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Keith Ellison, Chris Fields Have Some Common Ground

Rep. Keith Ellison and Republican challenger Chris Fields actually agree on a few issues from the past week, disapproving of the National Defense Authorization Act and calling for an end to violence in north Minneapolis.

Rep. Keith Ellison and one of the Republican candidates in the Fifth District's November election tend to disagree on many issues—from deregulation of businesses to the effectiveness of social programs. But this past week, they've been in agreement on a couple issues. However, they strongly disagree about the controversial appointment of Richard Cordray.

The National Defense Authorization Act

On New Year's Eve Day, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, expanding the power and scope of the U.S. government to fight the "War on Terror." However, the president said he had reservations about key parts of the law. ABC News reports that this includes "a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge."

The legislation has drawn severe criticism from liberal groups, civil liberties groups, Democrats and even Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who called it “a slip into tyranny.” So it's not a surprise that there would be some commonality between the two candidates of different parties.

Both the House and Senate approved the NDAA in December, but Ellison voted against it, and last week pointed to the statement he released after his nay vote on Dec. 14.

Along with being against spending additional money on Afghanistan, Ellison said the bill threatens civil liberties, saying, "Everyone from the ACLU to the FBI has expressed concerns about the bill. By preventing the military from transferring detainees to U.S. prisons, the bill essentially ensures that Guantanamo Bay will never be closed."

, said in a statement to Patch that he agreed with Ellison, saying, "There is no way I would've ever voted for a bill that allows for the detention of Americans without due process."

However, Fields said Ellison could have gone further.

"Ellison is Co-Chair of the Progressive caucus," Fields said. "That caucus has 105 members whereas the Tea Party caucus has roughly 60. Ellison has the numbers to have a much bigger impact but he lacks focus and leadership." 

Ending the Violence in North Minneapolis

At the funeral service for a toddler struck and killed by a stray bullet in north Minneapolis on Dec. 26, 2011, Ellison, along with Governor Dayton, were in attendance and called for an end to the violence in north Minneapolis.

Fields, echoed Jan. 4 sentiments in a statement to Patch on Jan. 9, saying:

"It can not be another day or just a another sad turn of events.  If there was ever a reason for civil disobedience, this is it.  As a community we must speak with a resounding voice. Not just the people of Northside but all people." 

The Appointment of Richard Cordray to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Ellison and Fields hold very different views on the recess appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Rep. Keith Ellison took to Twitter last week to support President Barack Obama.

"Yep, Obama did good by recess appointing #Cordray to lead #CFPB," Ellison tweeted on Jan. 4.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Democrats saw Obama the move as "reinforcing one of his main re-election themes, which is that congressional Republicans want to thwart his every move," and Ellison expressed this in a Jan. 4 tweet:

"Rs blocked Richard Cordray’s appointment to lead CFPB b/c they object to consumer protections to rein in tricky, abusive practices."

However, in a statement to Patch, Fields said if this was President George W. Bush making a similar appointment, a politician like Ellison would "undoubtedly join in if not try to manufacture more outrage." He also said, "The agency will be nothing more than a bureaucratic nightmare that doesn't make anyone's daily life better but sucks billions out of the government. This new agency will give Washington lobbyists, lawyers and special interests another target to throw money at in hopes furthering there cause."

Forbes is reporting that under Cordray, the CFPD today began supervising non-banks such as student loan companies and mortgage servicers. Unlike Fields, Ellision has said he expects Cordray to make a real difference for Minnesotans.

Ellison tweeted on Jan. 4 that Cordray "means Minnesota will be protected from abuses by predatory lenders" because in the past, Cordray "pursued credit rating agencies who gave bad AAA ratings, sued scammers who bilked elderly, secured $700M+ from A.I.G."

Democrat Keith Ellison also faces Republican challengers , and Democrat in November's election.

Editor's Note: None of the three responded to Patch's request for comments. We welcome them to share their views on the above topics in the comments section below.

John January 10, 2012 at 05:06 AM
The people of Minneapolis are finally waking up, Ellison is out, Fields is in.
Kevin O'Donovan January 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM
The poisonous Dodd-Frank Bill and Obamacare both remove the oversight authority, and responsibility of Congress and give it to one unelected individual. We are a nation of law, with a system of checks and balances. When did we give the Congress the authority to unilaterally, and surreptitiously bypass the Constitution, and delegate their role to a Fascist Authority? This was done with good intentions, but is Fascist..Obama again exceeded his authority with his appointment of Cordray,who seems to be a good man. Congress was not in recess. The blatant hypocrisy of this administration and its disregard for Constitutional limits should outrage everyone, even the OWS movement, the Star Trib editorial staff, and lawyers like Ellison and Klobuchar. On the NDAA, we are at war with Savage Violent Islamists. Just as a citizen can freely renounce his U.S. citizenship, I would say that someone who takes up arms against this country has, de facto, done the same. Traitors should be tried in military courts quickly, and if found guilty, they should be promptly executed. If, for National Security reasons only, they would be detained for extended time without formal charges, there is a review process already in place to prevent abuses.
Ashley Lewis January 11, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Keith Ellison is my favorite congressman! We need more guys like him in congress. Idk much about this Fields guy, but I don't think he understands Minneapolis.
Chris Fields January 12, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Ashley, I like that the fact that you are engaged. I believe I do have a solid understanding of the issues that affect Minneapolis and its citizens. I'm not quite sure where the enthusiasm for Ellison comes from. We live in a district where the gap between minority and non-minority unemployment is at least the second worse in the country if not the worse. Oddly the only other place that maybe worse is Detroit where Keith is from. Additionally we live in a district where the achievement gap in education is the worse between minorities and non-minorities. Put simply if we had more guys in congress like him, more minority community would suffer. We need in congress people who are willing to work together to solve the real problems that real people face. Ellison has not made any progress. In fact we have went backwards. In saying that I am not saying he's at fault for the condition people find themselves in. I am saying that he has not made them better and in fact they have gotten worse since he's been in office. It's time for new leadership. The people deserve better.
Kevin O'Donovan January 13, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Perceptions, initiate preferences, which indicates performance. Ellison's perception of reality,our history, the government, the citizenry, and the threats to our national defense is not in line with a limited constitutional government. His assessment of both our national and international issues is deficient. It is extremely dangerous and provocative. I really don't to use like incendiary phrases, but how can you describe many of his associates as anything other than Islamist Fascist Savages? How can one describe many of his positions as anything other than either Socialist, Communist, or Fascist? I, based on his history, believe he is a National Security Risk. He and the Obamanation are putting this country in imminent danger, both militarily and financially. Their reckless disregard for truth, tradition, and the law is startling. He deserves our utmost scrutiny. He should be voted out of office, and maybe even indicted. His association with CAIR, its affiliated groups, and the anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan is suspicious at best. His constant divisiveness does nothing to ease racial mistrust, and promote harmony. We can do better.

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