s what that was all about. If if you’re not allowed to fly, you ought not be able to go in and buy guns. When you’ve been put on a list that says you belong to a group that wants to kill Americans.
MOD: Mr Mills.
MILLS: Well, the question is who is putting them on the list. We don’t know who is on the list, how to get on the list, how to get off the list, and what bureaucrat particularly is putting their name on the list. So solely by putting your name on the list, you lose your constitutional rights. We’ve had members of Congress, members of Senate, members of the media that have been on that list. And so rather than taking away our Second Amendment rights, if we know who has taken a vow to kill Americans, rather than taking away our rights, our God-given liberties, we should go investigate and arrest those people. Not disenfranchise these people out here.
NOLAN: Well ah first of all, I’ve always supported the Second Amendment, I always will. I was 19 or 20 before I had my first chicken and roast beef – we grew up on venison and duck and fish and wildlife – that’s that’s something that’s important to all of us, and I don’t know of anyone quite frankly who suggests that we do away with our Second Amendment rights.
Having said that, we have always had any one of a number of gun safety measures, one of which is not allowing violent criminals to go in and to buy guns. In my judgment we should put people who belong to groups that have proposed violence against American are not allowed to fly. And by the way, if someone does make a mistake getting on that list, and believe me, our intelligence people, they study these things very hard, very carefully, they are committed to providing safe protection for the American people. Ah they do their very best. Do they make an occasional mistake? Of course they do. But there’s a way to get off that list. And people that have been put on it accidentally because of names that are similar to someone, they get off the list.
MILLS: Congressman Nolan went way over time, I just want two quick points. First of all, Congressman Nolan is the only person I’ve ever met that says he’s for your Second Amendment but yet gets an F-rating, a failing grade, from the National Rifle Association. And they’re not a bunch of people in $2,000 suits. Cause I go to their banquets and they’re wearin Carhartts. That’s the first point. (audience murmurs) The second point is that you said there’s a way to get off that list. I hope somebody somewhere is able to educate the American public that if they ever find their name on that list, maybe you could put that on your Web site, how you get off the terrorist watch list if you’re, or the no fly no buy – or it should say the no fly list – if they’re ever on there. I – I can’t figure out a way how anybody that would be erroneously put on other than a public uproar, or or the media causing a sensation over it?
NOLAN: Well, my
MILLS: Is there a mechanism for it?
NOLAN: my staff and I would be glad to show you how to get off the list. (audience laughs)
MOD: We must move on. Please.
MILLS: No! Please! No! I will take that up – please put that on.
NOLAN: No, I’m serious.
MILLS: Put that on your Web site.
NOLAN: I’m not gonna sit down here and do it right now.
MILLS: But do you, do you know?
NOLAN: We’ve got a debate going on. But if you want to meet me out in the back afterwards here, I’ll show you how to get off the list.
MILLS: But you you you know the process?
MOD: Gentlemen, we must move on.
MILLS: ‘Cause I don’t.
NOLAN: Yeah. No.
MILLS: I’ve never heard of it.
NOLAN: Yeah, there is a process.
MOD: Please. Chuck? We’ll move on.
NOLAN: Well I I I support a an increase in the minimum wage. Again, you know, perspective is so important on all this stuff. It was so easy for my generation to go to college and get an education and enjoy the blessings and prosperity and opportunities that that flowed from that. They tell us that for the minimum wage today be what it was when I was a kid, it’d have to be like 16, 17 bucks an hour. So why shouldn’t we give to today’s generation the same blessings, the same benefits that my generation enjoyed? And the simple truth is, people who are making seven bucks an hour, you raise their salary to 15 bucks an hour, they’re not investing it in ah Wall Street. They’re spending it on Main Street. And so it it increases business all up and down Main Street. At the restaurants. At the hardware store. With the contractors. With the builders. With the tradesmen. It actually boosts the economy.
What’s happening in this country is the rich are getting richer in degrees unparalleled in human history. We need to look for and find ways to rebuild the middle class that became a model for the world. I’ve seen it in my international business. People wanted to become like us. We’re losing our way. We gotta get back to rebuilding this middle class, and in my judgment, one of the ways, one of many to start with, is by raising the minimum wage. To a living wage.
MOD: Mr. Mills, on minimum wage.
MILLS: Well, first of all we’re talking – ah the question was about the federal minimum wage.
MOD: That’s right.
