U.S. Senate candidates talk about trade


GILFILLAN — A trio of U.S. Senate candidates agreed on foreign trade issues, but that was among the few things they agreed on at an IDEAg Farmfest forum Aug. 9.

Republican candidate Rae Hart Anderson of rural Arlington said she agreed with President Trump that China and the world are taking advantage of the United States, but that the worst part is the U.S. is taking advantage of farmers.

“I’m very concerned about trade,” said Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “We need to go back to Canada and Mexico and get started on a NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It’s time to stop the war of words. We have to sell products overseas.”

Third-term Minnesota House member and endorsed Republican candidate Jim Newberger of Becker said trade needs to be renegotiated immediately.

“We need to solve this before fall harvest or falling back into a late 1980s scenario. Trade is based on the future,” Newberger said.”

Klobuchar said she didn’t favor term limits, that she works on both sides of the aisle and that gridlock is caused by people standing in the far corners of a boxing ring.

Newberger said the term limit issue has to be the same for everyone or lobbyists have more power.

“Sen. Klobuchar has been in office 12 years. She wants more. Folks, I think that’s enough,” Newberger said.

Anderson said she didn’t like the way Farm Bills are done.

“I don’t think it’s best for farmers,” Anderson said. “Every five years, we vote for a Farm Bill we don’t understand. It’s longer than the Bible.”

Klobuchar said she supported the Farm Bill.

“We found bonuses that crossed state lines and saved a lot of money. We need to get it done,” Klobuchar said.

Newberger said he likes the House Farm Bill better than the Senate version that he said gives insurance discounts to people that meet environmental thresholds.

Klobuchar said comprehensive immigration reform is needed.

Newberger said if immigrants don’t want to live under American law, they shouldn’t live in America.

“If you bring people here legally, God bless you,” Newberger said. “We have a refugee program that turned into an immigration program.”

Anderson said people that are willing to work should be welcome.

“Security and safety is the No. 1 purpose of government,” Klobuchar said. “Our administration is pushing out legal workers like dreamers, kids who were brought here through no fault of their own. Don’t just listen to the rhetoric.”

Anderson said federal politicians should do public service.

Klobuchar said Medicare Part D reform is needed and foreign drugs should be available to cut medical costs.

Newberger favored a free market system for lower medical costs and MinnesotaCare as a safety net.

Anderson called Tina Smith and Klobuchar “friendly but harmful.”

“How can you kill a baby at nine months?” Anderson said. “Hope for America is through faith in Christ. Protect what is very close to you.”

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.