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This LTE is just another helping of DFL gibberish:

Joe Perske, who is a candidate for the 6th Congressional District, is the kind of person we need to represent us in Washington.

Joe has worked in local politics for the past 10 years and has advocated diligently for workers and families in this area. He has an incredible gift of being able to relate to people from all walks of life. He has the integrity we are lacking in Washington today.

Recently he was endorsed by the Minnesota AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education for his positions and record on issues of importance to workers and their families. The endorsement is based on his steadfast support of working families.

The notion that a DFL congressional candidate getting endorsed by the AFL-CIO isn’t news. Based on their list of endorsees, if you had a D behind your name, you were endorsed.

Simply put, Perske is just another tax-raising liberal. His history is littered with raising propert taxes and spending money foolishly.

In 2010, I wrote that Tarryl faced an uphill climb against Michele Bachmann. Tarryl lost by 13 points, the biggest winning margin in Michele’s congressional career. If Republicans work hard this year, the DFL will look at the Michele vs. Tarryl as the good old days.

Tom Emmer is a great fit for the district. He’s fiscally conservative, which is important. Most importantly, he’s a reform-minded conservative.

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While reading the Strib’s article on Jeff Johnson’s primary victory, I came across this bit of information about Gov. Dayton’s campaign:

Dayton’s campaign says it will hit three main themes come Sept. 1: strengthening the middle class, improving education and making government more efficient.

There’s no question that Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature spent tons of money on education. Education questions arise, though, when you start asking whether we’re getting our money’s worth. Appeasing Education Minnesota isn’t the same as improving education.

In 2011, Gov. Dayton signed a Republican reform that teachers pass a basic skills test. In 2013, Gov. Dayton signed the repeal of that reform because too many teachers failed the test, then got waivers from the Department of Education that let them continue teaching.

Let’s see how Gov. Dayton defends that.

As for strengthening the middle class, I’d simply ask whether families in Hibbing, Chisholm, Eveleth and Virginia are better off now than they were 4 years ago. The answer is an emphatic ‘Hell no.’ In fact, those cities have some haves and tons of have nots.

Finally, on whether Gov. Dayton has made “government more efficient”, eliminating a few archaic laws doesn’t make government more efficient. Spending $90,000,000 on an office building to house part-time legislators definitely isn’t making government efficient. Spending $200,000,000 on a health insurance exchange website didn’t make government more efficient. Those projects could’ve been used to fix roads and bridges.

Q: What has Gov. Dayton done to fight for high-paying mining jobs in northeastern and southeastern Minnesota? A: He’s said that Republican gubernatorial candidate were “highly irresponsible” for promising to open PolyMet. He thought about imposing a total moratorium on frack-sand mining, too.

Minnesotans need to learn that Gov. Dayton doesn’t know what’s in the bills he’s signed. Gov. Dayton claims he didn’t know that the Vikings stadium bill had a provision in it that allows the Vikings to sell personal seat licenses, aka PSLs, on season tickets. Gov. Dayton supposedly didn’t know that the tax bill he negotiated included a sales tax on farm equipment repairs.

Gov. Dayton supposedly didn’t know that the Senate Office Building was in the tax bill that he signed. At least, that’s what he said.

At what point should we aay that our CEO should know what’s in the bills he’s signing? At what point do people say we can’t afford 4 more years of reckless DFL spending? I hope it’s soon.

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This article highlights the intelligent fight Torrey Westrom will fight in Congress if he defeats Collin Peterson:

“The Keystone pipeline needs to be built, I am here to tell you, and it should have been built last year, not delayed another several months as we are seeing under this current Administration,” Westrom said. Without the pipeline, oil producers are using an increasing number of railcars to transport their supply, which is squeezing out farmers and propane suppliers.

“[Grain] elevators from the south end of the 7th District to the north tell me they are still going to have last year’s crop when this year’s crop comes in, and they can’t get enough extra cars to ship it out,” Westrom continued. “That’s unacceptable. We need to build energy and infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline. That’s something I will advocate for.”

