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Guest Editorial: Hard work, bipartisanship must mark 114th Congress

What an honor and privilege it is to return to Washington to represent the people of Minnesota's 8th District as we begin the 114th Congress. While partisanship and politics will continue to present obstacles, there is plenty of good will and det...

What an honor and privilege it is to return to Washington to represent the people of Minnesota's 8th District as we begin the 114th Congress.

While partisanship and politics will continue to present obstacles, there is plenty of good will and determination among Democrats and Republicans alike to work together in a spirit of bipartisanship to solve problems, get things done and return to the business of governing our great nation.

Having been rated by the independent Sunlight Foundation in the top 10 percent of most productive members of Congress based on the number of authored and sponsored bills that became law during the 113th Congress, I feel more prepared than ever to lead.

And there is much to be done - fueling the economic recovery to create more good-paying jobs by rebuilding America, reducing the deficit, improving educational opportunities at every level, ending expensive wars of choice and nation building abroad, raising the federal minimum wage and reforming tax and trade policies that force U.S. businesses to compete at a global disadvantage.

As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I'll be working hard to reauthorize the federal Highway Trust Fund, address the growing crisis in rail deliveries and ensure that all future energy pipeline projects fully comply with strict EPA specifications, and use 100 percent American steel manufactured with iron ore that is mined, processed or reprocessed in the USA.

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Now that my amendment to protect the Harbor Trust Fund from raids for purposes other than repair and maintenance has become law, I will continue to focus on Great Lakes shipping - accelerating dredging operations, cleaning coastal pollution from the past and removing structural impediments to moving ore ships out of Duluth at maximum capacity.

Of course, our battles to protect Social Security and Medicare from ill-conceived and dangerous privatization schemes will continue, as will reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that our vets receive the excellent medical care and benefits they have earned in service to our nation.

And last but far from least, we will continue our bipartisan campaign to change the way we do politics by removing the scourge of outside special interest money from our elections, encouraging voter participation and putting Congress back to work governing - not raising money on the people's dime and time.

As we proceed with these efforts and many more, I welcome your ideas and advice. Please feel free to contact me. We won't accomplish everything, but I'm confident we will make more progress and get more good things done for our region, state and nation.

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