Archive for the ‘Tim Walz’ Category

    That’s what they used to do.

Now it is ‘time out’. Minnesota 1st District Congressman Tim Walz (D) announced that he is co-authoring legislation (H.R. 6239) with Republican Congressman Sam Graves called the “NCLB Recess Until Reauthorization Act”. This proposed legislation will in effect suspend sanctions against schools that are struggling to meet the requirements of the underfunded NCLB act until the legislation can be fixed. Representative Walz released the following statement:

Statement on HR 6239

Walz-Graves “NCLB Recess Until Reauthorization Act”

By Congressman Tim Walz

June 21, 2008


Today, I’m here to announce that I’ve introduced legislation with my Republican colleague, Sam Graves of Missouri, that will give schools and teachers a ‘time out’ from ill-conceived sanctions imposed by the No Child Left Behind law. 

I’m disappointed that this bill is even necessary, because Congress was supposed to take time this year to work with the President to fully fund No Child Left Behind and to fix what isn’t working with the law. 

Unfortunately, Congress didn’t do its job this year.  And as a result, children, parents, teachers and schools all across the country must continue to operate under a law that nearly everyone agrees should be fixed. 

Well, if Congress and the President can’t or won’t take action this year, then I will work across party lines to protect students and schools from being penalized by bad policy for yet another year.  I believe that it’s time that Members of Congress hold themselves as accountable as we hold our students and schools.

Many of you remember when No Child Left Behind became law in 2002.  Since that time, much has changed for educators and students in America. 

Teachers have provided more information than ever before to parents about the educational progress of our children and students are working harder than ever before to master new skills.

The intent of this law was to make schools accountable for providing a first class education to our children, but the unfunded, cumbersome mandates of the law have resulted in frustration and diverted attention away from the best practices that we know are beneficial to our children. 

As a longtime public school teacher, let me state clearly that I fully support accountability in education and I know that most teachers share my desire to do whatever it takes to see our kids succeed.  But the same law that triggered these positive changes also penalizes schools that, while making progress, don’t meet an arbitrary bar set by the Bush Administration. 

Everywhere I go in southern Minnesota, I hear from constituents like those here with me today about the problems with No Child Left Behind.  As the only teacher in Congress with experience teaching under the unfunded mandates of No Child Left Behind, I believe I have a unique perspective on this law – I celebrate its achievements, but I cannot sit idly by and allow our children to be penalized while we wait for a new President to work with the Congress to fix what is broken.

This bill freezes in place the penalties imposed by NCLB.  That means that schools who are about to be sanctioned for not reaching the arbitrary benchmark will have another year to improve their scores, while schools  already being sanctioned will not receive additional penalties. However, schools that are already taking corrective action to improve their performance will continue with that plan – students will still receive extra tutoring, teachers will still receive extra professional training and other efforts to improve schools in American will not cease. 

My bill simply puts a hold on additional penalties until Congress and the new President can fix and fund NCLB, or until the conclusion of the 2008-2009 school year.

Congress should have fixed NCLB this year, but this President stands in the way of real reform.  But just because it didn’t get done doesn’t mean that our kids and our schools should have to suffer through more bad federal education policy for another year.  That’s why it is only fair to take a time-out from these penalties until Congress can provide parents, teachers and students a better plan to improve America’s schools – a plan that truly sets high expectations for all students and rewards results in the classroom.


This is one more example of Congressman Walz working for the people of the 1st District and educators and students nationwide. Our current president likes to talk about reform but falls short when providing the funding to get the job done.

And now a fine tune from Crosby, Stills & Nash:



Vodpod videos no longer available.

Peace & solidarity,






Read Full Post »

This week, the U.S. Senate took an historic vote and passed (75-22) the Webb-Hagel 21st Century GI Bill. The GI Bill passed the House of Representatives earlier this month so now once the two legislative bodies reconcile any differences it will go to President Bush for his signature, signing it into law.

Or maybe not!

Bush along with his clone, McCain, is opposed to this particular legislation and has threatened a veto. Minnesota’s Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Norm Coleman both voted for the GI Bill. Only 2 of our representatives in the House voted against this legislation (Bachmann and Kline). 1st CD Congressman Tim Walz, my representative, voted for the legislation and delivered this speech in support on the floor of congress.