MILLS: Um, you know what? There’s a different economy in New York City, there’s a different economy in Seattle, there’s a different economy in Los Angeles and Miami. Ah those economies don’t exist in our part of Minnesota. So I’m not saying I’m against a state minimum wage, I’m saying I’m against a federal minimum wage cause 15 an hour would put a lot of people out of business all over our part of Minnesota. You raise those wages to $15, and all of a sudden the the kid in a first-time job, he gets replaced with an automated ordering machine at McDonald’s. And that’s what happens. They get replaced by automation, and those young people, those first jobs and they’re designed to be stepping stone jobs. And if we’re talking about a minimum wage trying to be a living wage, that goes back to my point, that this is the worst economy, or third or fourth worst economy, of all time. What we need to be doing is talking about the maximum wage. Not the minimum wage. But a federal minimum wage would put a lot of people out of work in our part of Minnesota. And if there’s a state minimum wage, well that’s something that we have to look at based on our various economies all across our part of Minnesota. Ah but no, a federal minimum wage would be a disaster. State minimum wage –
MOD: Congressman Nolan, a thirty-second rebuttal, and I’d ask both candidates to please respect our time limits.
NOLAN: Well ah first of all, I saw some stats here just the other day that said that the increase in income for the average person went up almost four to five thousand dollars, the single largest increase ah in generations. So ah many people in our economy are doing well, those states those communities that have increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour are doing well. Ah to have each state with its own and different wage requirements ah creates unnecessary competition to the advantage or disadvantage of others. We are a diverse nation, but we are a nation. And it doesn’t matter where you grow up, where you live. If you go in and you put in an honest day’s labor, you should be able to be entitled to a living wage from that work. That’s what this is really all about. Respect for labor, and respect for the work that people do. And making sure they get paid for the work that they do.
MOD: Mr. Mills, final thirty seconds.
MILLS: Yeah. Ah and that’s really my really quick rebuttal. Ah y’know he talked about one nation—well, there’s something called the Bill of Rights, there’s something called the Tenth Amendment, ah that states have the right to set the minimum wage. And the federal government doing it is an unconstitutional overreach. That’s my response.
NOLAN: Well, the courts have ruled that it is constitutional, so I don’t know what you’re reading. but –
MILLS: I’ve read the actual Tenth Amendment. (audience reacts)
NOLAN: I’m not talking about the Tenth Amendment, I’m talking about the court’s interpretation of it. And they have interpreted it that a federal minimum wage is indeed legal and appropriate action for the federal government of the United States to take.
MILLS: And they’ve interpreted a lot of stuff very broadly. But it’s still written in the framework –
NOLAN: Well, that’s their job. (audience laughs) That’s their job.
MILLS: It’s still written in plain English.
MOD: Gentlemen, we will move on to another question. Thank you. And if the audience would please refrain from making noise, we’ll make more progress here. The question is related to Medicare and Social Security. With baby boomers enrolling at record levels, how can we sustain Medicare and Social Security? And this is for Mr. Mills.
MILLS: Oh, thank you. First of all, Obamacare has taken 716 billion dollars out of Medicare. And here’s what it means for the people of the Eighth Congressional District. We have 81,000 residents in the Eighth Congressional District that are enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Based on projections from when Obamacare was enacted, in 2017, they will have a 17% cut to their benefits, which will in essence be a $1,840 cut. One thousand, eight hundred and forty dollars cut to their benefits. The first thing we can do is to replace and repeal Obamacare. And return that 716 billion dollars back to Medicare where it belongs.
Ah the other part is that you know what? Ah we’ve made promises to our seniors, and a promise made is a promise kept. And we have to do everything we can to keep those promises.
MOD: Thank you. Representative Nolan.
NOLAN: (clears throat) Well ah first of all, Social Security, Medicare, two of the most important things this country has ever done to provide income security, healthcare, life longevity ah for the people who’ve worked so hard all their lives. And earned those benefits. The last time we debated this, on this issue, and the last stage, we didn’t talk about Obamacare, we talked about Social. Security and Medicare. And in response to that question, you said, “All options are on the table.” And that was in response to what you would do about Social Security and Medicare.
Now you’ve talked about some of the people I associate with, I notice you just had Paul Ryan out here to help you raise money, before that you had John Boehner out here. They are the chief advocates for privatizing Social Security! They wanna turn Social Security over Wall Street. You wanna talk about disasters? Turn our senior citizens’ hard-earned benefits y’know to those gamblers on Wall Street? Turn Medicare back over to the insurance industry? Both would be a disaster, there are ways to protect Social Security and Medicare. One would be to lift the cap on income! Remove the cap! And suddenly the system is good again.
Why, why are you and others ah taking ah two great programs that have lifted more people out of poverty, given them income security, given them the healthcare they need, why are you so anxious, when one of them is good for 20 years, the other is good for 30 years, according to the projections, why are you so anxious to turn this over to the Wall Street billionaire gamblers and to the insurance industry?
