Voters express concern over outsourcing, health care costs, and Bachmann's absence
State Senator Tarryl Clark, candidate for Congress in the 6th Congressional District, was greeted by a packed room in Woodbury for her Main Street Forum on Thursday night, the first in a series of eight such forums Clark will hold across the district. Clark's opponent, incumbent Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, was invited to attend but declined the opportunity to interact with her constituents.
Moderating the forum was Wayne Simoneau, a former state legislator who served as a Commissioner of Employee Relations and Finance under both the Carlson and Ventura Administrations. After introducing Clark, she introduced herself to the crowd and described her upbringing, including her experience growing up in a military family.
"My younger brother was born while my dad was deployed to the Arctic Circle in the Navy. He returned home for just two days to meet my brother before being sent to the Cuban Missile Blockade. I understand firsthand how hard deployment is on families," said Clark.
A number of Woodbury residents shared their concerns and personal stories with Clark. With her 50th birthday coming up, Ann Marie Metzger, Woodbury, said that she and her husband are waiting for a letter from their health insurance company telling her that her insurance cost will go up 40%. Her husband got a similar letter on his 50th birthday. She told Clark she wanted someone in Congress who would fight for affordable health care.
"I think Washington can learn a lot from our successes here in Minnesota," said Clark.
Andrena Guines, a victim of outsourcing, explained that the entire IT department at her corporate job was outsourced. She now works as a consultant to a number of companies, and watches as more and more IT jobs are shipped overseas. She implored Clark to work to keep jobs in the U.S.
"My opponent, Congresswoman Bachmann, voted earlier this year to keep tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs. And just last week, she voted against a bill that will help stop outsourcing jobs to China," Clark said. "I would close tax loopholes that encourage outsourcing and use the revenue in part to support small businesses that create jobs here at home."
Despite being invited to attend eight town hall meetings and two debates in the 6th District, Bachmann has declined and is still only attending one debate in the district before Election Day. By contrast, Tom Emmer will have participated in 25 debates by Election Day.
"Thank you all for taking time to participate in the democracy that our founders envisioned. I wish Congresswoman Bachmann were willing to have an honest debate about the issues facing our country. I look forward to our series of face-to-face conversations with voters throughout the district, and am committed to showing up and listening as your Member of Congress," Clark concluded.