MinnesotaâÄôs 5th District has been represented exceptionally well lately. Congressman Keith Ellison recently decided to co-sponsor a bill that would hold interest rates on some student loans at 3.4 percent. Without the bill, they would double to 6.8 percent. Student debt is at record levels and student loans are almost impossible to discharge through bankruptcy; students need any help they can get.
As co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ellison also supports the Restore the American Dream for the 99 Percent Act. This bill would create jobs by hiring teachers, firefighters and construction workers directly. It would invest in badly needed infrastructure, cut defense spending and tax Wall Street and oil companies. It is encouraging to see our Congressman taking on special interests and doing the business of the people. Too often, politicians defend big donors and industries or their political allies while throwing their constituents under the bus. For example, Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar supported the PROTECT IP Act, which would benefit Hollywood and the recording industry at the expense of the public. We see it in efforts by our stateâÄôs Republicans to put civil rights to a popular vote by putting measures to ban gay marriage and make voting more difficult on the 2012 ballot.
Our stateâÄôs politicians could learn something from how Ellison does his job. He works honestly, courageously and in the interest of the people âÄî keeping down student loan interest rates is just the latest example. Other politicians, Republicans and Democrats, seem to have abandoned political courage and honesty as a relic of a bygone era. For politicians looking for a courageous and honest public servant to model themselves after, they need look no further than Ellison.