When it comes to getting things done in DC, Collin Peterson is about as worthless as a potted plant. He didn’t stand up to President Obama and the environmental activists that run the EPA or the spineless diplomats in the State Department.

Thanks to Congressman Peterson’s spinelessness, grain elevators in Minnesota’s 7th District are hurting. Minnesota’s 7th District doesn’t need a DC insider with ‘influence’. Minnesota’s 7th District needs someone who gets things done.

Collin Peterson is rich with DC insider influence. Unfortunatly, he isn’t the type of congressman who gets important things done that help his district.

If voters in Minnesota’s 7th District dump Peterson, they’ll immediately see the difference in the number of important things that get done compared with Peterson’s potted plant routine.

The panel also asked the 7th District candidate what can be done to reduce government regulatory delays. “Indecision is very paralyzing for industry and for farmers,” Westrom said about the overregulation that effects Minnesota’s farmers. “Some sort of cap on decisions, so people can count on a yes or a no, or at least know what needs to be changed in a timely period, is something we should aim for.” Westrom emphasized that we should “not have unelected bureaucrats continue to delay processes.”

Peterson loves DC’s ineffective status quo. He doesn’t really have to do anything. All he has to do is talk about how much institutional influence he has. What Peterson can’t talk about is how his presence in DC is helping reduce regulations or improve life in Minnesota’s 7th District.

Throughout the forum, panelists expressed concern about government overreach, asking other candidates about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on navigable waters and delay on the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The EPA is a farmer’s worst nightmare. Daily, they micromanage what a farmer can and can’t do. Their new rule will get struck down by the Supreme Court because it goes far beyond the legislative language of the Clean Water Act, aka the CWA.

Not that Collin Peterson cares but the EPA can’t implement a rule that goes beyond the legislative language. That language currently says the EPA can regulate navigable waters. The EPA’s rule would allow them to regulate waters not considered navigable.

At one point, Collin Peterson was a tolerable congressman. Those days have passed. In 2009, Nancy Pelosi corrupted him. He hasn’t been a Blue Dog Democrat since. That says one thing: it’s time for a change.

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If this article isn’t giving President Obama, the DGA and the DNC heartburn, then they’ll never get heartburn. Look at the story behind the headlines:

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn has spent a political lifetime fine-tuning his image as a government reformer, but a new Early & Often Poll shows Republican Bruce Rauner may have wrested that mantle away from the governor.

The incumbent Chicago Democrat also has spent months trying to portray the multimillionaire private equity investor from Winnetka as an out-of-touch “billionaire,” yet voters in Illinois appear evenly split about which gubernatorial candidate best understands their everyday concerns.

And while Quinn again finds himself down by double digits in this latest poll by We Ask America, Illinoisans gave a decisive nod to Quinn running mate Paul Vallas over Republican Evelyn Sanguinetti as the best qualified lieutenant governor candidate to take over in the event of an emergency.

I threw that last paragraph in there to show how little running mates matter in voting for governors or presidents. This paragraph should frighten Democrats:

The poll had Rauner ahead of Quinn by a nearly-51-percent-to-38-percent spread with 11 percent undecided. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

This race wasn’t on anyone’s radar other than in the Rauner household a year ago. Back then, most people would’ve thought that the biggest threat to Gov. Quinn would’ve come in a primary, not against a Republican.

Apparently, thousands of uppity peasants from the Land of Lincoln are demanding to be heard above the political machine. If Quinn loses, it’ll be the biggest shocker this election cycle by orders of magnitude. This race will undoubtedly tighten. Still, it’s likely that Gov. Quinn is facing a difficult fight:

“I think Rauner’s claim to ‘shake up Springfield’ may be resonating with voters,” Durham said. “It’s been in his TV ads and a big part of his speeches. Plus, it’s hard for a public official who has been around as long as Gov. Quinn to wear the reform hat when he’s been part of the system so long.”

It’s possible, too, that people just don’t trust Democrats. It isn’t like Gov. Blagojevich is a picture of virtue. Gov. Quinn’s served in government for quite awhile so that hurts his image as a reformer.

