The Rochester Post Bulletin reports on Congressman Walz's visit to the HESS project yesterday in Walz-supported bill would fund promising Rochester-based energy system:
. . .At a macro-level, if the vision behind this research becomes reality, America could find itself less dependent on fossil fuels to generate electricity. At the individual level, it could mean a home heating bill for the average consumer reduced by two-thirds, said Hal Ottesen, a professor at the University of Minnesota-Rochester. . .
. . .A bill supported by U.S. Rep. Tim Walz would free up more money for such research. It would do so by opening up more offshore areas to oil and gas exploration and using royalties from increased drilling to fund research like the HESS project.
"We're not talking about leaving fossil fuels tomorrow," Walz said at a press conference Friday in the shed-like annex where the HESS project has been conducted. "What we're talking about is making sure we shrink that dependence on those fossil fuels by coming up with alternatives.". . .
When the bill's supporters talk about supporting conservation, this is the sort of projects they mean. Conservation isn't simply a matter of carpooling or making sure the house is sealed up for winter, but also seeking better, more efficient ways to use energy. From what we've read about the HESS research, it would help both the consumer and the society.
We've posted a photo we requested from the Walz congressional office of the congressman's visit. Readers can learn more about the HESS project and H.R. 6709 here.
The Post Bulletin also takes a close look at Walz's tax legislation in Walz tax cuts geared to help middle, lower classes. It's definitely worth the read.
Perhaps the most entertaining bit comes just after Senator Day himself suggests a different approach. Rather than addressing tax policy, the Davis campaign bites down harder on the one talking point the NRCC stuck in its mouth. From the PB article:
Brad Biers, campaign manager for fellow Republican challenger Brian Davis of Rochester, similarly said Walz's bill does not address the top issues facing middle class constituents, namely high gas and food prices. (Walz separately joined a bipartisan group in the House behind an energy bill that would expand oil drilling along the outer continental shelf, but rules out drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge).
Yep, folks, there are issues other than just those dealing with gas prices. Amazing how that's common knowledge for everybody except Brian Davis, who couldn't even answer a yes-or-no question about the Farm Bill at Farmfest. Maybe Davis and his minions will read the article about Congressman Walz's visit to HESS and be prompted to actually understand the comprehensive energy policy direction proposed in H.R. 6709.
The Mankato Free Press gives a thumbs up to the political forums at Farmfest. The editorial specifically mentions the senate debate, but concludes generally:
Including political debates and other forums at Farmfest gives those who attend a well-rounded experience and highlights that agriculture is still a key part of southern Minnesota.
A writer at the WSJ whines about how the Senate version of the bill, proposed by the bipartisan "Gang of Ten," takes the issue off the table for the Republican campaigns. Um, Kim, take a deep breath: the work in both groups in the senate and the house is aimed at coming up with a solution, as the National Association of Manufacturers recently noted. The Senators and Representatives who are working on this aren't hoping to get the issue off the table. They aim to solve it--regardless of the electoral goals of their parties' leadership.
What's more, her argument that drilling in ANWR has to be on the table must come as a shock for Third District Republican Erik Paulsen, running in a toss-up race. Paulsen, like DFLer Ashwin Madia, opposes drilling in ANWR. Sullivan's column is a textbook example of a writer who has lost the ability to distinguish between campaigns and policy making.
The average person we've talked to isn't impressed by the preservation of talking points for one side or the other. They just want some stability in prices. And as an old political hand (and friend) recently observed, when campaigns whine about proposed legislation being a "sham" or "political," it means they got nothing.
The wind industry is growing; its annual convention is now too big for Minnesota's space, accroding to the Strib article Wind power convention outgrows Minneapolis. They may end up in Orlando or Las Vegas. No telling.
Kenneth Hamilton writes the Owatonna People's Press to say Walz works hard for the middle class. The letter mentions the tax bill and 6709.
A letter writer to the Mankato Free Press says the Clean water act needs support. She makes a reasonable case, but Congressman Walz opposes the bill because of the concerns farmers and other constituents have brought to him.
The Winona Daily News reports Walz nervous about TRW’s future, jobs. As we noted yesterday, the coming lay-offs at TRW flared in a spat between Senate rivals Al Franken and Norm Coleman. While Walz is working to get TAA funding for the TRW workers whose jobs are heading to Mexico, he's also looking at the larger picture of policies that encourage shipping American job to other countries.
WDN staff writer Mark Sommerhauser writes:
Ann Schaub says her bosses at Winona’s TRW Automotive plant gave her and other employees a directive earlier this year: Increase your production, and your jobs should be safe.
So Schaub and other workers rolled up their sleeves and set records for production, said Ben Hovell, spokesman for United Auto Workers at the plant.
The workers’ reward? Pink slips for 66 employees so far, with another 16 layoffs expected in the coming months, Hovell said. Schaub is one of the employees now out of work.
“To this company, you’re like a number, a face. And when they need profits higher, you’re a nobody,” Schaub said.
On Friday, Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Minn., said he is “nervous” about the prospect of keeping the remaining jobs at the plant after conversing with TRW corporate leaders. Walz also said the layoffs — reportedly part of a shift of TRW manufacturing jobs to Mexico — underscores the need for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The extent of TRW layoffs in Southeastern Minnesota:
TRW, a leading global auto-parts maker, has repeatedly declined to comment on the layoffs. Company officials have spoken with Walz, but the lawmaker said TRW officials wouldn’t tell him if more layoffs are planned at the Winona facility, which employs nearly 700.
TRW also employs nearly 300 workers at facilities in Galesville and Ettrick, Wis., but eliminated nearly 200 jobs when it closed its Rushford, Minn., plant in 2006.
The article looks at Walz's concerns about the triumph of free trade over fair trade, then covers those short-term measures he and other federal and state lawmakers are pursuing. Winona's state senator is on the job:
. . .About a week earlier, state Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona, requested the same aid, which would offer income assistance payments to workers who pursue retraining after their unemployment expires.
Ropes said global corporations like TRW must react to economic conditions, but also must weigh the social and environmental repercussions of its actions.
“The parent company has an enormous ethical responsibility to its workers to be doing the right thing,” Ropes said.
The union will hold a press conference on Monday about the lay-offs, followed by a town hall meeting, according to a press release we received from the UAW Local #958:
United Autoworkers Union Local #958 President Ben Hovell will hold a press conference on Monday, August 11, 2008 at 3:30 pm, at the Winona Education Association office at 1201 Gilmore Avenue in Winona, concerning the recent lay-offs at TRW in Winona and the out-sourcing of some of the jobs to Mexico. Following the press conference, the local union will hold a Town Hall meeting hosted by State Senator Sharon Erickson Ropes. Community leaders will be at the Town Hall meeting to discuss the impact of the job losses to our community and the community response. The town hall meeting is open to the public.
Also in attendance will be Alicia Ranney, Coordinator for the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition, to discuss the impact that Free Trade Agreements are having on our communities.
Representatives from local government and non-profit organizations have also been invited to discuss both short-term and long-term aid that may be available to workers and their families.
That town hall forum should prove interesting. Those who are able and interested should attend. Winona Radio reports TRW layoffs-Federal help.
The Post Bulletin has published a letter from Shane Baker praising how Coleman, Klobuchar and Walz show compassion for AIDS victims through their leadership in continuing and expanding the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief.
For all the woe in the papers, it's a beautiful morning out here on the prairie after an early thunderstorm. Just after dawn, we spotted two cottontails playing in our backyard just as a rainbow shimmered in the southwestern sky. Naturally, we thought about a divine promise in an old book, followed immediately by a recollection of this happy song from our younger days.