Editor's Note: The Ellison Report offers a look at coverage of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who represents five Patch communities.
U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum wrote a "Dear Colleague" letter to other House members in hopes of blocking the Stillwater Bridge bill (H.R. 850) from being brought to the floor. The new bridge would replace the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge as the main traffic vein.
The bill, authored by presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, is a $700 million project, according to a Morning Take tip sheet. Ellison and McCollum argued in their letter that the project would increase direct government spending by $8 million with no off-set included and only benefit 18,000 commuters.
While there is almost universal consensus that the Stillwater Lift Bridge is obsolete and a headache for commuters, the St. Croix River below it is protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. In order to build a new bridge, Congress would need to authorize certain exemptions to the law.
Ellison and McCollum's letter pushes for legislators to come up with a more fiscally and environmentally responsible bill:
"House leadership should not allow such a controversial and fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation to come to the floor as a suspension bill."
Boisclair to Use Graphic Anti-Abortion Ads in Campaign
Ellison's newest challenger, , will use graphic anti-abortion ads as part of his campaign, according to a recent Star Tribune Article. The tactic is part of a national initiative of anti-abortion activists to oppose incumbent legistators.
Boisclair has the backing of Randall Terry, who will run against President Obama in 2012 and is the founder of Operation Rescue, an organization that gained fame for blocking abortion clinics across the country, the article said.
Terry admitted the ads were offensive, but also said in the interview that was the point:
"These images, by definition, are appalling, and they demand a response from the human soul ... We are getting a response—obviously, people are livid—and then people will recognize this is a grotesque injustice."
Ellison declined to comment on Boisclair's campaign or his tactics, however, he told the Star Tribune:
"I have always been a strong supporter of a woman's right to choose ... Women's rights and access to affordable health care are a high priority to me and to thousands of women and their families currently living in Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District."