This legislation recognizes the sacrifice of ALL the women and men who have served, including our national guard and reservists who have paid a heavy price in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has strong non-partisan support in Congress and has the support of many veterans organizations, including the VFW and the American Legion. Senator McCain’s legislation is not as generous, would not treat the guard and reserve as equals and would require longer service times to be eligible for full benefits. Some may complain about the cost of this program but if we end our occupation of Iraq we will have plenty of extra cash on hand.

Peace & solidarity,


Read Full Post »

UPDATE: 05/01/2008 #1 son points out in the comments that now 7 of 8 of Minnesota’s congressional delegation have signed on to this legislation. The only holdout is Michelle Bachman. As of this date 261 members of the House of Representatives have signed on as cosponsors. END UPDATE

As hundreds of thousands of men and women return from serving their country in the military they are finding that the current G.I. Bill is woefully inadequate. Senators Jim Webb(D) and Chuck Hagel(R), hope to change that with the “Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act” (S.22/H.R. 5740). The current list of cosponsors include 58 in the Senate and 250 members of the House. Both of Minnesota’s senators have signed on to the bill. Six of Minnesota’s eight representatives in the House have signed on, including my congressman, Tim Walz. This legislation has bipartisan support and has been endorsed by the following veterans and educational groups:   

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act has been endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars(VFW), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), The American Legion, the Military Officers’Association of America (MOAA), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), AMVETS, the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), the Student Veterans of America (SVA), the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) and the Partnership for Veterans’ Education, a consortium of military, veterans, and higher education associations such as the American Council on Education (ACE) and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).

Democratic presidential hopefuls Clinton and Obama are cosponsors. Republican presidential candidate John McCain has introduced alternative legislation which is a slap in the face to our veterans and especially to our national guard and reservists. VoteVets.org issued a press release last week in which they repudiated the McCain-Graham-Burr bill. Here is and excerpt from the press release:

The veterans stated that the McCain-Graham-Burr bill falls flat in its key differences from the Webb-Hagel Bill, which has the support of 57 members of the Senate, from both sides of the aisle.

1) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation creates a flat education benefit, not taking into account the cost of state colleges where veterans live. This would mean veterans in states where the cost of education is higher than the benefit would have go to into debt to get an education, or uproot themselves and their families to move to a place where the benefit would cover college. The Webb-Hagel Bill determines the education benefit based on the highest state college tuition in a veterans’ home state, allowing veterans to come home and attend college, without upheaval in their lives.

2) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation creates second-class veterans, by offering those who serve in the military for 12 years the chance to transfer their education benefits to their children. This says to a veteran who serves for two years and loses both of his legs in combat that his service isn’t as valuable as someone who has served for longer.

3) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation leaves the National Guard and Reserve out in the cold. In the current conflicts, the National Guard and Reserve have served faithfully alongside their active duty compatriots, and deserve equal benefits. Yet, the McCain bill does nothing to reward our Guard and Reservists for their cumulative service. Under the McCain bill, over 160,000 members of the Guard and Reserves who have done more than one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan would get no credit towards an education for their additional sacrifice. 

If this is an example of John McCain’s leadership and support for the troops, then we don’t need him. He is proving once again that he is out of touch with reality.  If we are going to go to war then we must consider all costs, and that includes education.

A fact sheet on S. 22 is available here.

Watch the video from VoteVets.org. 

Peace & solidarity,



Read Full Post »

Early Saturday morning, a minivan with Rock County DFL delegates set out to Albert Lea to attend the 1st CD convention. Despite the blustery winds and icy conditions on I-90 we arrived safely to join the other delegates from across the 1st CD to take care of business. Listening to speeches, electing officers, filling committee spots, etc. is par for the course for conventions. Tedious but necessary. The delegates to the national convention that were elected truly represent the makeup of the 1st CD. Of those chosen were party regulars, an 18 year old first time delegate, and a 75 year old delegate.

The best part of the day of course was the nomination of Tim Walz to represent the people of the 1st Congressional District. The congressman has done an outstanding job in his first term and has worked very hard to restore trust in the people we send to Washington D.C. I have been cynical and often disillusioned with our elected officials. Not so with Tim Walz. I am proud to claim him as my representative. His work ethic, openness, intelligence, values, and manner of speaking are just some of his attributes. He understands the challenges that I face. He understands my wants and my needs. He understands my dreams.

After several nominating speeches from delegates, Gwen Walz, the Congressman’s wife, gave a rousing introduction for her husband which really got the crowd pumped up. Prior to taking the stage, I was lucky enough to capture this moment with the Congressman getting last minute advice on his acceptance speech from his son, Gus.