MOD: Mr. Mills.
NOLAN: These are earned benefits. These people are entitled to ‘em, and under my watch there is no way that they will ever be taken away from them or turned over to any Wall Street billionaires or insurance companies.
MILLS: Ah – Congressman Nolan – with all due respect – ah that’s a lie. Ah I sat right here on this stage and I watched that videotape several times. What I said, was that both houses of Congress, both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, not shunting it off to a Simpson-Bowles style committee, have to come together and put all their ideas on the table. Have to put all their cards on the table, have an honest discussion but the first condition I laid out, last time on this debate is that it be bi-partisan.
So if it’s a bipartisan solution, cause we can’t do for Social Security and Medicare what we did to the American people with Obamacare, it has to be bipartisan. I said that on this stage. So if you believe that yourself or members of your party would be in favor of a privatized system for Social Security, than that would be the only way that would be true. Other than that, it’s intellectually inconsistent to say that I’m for privatizing Social Security.
NOLAN: (clears throat) Well, I’ve read the transcript too, and you said all options are on the table –
MILLS: My first condition is bipartisan
NOLAN: You said all options are on the table
MILLS: as long as it’s bipartisan
NOLAN: and I don’t care if it’s bipartisan, nonpartisan, some weird partisanship. I am not about to privatize Social Security and Medicare. I don’t care where it comes from.
(audience begins to applaud)
MILLS: And you know what I’m for? I’m for open and honest dialogue that’s gonna fix the problem because I don’t know what numbers you’re looking at, but the CBO numbers looks at looks like Medicare could be insolvent, could be insolvent as soon as 2023. And depending on how we’re doing, it’s either 2034 or 2033 that ah ah ah Social Security is gonna be on the ropes or facing insolvency. So we have a bigger problem than just saying, kicking the can down the road, saying, “Oh, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, it’s not a problem. We can keep going on this course.” No, we we need to fix it now, but it has to be a bipartisan solution; yes, I am for an open and honest dialogue, and when I go to Washington D.C., I will reach across the aisle and work with Democrats to try to fix it.
MOD: We need to move on.
NOLAN: Well, you know I have
MOD: Another question we’re
MOD: very close here to the end of our forum. Sorry.
MOD: And and David, just for your information, I’m gonna skip ahead a little bit with due respect to the time.
NOLAN: Well, first of all the Iran nuclear deal was a victory for diplomacy. And without that deal, Iran was positioned to develop 12 nuclear weapons within a matter of a couple of weeks. They now no longer have that capacity. So we avoided a war, we avoided a conflict, we’ve assured that Iran will not have nuclear weapons going forward into the future, ah others have proposed that we do nothing. Ah ah other than perhaps have to use the military option, and get ourselves involved in another long, costly war in the Middle East. I’m proud of that accomplishment and what it’s accomplished. We avoided a war, and by the way, ah the military option is still on the table. If they cheat, if they don’t honor the terms of the agreement, that option is still there. But the good news is: we kept them from getting 12 nuclear weapons which threaten the survival of the world, not to mention ah another costly war in the Middle East.
MOD: Mr. Mills.
MILLS: Ah we had their hands behind their backs. Ah we the sanctions were working, ah they were squirming and that’s why they went to the negotiating table. Ah it was them that had to come to us. Otherwise, if they were really truly on the brink of a nuclear weapon, which I respectfully disagree with, Congressman Nolan, there’s no way that they would have come. We’ve played this game with North Korea, where we negotiate-negotiate-negotiate, and then finally they show up y’know after sanctions early for the nuclear weapon before. Iran is now on a glide path to nuclear weapons, they will be a nuclear threshold state, we have given them 150 billion dollars in ah in money – in hard assets – that it’s it’s fungible. It’s gonna go to fund terrorists, as a matter of fact, it’s already proven to go to fund terrorists; and then they had four American hostages. I’m gonna call them hostages. And we paid ransom. Nobody can say it wasn’t ransom. Four hundred million dollars that was flown in in 500 Euro notes, and it was a quid pro quo for those release, 500 Euro notes is what international drug traffickers and terrorists use to ah trade in their goods.
And so that’s what we’ve done. We have empowered Iran. And not only that, and we’ve talked about well, if they cheat, they have been cheating. Part of that agreement was them stopping testing ballistic missiles. Guess what: they’re testing ballistic missiles. They are a nuclear threshold state and they are already breaking that agreement.
MOD: Congressman Nolan.
NOLAN: Well part of the agreement ah they had to ah dispose of ah 98% of all of their nuclear-grade missile material. There’s unprecedented, which they have done. They had to pour concrete into their centrifuges. We have unprecedented ah ah inspections, including cameras, ah 24-7 at every one of their nuclear sites, and ah if in fact they do cheat, we’ll know! And we can then decide what we wanna do about it.
