Rivals Davis, Walz talk politics
WORTHINGTON -- As a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Brian Davis couldn't help but comment on the symbolism between inviting the Democratic incumbent and the Republican challenger to share the stage as the 2008 King Turkey Day speakers, while two turkeys -- Worthington's Paycheck and the Cuero, Texas, bird Ruby Begonia -- prepared to face off in the first heat of the Great Gobbler Gallop.
Davis is challenging incumbent Tim Walz in the Nov. 4 election for the 1st Congressional District seat.
A self-declared fiscal conservative, Davis said he decided in early 2007 to seek office, saying, "I'm concerned about the direction Congress and this country is going."
A physician and father of four, Davis said the nation faces a big problem in healthcare. He spoke of the need for transparency and uniformity, and in opposition to the government telling people who their healthcare providers will be.
"There's too many bureaucrats trying to tell us how to run healthcare," he said.
Davis also cited concerns with energy and, as his supporters held up signs that declared, "Drill here, Drill now," he said Congress needs to grant off-shore drilling to reduce the nation's energy costs.
"I think that the simplest solution is to let the moratorium (on off-shore drilling) expire," he said.
Walz, nearing the end of his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke of the work he helped accomplish and the work yet to be done, while admitting he's "as frustrated as you" when things don't move forward.
"If we lose faith in City Hall, if we lose faith in St. Paul, if we lose faith in Washington, we're saying we lose faith in this great democracy," Walz said. "It's our responsibility to rise up and move this country forward."
Walz spoke of the bi-partisan farm bill passed by Congress and the Senate this year, as well as the "first sweeping GI bill since 1944 to care for our veterans.
"It's our moral responsibility and a national security responsibility -- take care of them and they'll take care of us," he said.
During his first term in office, Walz said Congress also passed legislation to fund rural water projects, including both the Red Rock Rural Water system and the Lewis and Clark pipeline.
As for energy, Walz said, "Partisan statements that don't coincide with fact hamper us from getting solutions. We're working on a bipartisan bill that allows us to drill in our off-shore areas responsibly -- not all of them, some of them."
Walz said he wants to take the royalties earned from offshore drilling and invest a trillion dollars in renewable energy -- from wind turbines to biofuels.
"When it comes to energy, this nation can do it. We can use the resources we have here," he said.
"The best ideas don't come from the democrats, and they don't come from the republicans -- they come from the American public who puts partisanship second and solutions first," Walz continued. "This nation can solve those problems, this nation can lead and this nation can do what every other generation has done before -- leave this country better than the way they found it."