What are the most important issues to you this fall? As you consider your candidates for Congress, we urge you to think about your priorities and how they align with the candidates.
The APG-ECM Editorial Board identified four top federal issues for the 2022 election: Crime and public safety, climate change, election integrity and the economy. We feel these are critical concerns for all of us.
The threat of gun violence in any of our neighborhoods is real and random. Legislation passed earlier this year by Congress is a solid first step toward reasonable gun regulations. All current laws should be enforced. Clamping down on ghost weapons and passage of safe harbor laws is another.
Responding to the disquieting, possibly temporary, reversal of a longtime trend toward less crime must begin with fully staffing local police departments, many of which have struggled to recruit and retain officers.
Those who choose to pursue violent crimes, such as carjacking, need to be kept off the streets and properly processed by the judicial system. However, we also support holistic responses to crime, such as community-based prevention and intervention programs, especially involving juvenile offenders.
Climate change is having a profound impact on our planet. Action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions by reducing use of fossil fuels. We need to expand our use of wind, solar and other technologies, and we need to transition to transportation methods that do not require fossil fuel. Congress can continue to support diversification of energy sources.
We are concerned expansion of copper and nickel mining in northern Minnesota will have a negative impact on the Boundary Waters and the St. Louis River, even when meeting current state standards. We doubt mining can proceed without permanently damaging our watersheds. While we are concerned mining cannot be completed safely, we have compassion for communities that rely on these as job creators. We need to help those regions foster alternative employment opportunities.
Election integrity continues to be an important issue in the 2022 election. Close to 30% of Americans believe that the 2020 election was unfair. We agree with the majority, that Joe Biden was fairly elected president. No election-altering evidence has surfaced in two years showing voter fraud in any state.
Every election law causes trade-offs between opportunity and security. We strongly believe any reform of election laws should have bipartisan support. That said, we see more problems than benefits in requiring a photo I.D. from all voters. We support provisional ballots for people voting on Election Day, by which their vote would remain private, but would be set aside for seven days so that election officials can verify the voter’s address. We also support the continuation of state law requiring felons to complete their probation before their voting rights are restored. We cautiously support a so-called “motor voter” law by which citizens are automatically registered to vote when they renew their driver’s license or other government I.D.
Soaring food prices, workers shortages and supply chain issues affect everyone. Our governmental leaders need to address inflation and related issues head on – by controlling spending and targeting programs to help those hit the hardest. Spending more and taxing more is not the answer, and neither is cutting vital social programs. Finding middle ground is essential. Congress also must act quickly to eliminate the projected shortfall in Social Security and Medicare funding. Eliminating the cap on income subject to Social Security would be a solid first step. Reining in prescription drug costs is key to addressing some of Medicare’s issues. We believe the federal government can do more to ease supply chain issues, by streamlining transportation rules and regulations, by upgrading ports and improving conditions for drivers. Fostering manufacturing of key parts, such as semi-conductors, in the U.S. would be another key step.
As for the Federal Reserve, banking and price stability must take priority when we face massive economic disruptions such as those caused by the Great Recession and the COVID. Full employment remains important, but without banking and price stability, it can never be achieved.
Comparing our priorities to the candidates’ viewpoints is a definitive way to analyze and contrast those running for Congress. Relying on fact-based information is a much better way to choose a candidate than the harsh and often misleading television ads or volatile social media posts.
Understanding your own priorities will make you a much more informed and responsible voter.
— An editorial from the APG of East Central Minnesota Editorial Board. Reactions are welcome. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org.