ST. PETER - U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) received a resounding "No!" from constituents on the subject of military action against Syria on Friday during his "Congress on Your Corner" in St. Peter.
The event was designed to get public input on Syria and whether the U.S. should step up involvement in the conflict in the wake of alleged used of chemical weapons. Several media reports placed the attendance at around 150 people. The comments from constituents at the event placed the response at a nearly unanimous opposition to any action.
Walz has not released an official statement on how he will vote on the issue. However, he previously stated he was skeptical about military involvement in Syria. He stated Friday that he feelings were reinforced by the response.
A surprise element to the event was Jim Hagedorn, who announced Wednesday he will run a Republican challenger to Walz, showing up in the public comment line. He pressed the points he made during his campaign announcement, particularly that he is opposed to U.S. involvement in the Middle East without a reworked policy plan. He said his main concern is the recent regime changes seem to only benefit organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, and that he believes the U.S. should only support groups that will be pro-Western when they gain power.
New Ulm resident Larry Hlavsa also attended the event and voiced to Walz his opposition to military action in Syria. He said his main complaint was the U.S. acting without the consensus and support of the international community.
"Assad is the really, really bad guy here. But, I'm opposed to the notion that for the rest of our history we will go in whatever country entirely on our own and decide we're arbiter of all right and wrong," said Hlavsa.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.