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Anxiety over refugees features at Crow Wing County GOP convention

Close to 200 delegates from the Crow Wing County Republicans assembled Saturday for the group's 2016 convention amid a heated presidential race. The convention in the cafeteria of Central Lakes College featured speeches from conservative candidat...

Candidate for U.S. Congress Stewart Mills speaks to the Crow Wing County Republicans' convention Saturday at Central Lakes College. Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch
Candidate for U.S. Congress Stewart Mills speaks to the Crow Wing County Republicans' convention Saturday at Central Lakes College. Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch
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Close to 200 delegates from the Crow Wing County Republicans assembled Saturday for the group's 2016 convention amid a heated presidential race.

The convention in the cafeteria of Central Lakes College featured speeches from conservative candidates, including candidate for U.S. Congress Stewart Mills. Mills is mounting his second challenge to incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan.

In his speech to the crowd, Mills hit Nolan on budget priorities, health care and foreign policy.

"He is somebody that thinks we're not paying enough in taxes," he said of Nolan. "You want a job-killer, you just look at the progressive budget that he voted for."

Mills also spoke at length about the issue of Syrian refugees being resettled in the United States. He said Nolan wants to bring in 100,000 Syrian refugees into this country.

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"We don't know who these people are," Mills said. "We cannot vet them. We told Rep. Nolan, 'We cannot vet these people.' Our hearts go out to them. Absolutely, positively our hearts go out to these people. We should help them, and we should help them (in Syria). But bringing them into our country doesn't benefit them, because when that war's over, who's going to be there to rebuild their country? It doesn't benefit us. Because we have to put America and Americans first."

In addition, Mills criticized Nolan for supporting the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where terror suspects are incarcerated.

"He wants to bring those inmates to our soil," Mills said. "Even if they wind up in a maximum security prison, they have access to our constitutional rights: to counsel. To our tax dollars. You know what? Guantanamo Bay is a perfect place for them."

Other speakers included Republican lawmakers in the Minnesota Legislature running for re-election. Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, and Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, all spoke.

 

Election year's resolutions

The conventiongoers also voted on resolutions, or general statements of policy, they'd like to see in their party's platform.

As is common during local political conventions, the resolution phase was bogged down by people trying to offer amendments to the resolutions in an attempt to address technical minutiae that would only need to be addressed if the language was actually becoming law.

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Nevertheless, during hours of deliberations the convention managed to hammer out a number of resolutions, mostly on social issues.

A resolution on education was split into two parts, only one of which passed. Language stating opposition to the Common Core program was successful, but the second part of the resolution expressing a desire that "God, Prayer and Religious Holidays" be put back in schools failed after attendees brought up the question of which religions in particular would be allowed.

A resolution under the "Public Safety" section wanted states, counties, cities and townships to "either approve or deny the resettlement of 'refugees' within their corporate limits." A resolution in the "Strengthen the Rule of Law" section wanted Minnesota to require a minimum of one year's residency for someone to eligible for welfare. Another in that section resolved that "Sharia Law be illegal in any and all of the states, possessions and territories of the United States of America."

Approved resolutions now advance for consideration at the 8th District Convention scheduled for April 29-30 in Park Rapids. The state-level party convention is May 20-21 in Duluth.

Visit the Crow Wing County Republicans website at www.crowwingrepublicans.info/ to view a complete list of delegates elected Saturday to represent the county at the 8th District and state conventions.

 

ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser .

Related Topics: ELECTION 2016
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