For years, Minnesota’s Second District was represented by the “Gregarious Grandpa” John Kline … albeit with some complaints from a certain segment of the Republican Party (can’t forget when he got booed at a CD2 event as it was reported that “there was a good amount of people sitting down out of disapproval of some of his voting record”.
So when Congressman Kline announced his retirement, that seemed to be the perfect opening for a true Libertarian candidate, so it was that Jason Lewis opted to meander down from his comfy surrounds of his Fourth District abode to put his name in as a candidate for the Second District … after all, everyone knew Jason Lewis — the author of “Power Divided is Power Checked: the Argument for States’ Rights” in which he expressed his belief that from religion to education to crime and punishment–fell squarely under the power of the states and not the federal government.
And Jason Lewis was able to get the endorsement of defacto leader of the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party — Rand Paul who sent out a plea of support “Jason Lewis might be Minnesota nice but he will be a fighter against the overreaching hand of government in Washington”
And if Washington had one overreaching arm they worried the most about it was education.
Let us remember that there are many Members of Congress who believe the Federal role in education should be rescinded (as attested by their response to a Campaign for Liberty candidate survey including current Members, such as Bill Posey (R-FL-08), Martha Roby (R-AL-02), David Schweikert (R-AZ-06), Scott Tipton (R-CO-03) and Steve Womack (R-AR-3) – all indicated that they wanted to reduce the role of the Federal Government in Education) … heck even Rick Perry remembered that the Department of Education was one of the three departments he would shutdown.
And overreaching is what many Republicans feared in Barack Obama … heck, remember his September 2009 “back to school” speech ?
Never mind that Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan had given similar addresses, this was Obama and Conservative activists blasted it as socialist. Echoing that sentiment was from the office of the Ranking Member on the Education and Workfoce Committee … Minnesota’s Second District Congressman John Kline — “The strong reaction we’ve seen from coast to coast is a reminder that federal intrusion into the classroom brings with it a number of unintended consequences. It’s a lesson we should remember “.
As we know, Jason Lewis won that 2016 election by 6,655 (helped by the Independence Party candidate garnering 28,869 votes) but lost in a rematch with Angie Craig in 2018 by 18,614 votes (and no third party candidate.)
During his one-term in Congress, Jason Lewis fell under the spell of Donald Trump.
Congressman Lewis and a number of other Republicans issued a statement in support of Trump’s nominee Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education saying, “Removing power from bureaucrats and placing it in the hands of parents should be a goal on both sides of the aisle.”
Betsy DeVos was confirmed … in an unprecedented manner as Vice President Mike Pence had to break the tie vote when Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins voted against her.
During her tenure as Secretary of Education, DeVos has reportedly been: fined $100,000 (taxpayer dollars) by the U.S. District Court for violating orders involving for-profit schools; has channeled millions of federal dollars intended primarily for public schools and colleges to private and religious schools; reportedly used a private email; and incurred millions of dollars to provide her private security.
And during the Trump years, Congress has appropriated more taxpayer monies for charter schools while House Republicans offered bills to provide tax cuts for home school expenses (i.e. Enhancing Educational Opportunities for Home School Students Act) and promoting School Choice initiatives.
Yep, Trump has evolved Republicans from opposing the federal government involvement in education, to how to spend taxpayer’s monies to help certain educational businesses and their supporters.
Fast forward to today where Jason Lewis is competing in the August 4 primary to be the Republican Party nominee for the US Senate and Betsy DeVos is on television defending Donald Trump’s call to open the schools regardless of a State’s concern over the coronavirus pandemic.
While some Republicans have sponsored a resolution (House Resolution 1026), stating that “decisions related to opening and operating school districts should be made at the local level and be informed by expert opinion and data”, Jason Lewis is backing the Trump approach — COVID be damned, full speed ahead!
So which is it Jason … should it be a State’s choice (States Rights) or dictated by the President (and does it matter if the President is Obama or Trump?)
May be it’s time that Republicans remember that admonishment … “federal intrusion into the classroom brings with it a number of unintended consequences. It’s a lesson we should remember “.
It seems that the most honest statement that Jason Lewis has made is that – be it on the radio or in a book- “I was paid to be provocative”.
Minnesota deserves a Senator that holds to her convictions … and that is Tina Smith.
America has a showman in the White House … Minnesota does not need a Senator whose so-called convictions are nothing more than provocative chatter.