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Gil's running on empty


Fri, Oct 20th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

If you take Gil Gutknecht's latest campaign ad at face value, immigration is the most important issue facing America on November 7. And Gil wants you to believe that Seņor Tim Walz is muy soft on border issues and illegal immigrants.

One would think that after 12 years as our Contractor With America, Mr. Gutknecht would be touting his many accomplishments as a six term representative, a mover and shaker on Capital Hill, guiding legislation past the maddening Beltway fixers. But when your bonafides include voting to give Congress' war powers to the President on Iraq, voting to support tax breaks for the über rich, and, voting to give additional tax credits to the oil companies, you don't want to approve that message.

So, plan on getting an earful of Gil's Bait & Switch rant on immigration until November 7, as it's reported that Gutknecht has $1 million in his treasure chest to throw around.

One political pundit told me, "Gutknecht has nothing to run on - he supports a lousy president; he claims to be a fiscal conservative, but voted to create the largest deficit in U.S. history; and he supports an unpopular war in Iraq. He's got to run on something, so he might as well run on immigration."

With Mark Kennedy's miserable showing for the senate, the Republicans are dumping another 100 grand into Gil's campaign. They are also bringing in Laura Bush next week to shore things up for the Gilster. A little dose of Diet Bush, they couldn't take the risk of bringing in the real thing, Stay the Course George.

Universal Health Care for Minnesota

Regardless of who wins the Governor's race or which party controls the Minnesota house and senate, universal health care needs to be given a fair hearing. The poster boy for everything that is wrong with the present system recently resigned under pressure as Chairman of Minnetonka based UnitedHealth Group. Dr. William McGuire, whose annual salary, including stock options, was in excess of $100 million in 2005, holds over $1 billion in company stock options. Now you know why your health premiums are out of this world.

Given the excesses of the insurance industry, and with employers no longer willing to bear the full brunt of covering the rising health care costs of their employees, it is time for state government to step up to the plate.

The Independence Party and their candidate for governor, Peter Hutchinson, have some good ideas for universal health coverage that focus on quality and cost. Hutchinson would require all Minnesotans to obtain basic health coverage while giving them the option of purchasing more extensive policies if they choose. The plan would also subsidize low-income residents so they can buy insurance.

The plan would reduce costs and improve quality by:

• imposing a state-wide indoor workplace smoking ban and increasing taxes on tobacco;

• cutting administrative costs;

• focusing on preventive care, and use of "best practices" in treating serious chronic diseases; and,

• providing financial incentives to Minnesotans who take care of their health.

While Hutchinson stands little chance of being elected, the next governor might want to create a non-partisan commission to come up with a universal health care plan for Minnesota. And Peter Hutchinson would be a good person to head this up.

Segway Kevin

Independent candidate for State Senate, Kevin Kelleher was in Preston the other day riding his Segway up and down the streets. Whether it generates votes remains to be seen, but looking at the faces of passerbys who may have seen the vehicle in operation for the first time, it was a unique way to get attention.

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