In the meantime, we didn’t give them 150 billion dollars! We didn’t give them a dime as a result of that agreement. That was money that the other six countries had been holding in their banks that belonged to the Iranians. And ah conversations with the secretary of state recently, so far, we’ve been able to count that they’ve gotten back three of those billion dollars. The only thing you’re right on is that the sanctions worked, we had them on their back, and we used every lever that we could to make sure that they would not have nuclear weapons. And I don’t know where you’re getting your information, I’ve sat in on the classified briefings. And there have been public statements to the effect that if we did not have this agreement, they were able to move forward in a matter of several weeks ah to develop 12, as many as 12, nuclear weapons.
MOD: Mr. Mills, you’re entitled to the final thirty seconds on this issue.
MILLS: Yeah – the inspection regimes are incomplete because they get to inspect, and self-report, a lot of their own facilities. And also ah the IAEA, and other regulatory bodies, have to give them notice before those inspections go forward and Iran is, continues to be a belligerent nation. They have not been brought into the fold. This deal has done nothing other than embolden them. And make us weaker.
NOLAN: Well, at the end of the day it’s all about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. Which not only threaten peace, but perhaps threaten our very survival here on Earth. I don’t know what’s going to happen 50 years from now; that’ll be for the next generation ah to decide. But I’m grateful for the fact that we have kept Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
MOD: We should be going to our concluding remarks. So if, I am not sure which order we should proceed with –
MOD: Ah Congressman Nolan will go first, and then Mr. Mills will have the final say.
MOD: We have two minutes each,
MOD: Two minutes each, yes.
MOD: for each of these gentlemen to share with us their concluding remarks. Representative Nolan.
NOLAN: Well again I want to thank everybody for participating here. I thank Mr. Mills, as was pointed out earlier, y’know this is this is an opportunity for people to see the difference between who we want to send to Washington D.C.
And ah I’d like to start with a, with a perspective that I recently briefly mentioned. Ah and that is, the last generation was an incredible generation in this country. Ah we doubled the life expectancy, created a middle class that was unparalleled, and became a model for the world, we saw liberties, prosperities and opportunities really for many in this country. Unparalleled anywhere in human history. And now we have ah new generation of politicians that wanna roll all that back. Y’know they want to roll back the policies that gave us water we can drink, air we can breathe. The economies that built this middle class. And ah the fact is, we’ve lost our way. We are seeing a situation where ah a powerful super millionaire, billionaire class ah is getting richer in degrees unparalleled in human history. As I said, the middle class is getting crushed. The great opportunities that we enjoyed ah in our generation are not being passed on to the next generation.
And that’s really what this election contest is all about. It’s who are you for? Do you want to change the political system that allowed the rich and the powerful to fix our politics and fix our economy for their benefit at the expense of the middle class? Do you wanna put an end to these trade deals that have moved so many of our jobs and our manufacturing overseas? Ah this is all about who you’re for. This is all about who you’re for. I hope I’ve made that clear who I’m for. The working men and women of this country. That’s why I’m here today. That’s why I ask for the continued support of the people of Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. So I can continue to go to Washington and work for them and be their champion. And represent their interests. And get this country back on track again. Thank you.
MOD: Thank you. Mr. Mills.
MILLS: I met my wife at the Nisswa Jaycees street dance. She was a divorced mother of three. And I learned from her that she had to, at wintertime, turn the thermostat down to sixty degrees in order to keep her monthly budget on track. I also learned that she had choices every week, of whether to go to the grocery store or whether to put fuel in her car. And as I go around our part of Minnesota, I’m hearing that story more and more and more. It’s the same story over and over again. Without a doubt.
We have people that are stuck in the middle. They’re trying so hard to get ahead, but they can’t. But they’re making too much to qualify for benefits, and they feel like they’re stuck in the middle and they’re getting hosed. And that’s almost almost universal. Whether it’s at a gate greet, whether it’s on Main Street, whether it’s talking to anybody anywhere, there is so much anger and frustration all over our part of Minnesota. And people are waking up. You can’t start to keep doing the same thing over and over and over again. And expect a different result. If nothing changes, nothing changes.
We have economically blighted towns. All throughout our part of Minnesota. We have an epidemic of drug abuse that’s quite literally killing our friends and neighbors, and our children’s friends. Something has to change. I would love to have the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. and represent you, to be a part of that change. I will fight for the people that are stuck in the middle and give them a pathway to get ahead. Thank you.
MOD: Thank you gentlemen, for this very civil and this very thoughtful conversation. (audience applauds). This concludes our program.