It’s especially worth noting that this was a large sample of likely voters. Further, only 11% of likely voters haven’t decided who to vote for. The further you read into the poll, the more daunting the task is for Quinn.

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This year is the first time in seemingly forever that I’ll be voting in a GOP primary. That’s why this i the first time I’ve written a post announcing who I’m voting for in the primary.

The biggest reason why I’m voting for Mike McFadden is because he’s an unapologetic capitalist. While Al Franken was a mediocre comedian, a mean-spirited talk show host and a rubberstamp US senator, Mike McFadden was creating jobs. Mike knows the importance of regulation reform and tax reform.

Mike’s also been steadfast in calling for starting over on health care reform, this time implementing a patient-centric system rather to replace the government-centric plan that’s an outright failure. Mike wants a system that gives the federal government the authority to tell people the coverages their health insurance policies must have.

That’s because Mike knows that families, working in consultation with their physicians, know what’s best for them. Mike understands that distant bureaucrats can’t possibly know what’s bet for your family or your co-workers’ families.

Mike’s worked with enough small businesses to know that compliance costs, whether they’re tax or regulation compliance costs, hurt small businesses more than they hurt big corporations. The vast majority of manufacturing companies started as small businesses. Regulatory reform is essential to growing the economy.

While Mike McFadden has advocated for regulatory reform, his opponent this November has voted for the biggest federal regulatory overreach in 50 years.

Finally, I’d like to take time to say a little something about Jim Abeler. Most bloggers know him as part of the Override 6, a small group of GOP legislators who voted to override Gov. Pawlenty’s veto of a massive transportation tax bill. While it’s fair to remember that about Jim, it isn’t the only thing we should remember about Jim.

Jim worked with Steve Gottwalt to produce real health care reform before the Affordable Care Act wiped out their reforms. We’d be far better off if their reforms hadn’t been toppled by the ACA’s top-down, government-centric plan.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet Jim a couple of times. He’s a man of faith who’s had to endure what no parent should be forced to deal with — the tragic death of a child. Through that tragic event, Jim leaned on his faith, which helped his family persevere.

Jim, I personally wish you nothing but the best. I hope God blesses you in the days ahead.

When Congress passed the bill reforming the VA hospital system, it became the first bipartisan reform bill passed during the Obama administration.

The Senate gave final approval Thursday to sweeping legislation aimed at fixing the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, marking a rare moment of bipartisan accord triggered by the widespread treatment delays veterans faced at agency facilities.

The legislation passed 91-3 a day after the House overwhelmingly approved the package. It now goes to President Obama’s desk.

The $17 billion measure is intended help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat them, and make it easier to fire senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department.

As with any bipartisan bill, this isn’t a great bill. It definitely is flawed. With that being said, Republicans got Democrats to include the Republicans’ top priorities in the bill.

First, the bill includes a provision that lets vets opt out of the VA system. Those opting out will get a voucher giving them the right to go to a private clinic or hospital. This provision isn’t available to all vets, though it’s available to a significant number of vets.

It’s also a great first step towards demolishing the corrupt VA hospital system.

The other major concession Republicans won was a provision that gives the VA secretary the right to fire employees who aren’t doing their jobs. Again, this is a major concession from Democrats, mostly because this gives Republicans the impetus to pass legislation that gives all cabinet secretaries this right.

Democrats will find it difficult to argue that only the VA secretary should have that authority, especially considering how popular this provision is with taxpayers. They’re tired of hearing about people like Lois Lerner committing crimes, then getting put on paid administrative leave while the department conducts their investigation. Taxpayers want heads to roll.

It’s pretty pathetic that the first truly bipartisan reform bill didn’t pass until the sixth year of this Democratic administration. It’s quite the indictment against President Obama’s administration and Harry Reid’s my-way-or-the-highway leadership. It’s the best proof that Washington, DC needs a Republican majority in the US Senate. Without a GOP majority, there won’t be another bipartisan bill passed during this administration.

