EVELETH, MN- Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich of Eveleth has some strong words for his fellow Iron Range Democrats: “Vote for Trump and Mills.”
In a July 30, 2016 Letter to the Editor published by The Mesabi Daily News, Vlaisavljevich makes his feelings clear about the state of the current DFL Party with “You have wealthy ‘trust fund babies’ telling us how we should live and use our environment. Their own wealth was gained on the backs of working Americans,” he said, “while polluting the environment. To add insult to injury, they want us to sacrifice our jobs for their political agenda.”
During the 2016 Legislative session, one of the major battles between the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House was over extending unemployment benefits for unemployed Iron Range workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Minnesota’s Iron Range has been averaging more than double the rate of the rest of Minnesota. In January 2016, unemployment was hovering around 9%, when the rest of Minnesota was under 4%. Ultimately, the unemployment benefits extension was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dayton in March.
The battle over the unemployment benefits extension revealed a larger issue beyond the giving unemployed rangers benefits; It revealed the reasons for the large numbers of unemployed workers in the Iron Range. Relief could have been supplied by the opening of the $650 million Twin Metals PolyMet Mining project near Ely, MN.
As AlphaNews reported in March 2016: The Twin Metals website states they planned to spend $2.8 billion to construct the underground mine that could employ 850 full-time workers, operate for 30 years, “and will generate some 12 million labor hours during a roughly three-year construction period.” The website also cites a University of Minnesota Duluth study, stating, “the Project would generate approximately 1,700-1,900 additional indirect jobs in the region’s economy” (TMM Project Facts).
Governor Dayton strongly opposed the project, sending a letter in early March 2016 to the Twin Metals CEO stating his opposition to a project that, in his opinion, “would cause environmental damage to a Minnesota environmental icon.” (AlphaNewsMN.com March 8, 2016)
In contrast to Governor Dayton, Congressional candidate Stuart Mills has declared himself an advocate of the Iron Range mining industry. On his website, Mills states: “Democrats have waged a decades long battle against all sorts of mining, from coal to iron ore to copper. Democrats, at best, give our mining communities lip service and photo ops. At worst, they weaponize the EPA to shut down our mines or prevent them from ever being developed. In Congress, I will fight the EPA tooth and nail every day and be a proactive advocate of mining projects that are vital to our way of life.”
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that he would eliminate the EPA, and has been supportive of America’s coal miners, gaining unusual support from a union-heavy demographic that has historically voted for Democrats.
Mayor Vlaisavljevich has obviously had enough of the broken promises made by DFL politicians putting environmental lobbyists’ demands above his area’s economic needs when he states:
“The DFL environmentalists want to deprive us of our quality of life and use of our wilderness. These fakes who call themselves Democrats oppose mining, the right to own a gun, freedom of speech, our American values, and the style of life we have on the Iron Range.
It’s time that the real Democrats come out to show what we value most. If this election falls to the liberal radicals, we could very well see the last generation of miners in Minnesota.”
In an ultimate show of rebellion against the party with which he and generations of miners before him have stood, Vlaisavljevich urges Iron Range residents to join him in voting for Donald Trump and Stuart Mills, he writes, “Let’s take control of our destiny and send these liberal phonies back to their “out of state homes…I don’t care what party it is, let’s make them earn our votes. No more blank checks for claiming to be a Democrat.”