Second forum: Angie Craig and Jeff Erdmann

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Jeff Erdmann and Angie Craig made their best pitches to DFLers this week, hoping to win their votes in an endorsement battle that begins with the precinct caucuses on February 6. On Monday in Northfield,the two candidates for congress in Minnesota’s 2nd district answered questions for about 90 minutes on hot-button issues from immigration to health care. They agreed on many issues, perhaps making it a difficult choice for DFL activists. Both have agreed not to run in a primary if the other candidate gets the endorsement.

This is the second of two forums — a third forum in Redwing was cancelled due to the snowstorm that rolled through the area January 22.

Erdmann is a political newcomer. In his first forum, the teacher/football coach from Rosemount read prepared answers to questions. This time he did not. Craig is a veteran of one political campaign. In 2016, the former journalist/health care executive lost against Republican Jason Lewis by less than two percentage points in a three-way race.

Craig aimed many of her comments at people who were not in the room — Lewis and President Donald Trump. “The President’s comments this weekend were indefensible and they were racist,” said Craig about Trump’s reported “shithole countries” remark that was aimed at immigrants from African nations. “And I called that out and I will continue to call that out when I see it and I think we all should.” On immigration she says the system is broken and people will go around the system. Dreamers — children of parents who brought them to this country illegally — “they deserve a path to citizenship,” said Craig.

Erdmann agreed with Craig on immigration policy and said our economy needs immigrants because infrastructure projects and clean energy industries will be creating jobs faster than U.S. citizens can fill them. “We are at 4% unemployment right now. We’re going to need to bring people in to create, to go after and fill those jobs. So I think we need to absolutely expand our work visa program so that we are prepared to make sure we can accommodate those jobs.”

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