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When superPACs and other special interest organizations make a major ad buy in a formerly safe congressional district, it’s usually proof that the incumbent is in trouble. When that major ad buy happens months before the election, it’s a guarantee that he’s in trouble. That’s why this ad is proof, at minimum, that Rick Nolan, Nancy Pelosi and AFSCME are worried about Stewart Mills flipping this seat this November:

What’s interesting, and predictable, is that Nolan’s special interest allies are lying through their teeth about Mills supporting “tax breaks for the rich.” Let’s look at Mill’s issues page for the truth:

The Eighth District is a Main Street economy and job growth here comes from the ground up. That means we need tax reform that’s geared toward small business growth. Stewart doesn’t believe that Washington creates jobs- entrepreneurs and business owners create jobs.

When Republicans talk about tax reform, they’re talking mostly about tax simplification. That’s because tax compliance hurts small businesses far more than it hurts big corporations. Big corporations have tons of lobbyists to get favorable tax breaks and tons of accountants that stay on top of the ever-changing tax code.

Meanwhile, an entrepreneur might be the chief salesman of the product, the guy who does payroll and fills in when someone’s missing. He’s also the guy who has to stay on top of the onslaught of regulations and changes in the tax code. In short, tax compliance hurts small businesses far more than it hurts big corporations.

In other words, the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad is BS.

Another important part of the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad says that Stewart Mills opposes the minimum wage. I’ve paid a ton of attention to the Mills campaign. I’ve yet to hear him talk about the minimum wage. His stump speech is mostly about a) starting over and getting health care reform right, b) making PolyMet and job creation in Minnesota’s Eighth District a reality and c) standing up for the Second Amendment.

There’s nothing in there that’s about “tax cuts for the rich” or the minimum wage. Those mining jobs are anything but about the minimum wage. Those future miners certainly aren’t “the rich.” That’s who Stewart Mills will fight for if he’s elected, mostly because it’s the right thing to do.

After the DFL convention, Rick Nolan railed that Stewart Mills was the personification of the one-percent:

Nolan started off the campaign with a shot the Republican contender Stewart Mills. “He is, no mistake about it, a one percenter who is there to represent the 1 percent not the 99 percent,” Nolan said.

I said then what I’ll repeat now: Mills Fleet Farm is one of the most blue collar retail chains in the nation. They have lots of auto parts, lawn care products, sporting goods and a smattering of clothing, ranging from blue jeans to flannel shirts. What they don’t have are products that might be found in Macy’s or Nieman Marcus.

According to University of Wisconsin Superior Political Science Professor Alison Von Hagel, “I guess one could say it could be seen as putting words in his (Mills) mouth.” That’s understatement.

I’d argue that it’s filled with assumptions based mostly on ideology, not fact. In that sense, it’s what I expect from far left liberals like the DFL and Nancy Pelosi. Their relationship with the truth is minimal at best.

Stewart Mills is a salt-of-the-earth type of guy. He’s totally comfortable hanging out at the Mills family hunting shack. That isn’t to say he’s uncomfortable running the Mills Fleet Farm benefits program. He knows that pretty well, too, which is why he wants to start over on health care reform so that it’s affordable for everyone.

Right now, thanks to the ACA, it isn’t affordable for many.

That, of course, isn’t part of the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad. That truth doesn’t fit with the Democrats’ storyline. If it doesn’t fit with the Democrats’ smear campaign, it’s ignored.

High-ranking people in DC thinks Nolan’s in trouble. That’s why he was put on the DCCC’s equivalent of the ‘Endangered Incumbents List.’ That’s why the House Majority PAC and AFSCME paid for this ad this early. If they thought Nolan wasn’t in trouble, they would’ve saved their money until the stretch run.

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Brian Beutler’s article attempts to make the case that Republicans might ultimately lose if the Supreme Court upholds today’s ruling:

An adverse Supreme Court ruling would throw the ACA into chaos in three dozen states, including huge states like Florida and Texas. The vast majority of beneficiaries in those states would be suddenly unable to afford their premiums (and might even be required to reimburse the government for unlawful subsidies they’ve already spent). Millions of people would drop out of the insurance marketplaces. Premiums would skyrocket for the very sick people who need coverage the most.