His daughter Hope, joined him on stage while Gus worked the crowd. Congressman Walz gave a great speech and talked about building the largest grassroots campaign the 1st CD has ever seen. There is one thing about his message today that stuck with me. This campaign is not about Tim Walz.  It is about us taking our democracy back. It is about our hope for the future. It is about the people of the 1st CD. He is one of us and that is why we will send him back to Washington D.C.



Delegates conducting business

As always, you can find the latest news and views about Tim Walz and the 1st CD at A Bluestem Prairie.


Peace & solidarity,



Read Full Post »

Legislation also known as “mental health parity” is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, March 5. From the Wellstone Action website is this description: 

The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act is legislation that would end the practice of insurance companies discriminating against people suffering from mental illness.  Sponsored by Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Wellstone’s friend Representative Jim Ramstad (R-MN), the bill would compel insurance companies to treat mental illness the same as physical illness, given the overwhelming scientific evidence that mental illness is a disease every bit as real and serious as physical illness.  This practice is often referred to as “mental health parity.”

In an report filed by the AP  the late Senator’s son had this to say:

I cannot emphasize enough how historic this vote will be,” said Wellstone’s son, David Wellstone, in a letter to activists. “For five years, I have heard promise after promise that Congress will pass mental health parity legislation in my father’s honor.”

and from the same AP report is this from Representative Ramstad:

We’ve waited 12 long years, and we’re finally getting a vote in the House to pass landmark legislation ending discrimination against people who need treatment for mental illness and chemical addiction,” Ramstad said in a statement released by his office.

Representative Tim Walz(D), from the 1st congressional district of Minnesota and my congressman, is one of 273 cosponsors of H.R. 1424. Is your congressperson on the list?

Contact congress and say thank you to those who are supporting this legislation and encourage those who are not to reconsider.

Peace & solidarity,


UPDATE March 4 2008: Received this email from Wellstone Action:

Call today!  I’m making my 9th trip out to Washington because millions of American lives, and a critical part of my father’s legacy, are at stake.  After all the years and all the promises, we need to pass mental health and addiction fairness legislation out of the House. 

I know it’s been a long campaign, but we need you to call one more time.

Call your Member of Congress TODAY and ask them to vote YES on the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (HR 1424).

Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121ask to be connected to your Representative

Let us know you called by sending us an email at info@wellstone.org

Thank you.  I’ll be in Washington today and tomorrow having last-minute face-to-face meetings with members of Congress and watching the action on the floor on Wednesday.  Your calls will be critical grassroots backup to my visits!


End Update

Read Full Post »


Minnesota’s 1st CD Congressman Tim Walz(D) has been working hard in Washington D.C. on energy issues and recently issued a press release about the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008, H.R. 5351. Ollie Ox over at Bluestem Prairie covers it in detail here.

Minnesota Central looks at the tax and job creation implications in his post: Vote 51: Minnesota Jobs at stake while Congress chooses whose Tax Break to Extend.

Meanwhile, here in SW Minnesota local folks are working hard to prove that renewable and alternative energy is real and viable. Wind turbines are popping up and generating electricity and income due to a cooperative effort among local farmers and community members. Minwind LLC of Luverne, with over 300 members, has 11 turbines and plans to build more. Many of these people were instrumental in building the ethanol plant in Luverne owned by AgriEnergy LLC. The November/December 2007 issue of Rural Cooperatives published by the USDA highlights the Minwind project. New transmission lines are currently being constructed along I-90, creating good paying jobs.

 Here is a short (37 sec.) slide show


and since the title of this post is a Dylan tune here is a video of him performing in 1963. Enjoy!


Read Full Post »

More water woes!

GW released his 2009 budget today and one of the casualties was the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. News reports from KELOTV and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader state that the LCRWS will receive nothing, nada, zilch in the Bush 2009 budget. When completed, Lewis & Clark will provide safe, reliable drinking water to over 300,000 people in the tri-state area. Members in southwest Minnesota include Luverne, Worthington, Rock County Rural Water, and Linclon-Pipestone Rural Water. The project has been backed by 1st CD Rep. Tim Walz, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Norm Coleman and Governor Tim Pawlenty.

I am waiting to see what the reaction from our elected officials in Minnesota will be.

For more budget info go to A Bluestem Prairie for some informative links on other casualties of the Bush budget.

Peace & solidarity


Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »