BY GABE LICHT
SAUK RAPIDS, MN Republican voters in Minnesota’s 6th District of the US House will have more than presidential candidates on the March 1 caucus ballot, as AJ Kern, of Sauk Rapids, is challenging Rep. Tom Emmer, of Delano.
Kern, who most recently served as a volunteer columnist for the St. Cloud Times, used her last column in the newspaper to announce her candidacy and level accusations against Emmer.
“Emmer may be a conservative campaigner, but his voting record of growing government and spending shows otherwise,” Kern wrote, citing an F grade from Conservative Review, a conservative organization that tracks voting records and gave Emmer a 50 percent Liberty Score.
Kern called herself a constitutional conservative who is “frustrated with the excuses and continued ‘business as usual’ in Washington, DC.”
“Establishment Republicans are just as culpable as President Obama and progressive Democrats in the expansion of the federal government’s unconstitutional overreaching authorities and debt, propelling America into a post-constitutional era,” Kern wrote.
Kern accused Emmer of supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants by voting along with Democrats and 75 other Republicans to fund the Department of Homeland Security, “which also funded Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty actions, violating existing border and immigration laws.”
On education, Kern opposes the Every Student Succeeds Act, which Emmer voted for to replace No Child Left Behind.
“A true restoration of local control would include voting against unconstitutional federal education laws and curriculum, and eliminating the US Department of Education, giving constitutional authority back to the states and, more importantly, to parents where it belongs,” Kern wrote.
Another vote Kern took issue with was Emmer’s support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
“Just shy of 6,000 pages deep, TPP is clearly not free-trade. It is controlled trade,” Kern wrote. “TPP creates new environmental regulations, adopts rules for labor, rules for immigration, and rules for every aspect of global commerce.”
Kern is outspoken against the “establishment,” having written a column titled, “We must stop ‘Establishment Party’” Dec. 2, 2015.
She is not the only individual with Sauk Rapids ties hoping to make a run for Minnesota’s 6th District seat of the US House, as Sauk Rapids native Bob Helland is seeking the DFL endorsement.
Helland, 30, ran for Minnesota Secretary of State in 2014 as an Independence Party candidate, and received 4.9 percent of the vote. The St. Cloud State University grad worked in technology at the Minnesota Department of Revenue and Minnesota Department of Public Safety.