But that’s where the conservatives’ “victory” would turn into a big political liability for red- and purple-state Republicans. An adverse ruling would create a problem that could be fixed in two ways: With an astonishingly trivial technical corrections bill in Congress, or with Healthcare.gov states setting up their own exchanges. If you’re a Republican senator from a purple Healthcare.gov state—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and others—you’ll be under tremendous pressure to pass the legislative fix. If you’re a Republican governor in any Healthcare.gov state, many thousands of your constituents will expect you to both pressure Congress to fix the problem, and prepare to launch your own exchange.

Conservatives would like to believe that they could just leave something as deeply rooted as Obamacare permanently hobbled, or that they could use the ensuing chaos as leverage, to force Democrats to reopen the books, and perhaps gut the law in other ways. I think they’re miscalculating. Just as government shutdowns and debt default threats don’t create leverage because the public doesn’t support inviting chaos in pursuit of unrelated goals, I don’t think an adverse ruling in Halbig will create leverage for the GOP.

I think Beutler isn’t just wrong about the leverage. I think he’s kidding himself if he thinks this puts Republicans in a difficult position.

By the time the Supreme Court rules on this lawsuit, it’s quite possible that there will be Republican majorities in the House and Senate. If that’s the case, think of this scenario:

Congress might well change Section 36B as part of a bigger bill that’s sure to include other provisions that Republicans like and that President Obama doesn’t like.

For instance, a new bill might include a change to 36B along with a change that eliminates the medical device tax, another change that changes the definition of a Qualified Health Plan, aka QHP, and a change that reduces the penalties for the employer and individual mandates.

Employers and families would certainly love a tiny penalty for not obeying the law. Young people would love being able to buy a catatrophic policy with a HSA to cover other expenses. There’s no question that eliminating the medical device tax would make medical device manufacturers happy.

At that point, President Obama signs the bill that’s essentially a fresh start that dramatically improves the ACA or he vetoes a popular bill that forces families to pay higher insurance premiums, that doesn’t repeal an unpopular tax and he alienates major parts of his base. In my opinion, that’s ‘Rock meets hard place’ territory for President Obama. The good news is that it’s great news for employers, families and young people.

All that’s required is for Republicans to pass a bill that’s filled with popular provisions. Since a majority of people don’t like the bill’s specifics, that shouldn’t be that difficult.

Finally, Beutler insists that this is judicial activism. There’s nothing activist about the DC Circuit’s ruling. They said that Section 36B meant what it said. For the record, here’s the specific language of Section 36B:

monthly premiums for such month for 1 or more qualified health plans offered in the individual market within a State which cover the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or any dependent (as defined in section 152) of the taxpayer and which were enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under 1311 [1] of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The judiciary’s first responsibility is to determine whether a law is constitutional. If it passes that test, the next test is to determine whether the statute gives the executive branch the authority to take action.

In this instance, the DC Circuit ruled that the ACA didn’t give the executive branch, in this case the IRS, the authority to change a major provision of the statute.

It isn’t radical to think that the executive branch doesn’t have the authority to rewrite specific provisions of existing statutes. If the Supreme Court validates this ruling and if President Obama wants that provision changed, there’s a simple remedy: work with Congress to change that part of the ACA.

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Now that people are questisoning some of Chancellor Rosenstone’s decisions, like his decision to pay a consulting firm $2,000,000 or the Trustees’ decision to extend Chancellor Rosenstone’s contract before giving him a performance review, perhaps it’s time to ask what his qualifications were. This chart shows that Rosenstone wasn’t as qualified as the other finalist:

It’s too late to void Chancellor Rosenstone’s sweetheart deal but it isn’t too late to question whether the Trustees serve a useful purpose. Based on this side-by-side comparison and their decision to hire a less qualified candidate, I’d argue that their decisionmaking abilitie are questionable at best.

