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McCollum keeps up the fight

Congresswoman Betty McCollum won 10 of 16 precincts in Woodbury, lost three of four in Afton, won in Newport, and won everywhere in Oakdale in the Nov. 8 election.

McCollum carried Ramsey County, her usual stronghold, and while door knocking she didn't meet anyone who said they weren't going to vote for her.

But, in a phone interview with the Bulletin, McCollum preferred not to analyze the demographics with which her message resonated on Election Day, when the DFL incumbent from St. Paul handily beat Republican challenger Greg Ryan of Roseville. She noted that affluent areas like Summit Avenue are in her 4th Congressional District, as well as the east metro including Woodbury.

McCollum finished with a 203,299 (58 percent) to 121,033 (34 percent) victory. Susan Pendergast Sindt, a Legal Marijuana Now candidate from Maplewood, got 27,152 votes (8 percent).

McCollum won every district in Oakdale. She narrowly won in Newport.

Ryan won six precincts in Woodbury, five of them in the southwest part of the city. He narrowly won in Afton.

McCollum talked about Republicans holding onto the U.S. Congress and gaining control of the White House — disappointments of the election.

"It's more than that," she said. "I'm concerned."

Despite soon being "in the minority of the minority" in Washington, McCollum said, she will not walk away from issues that will affect the people of her district — a fix rather than repeal of the Affordable Care Act, protecting the environment via solutions to climate change and renewable energy initiatives, women's reproductive rights and equality.

President-elect Donald Trump's mean-spirited campaign and hateful speech has led to concern and uncertainty, McCollum said. "Here in the 4th District, Twin Cities and Minnesota, people do not support an agenda that repeals women's rights, attacks workers' rights."

Minnesotans don't support racial profiling, a crackdown on immigration, discrimination against people for where they worship or who they choose to love, McCollum said.

"I'm a loyal American and my role and job is to stand and protect the Constitution," McCollum said, "and support the hopes and dreams and aspirations of the people I directly represent in my district."

Republicans don't have a mandate, since Trump won the electoral college but not the popular vote, McCollum added, but "people who voted for Donald Trump, they're expecting him to deliver on his promises. We need to hold him accountable until he repeals some of his dangerous agenda."

She already came through on her promise not to back down when she publicly spoke about Stephen Bannon's appointment as Trump's chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon is the former executive director of Breitbart News and a leader in the alt-right movement. White nationalists have praised the appointment.

"The fact that Republicans have been silent on Bannon's appointment is a disturbing sign," McCollum said Nov. 14 on the U.S. House of Representatives floor. "It shows that the Republican Party has embraced Trump's campaign of blatant sexism, racial bigotry and religious intolerance. This un-American ideology must be confronted both here in Congress and in our communities."

McCollum expressed alarm about reports of Russian hacking, but she said she can't confirm or deny the reports.

"I've got a lot of questions that I'm going to be asking at classified briefing," she said.

McCollum, when talking with the Bulletin, called for commonsense Republicans to keep the President-elect in check.

She believes her Republican colleagues are on alert after the appointment and share concern about Trump's agenda, as well.

"This is a little different than when President Bush won in 2000," McCollum said, recalling President George W. Bush's campaign on economic policies.

Will the Republicans be effective in pushing forward the President-elect Trump's agenda? "That's what we're going to find out," McCollum said.

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