From the moment I walked in and began speaking with Chris Fields, it was evident I’d met a person with a sound political philosophy. He said he’s not worried about corporations. He’s worried about government spending. We can’t boycott the government, we can a corporation. In a nutshell, he expressed the conservative ideal that voluntary associations are more important than the involuntary ones caused by bigger government.
I liked that.
Fields believes getting our budgets under control is very important. From his website:
“The drivers of our debt are federal entitlement programs. These programs must be redesigned to fit the modern era. The Simpson-Bowles plan and Ryan-Wyden plan both have bi-partisan support. We must take the best these plans have to offer and adopt an “all of the above” approach to getting our fiscal house in order.”
Fields isn’t interested in pushing radical approaches to fix our problems like Ellison does constantly. He believes in working to stop the exploding entitlement spending using free market approaches and basic common sense. Holding one-day hunger strikes and bringing Elmo dolls to the floor of the House, like Ellison does, won’t solve a thing.
Fields invited us on a tour of his beautiful condo and showed us the fantastic view of the warehouse district and downtown Minneapolis from his rooftop patio. “I grew up in the Bronx and this view reminds me of what Tribeca used to be. Now it takes millions to live there but back then it was like this.” Fields explained as part of his life’s journey. He went into the Marine Corps and made it his first career. He never thought he’d move to a place like Minnesota but meeting his wife changed that. He spoke warmly of his adopted home, though staying in southern California may have been easier.
Service is something Fields expressed as important to him. His service in the military didn’t quench that desire. He wants to keep an America that gave so much to him and preserve it for future generations. After moving here and observing the political climate, he became concerned. He was especially troubled about Rep. Keith Ellison and his approach toward governance.
From Fields’ website:
“Today the labor department released a new report that indicated that unemployment is again on the rise. Job growth is at pathetic levels. Americans are out of work. Things are especially bad in the Fifth District, where we have the largest unemployment between blacks and whites in the entire country.
And what is Keith Ellison’s jobs plan? More government regulation.”
Ellison’s problem isn’t just that he uses wacky props to make bizarre points. He also has a committed allegiance to progressive/socialist economic policies. He believes clamping down more on the private sector will somehow magically create jobs. He’s a big booster of Obamanomics. Fields’ sees that and can counter it with reason and logic.
“I understand liberals. My father’s the biggest liberal you’ve ever seen but different than Keith. My father believed in helping others and that doesn’t seem to be Ellison’s goal. He seems more worried about policy in Syria and Palestine than people here.” Having met former US representative Martin Sabo reminded him of what Democrats used to be.
“Martin Sabo I can understand even if I don’t agree with him on everything.” He then reminded us Sabo has never endorsed Ellison. There might be a very good reason why. Ellison isn’t a public servant so much as a political player. He’s more concerned with winning arguments than making things better for people. That can get in the way of governance.
Playing on the television in his office was MSNBC. One of our group asked Fields about that. “I keep that on all the time,” He informed us. “In order to understand other people, you have to know where they are coming from. It’s about making connections with people.” But, that doesn’t mean Fields is a nice, squishy liberal. It was clear in our discussions he felt strongly that government was out of control. It does too much in too many places.
“We need to keep the money here. Sending it off to the federal government for other people to parcel out doesn’t make sense. It gets to Washington and they have to take a slice for administration and maybe we can get a few grants here and there but in the end it’s not much. It should stay with the community where it will do more good.”
In the Fields’ spare bedroom, his medals are encased behind glass. Surrounded by pictures and other mementos, they are arrayed with simplicity and grace. That is the impression you get with Fields. When engaged, he can argue fiercely and with vigor arguments both direct and persuasive. But there’s also calm about him and a measured way of considering others. He handles himself with grace under fire, no doubt partially learned from his career in the Marines, but also because of his own quiet humility. He sees taking on Ellison as doing something for others and not for himself.
Speaking of the May Day parade he marched in, Fields referred to talking with people of differing viewpoints. Even at an event as politically hostile as May Day could have been, he considered it simply part of what a public servant should do. “You have to get out there and talk to people who don’t agree with you. If you don’t do that, you can’t represent them all. Doing the right thing is what you have to do.”
Certainly we don’t see that from Ellison. After being elected in 2006, Keith has been AWOL from any political discussion that doesn’t favor his side. Among his constituents, we see no engagement, no interest, no involvement in dissenting thought. Fields believes being accountable is far more important. Should the people of the Fifth District elect him, he knows that will happen.
“No one thinks Keith can be beat. That’s why he knows he doesn’t have to answer to the people of this district. I think it’s better someone like me represents this district because I will have to answer and will be held accountable. That’s why I’d do a better job for you,” Fields explained.
That is so true. If the people of the Fifth District really want to shake up the establishment and make accountability important, ousting a Democrat in this deep blue area would certainly do it. This would rock the political establishment more than Oberstar’s ouster from the Eighth did. Perhaps then we’d see politicians respond to our concerns and ideas. Instead of ignoring their constituents and filling up the government trough with our money, they may begin acting more responsible for what they do. We aren’t going to get a handle on this explosion of debt, deficits, and ever expanding government without leaders feeling the wrath of the electorate.
We can affect a change for the better, if we want to. I say let’s do it. I think Chris Fields has the integrity, and the honor, to do so for the Fifth Congressional District.