Further, it’s time to admit that Gene Pelowski, Bud Nornes, Michelle Fischbach and Terry Bonoff haven’t done the job Minnesotans needed them to do. Their refusal to conduct oversight hearings is an indictment against their chairmanships.
What Minnesota needs is for the Trustees to disappear and for the legislature to play a more hands-on role in MnSCU, especially with regards to hiring chancellors and negotiating the chancellor’s contracts. I don’t want people who can’t be held accountable to make these important decisions. I expect people who can be held accountable at election time to make these decisions.

The best way to produce terrible results is to look the other way and not demand explanations for important decisions. Part of why Chancellor Rosenstone is making questionable decisions is because he wasn’t qualified. Another reason why he’s making questionable decisions is because he isn’t disciplined when he makes decisions like hiring a do-nothing consulting firm for $2,000,000.

I can’t say that Minnesota’s higher ed system is worthless. I can say, however, that MnSCU has made lots of foolish spending decisions that shouldn’t have gotten made.

That’s why MnSCU reform should be a high priority for the next legislature.

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About an hour ago, I got this email notification from the Torrey Westrom for Congress campaign:

Sen. Bill Weber Endorses Torrey Westrom for Congress

Cites Westrom’s Integrity and Common Sense in Endorsement Statement

(ALEXANDRIA, Minn.) – Today, Torrey Westrom, candidate for Minnesota’s 7th congressional District, announced the endorsement of Sen. Bill Weber (R-District 22), who has served with Westrom in the Minnesota Senate and cited the integrity and common sense Westrom would bring to Washington, D.C.

“I am honored to support Torrey Westrom for the Seventh District Congressional seat. His knowledge of the issues, his experience in St. Paul and his personal values make him an excellent choice to represent the people of the 7th District in Washington D.C.,” Sen. Weber said in his endorsement statement. “Serving with him in the Minnesota Senate makes me confident that Torrey has the integrity and common sense that is sorely lacking in our nation’s Capitol and which is needed now more than ever!”

“I am honored to have the endorsement of my friend and Senate colleague, Bill Weber, who knows that Washington could use a lot more of our Minnesota values,” Westrom said. “The 7th District needs a representative who will fight government waste and overreach, while standing up for a balanced budget and common sense policies.”

Westrom is a top recruit in the race to replace Collin Peterson, and was named one of the first “Young Guns” in the 2014 election cycle by national Republicans. Westrom was dubbed “Collin Peterson’s worst nightmare” by the examiner.com, and Politico said, “Peterson is expected to face a tough race in Minnesota’s 7th District.”

It isn’t that Collin Peterson’s voting record is as far left as Keith Ellison’s or Nancy Pelosi’s. It’s that he’s a Blue Dog Democrat until Ms. Pelosi tells him to vote for a bill. That’s why he flip-flopped on cap & trade legislation in 2009:

Peterson, the chairman, said Tuesday he voted for the bill only because he knew it wouldn’t become law immediately. He had urged support for the bill after winning concessions that he said would benefit agriculture and ease the impact of higher energy costs on rural residents. “In spite of the fact that they gave me everything I wanted in agriculture…it needs some more work,” he said.

Like I said then, how can a bill still need some work if then-Speaker Pelosi gave him everything Peterson wanted? Taking that sentence literally will give people intellectual whiplash. What’s exceptionally understandable is that Cap & Trade would’ve sent electricity prices skyrocketing for hard-working farmers in the 7th District.

Rather than trying to figure out what Peterson is saying, the 7th would be better off with a straight shooter like Torrey Westrom. People won’t need a decoder ring to figure out what Westrom is saying. With Westrom, what you see is what you get. That’s just one reason to vote for him.

Yesterday, I wrote this post about Westrom’s DC priorities:

There’s the Westrom agenda: regulatory reform, coupled with starting over with patient- and family-centered health care, followed by rebuilding America’s outdated energy infrastructure.

Those are three things that the 7th District needs badly. What it doesn’t need is a congressman who’s resting on his laurels instead of fighting for his district.

Federal regulators are hurting farmers in the 7th District. Collin Peterson hasn’t fought the regulators. Torrey Westrom will. That alone is enough justification to vote for Torrey Westrom.

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