ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Eliot Glassheim kicks off U.S. Senate campaign with a call to act

GRAND FORKS -- "It's time to move dirt." The words from Eliot Glassheim are ones he said he shouted during a Grand Forks City Council meeting when it was fighting the 1997 flood, and it's an attitude he is ready to take to Washington. "We cannot ...

Eliot Glassheim formally announces his kickoff for his Senate campaign at the town square in Grand Forks, N.D. on July 14, 2016. (Meg Oliphant/Grand Forks Herald)
Eliot Glassheim formally announces his kickoff for his Senate campaign at the town square in Grand Forks on Thursday. (FNS Photo by Meg Oliphant )

GRAND FORKS -- “It’s time to move dirt.”

The words from Eliot Glassheim are ones he said he shouted during a Grand Forks City Council meeting when it was fighting the 1997 flood, and it’s an attitude he is ready to take to Washington.

“We cannot kick the can down the road any longer,” he said Thursday at Grand Forks’ Town Square during his official kickoff for his U.S. Senate campaign. “We cannot keep putting off difficult decisions for later days. Too many issues have festered for too long.”

Dozens of supporters cheered on the Grand Forks Democrat, who will face incumbent Republican Sen. John Hoeven in the general election in November.

Glassheim and other Democratic candidates in statewide races have a tough campaign to run, especially in a state that favors Republicans, said Chase Iron Eyes, the Democratic U.S. House candidate running against Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, but Democrats will win by being a voice of the people instead of using money as leverage.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Politicians are completely out of touch with real people, and they are fully in touch with big money and too-big-to-fail everything,” Iron Eyes said. “So when we have real human beings led by their spirits and their character, their determination and their inherent dignity, we have candidates who will speak and be the voice of the people. That’s what Eliot is.”

State Sen. Connie Triplett, a Grand Forks Democrat who convinced Glassheim to run against Hoeven, said a bid for national office was the next logical step for him. He is a man who cares about North Dakota and the entire country, said state Rep. Kylie Oversen, a Grand Forks Democrat who serves as the chairwoman of North Dakota Democratic Party.

“Eliot cares deeply about democracy and upholding the values that we hold dear to our hearts in America,” she said.

Glassheim said he was slow to start his campaign -- he didn’t announce his run until the Democrats held their state convention in early April. That pushed the official kickoff back to Thursday, but his campaign is planning a tour of western North Dakota cities in August to speak with voters. He said his strategy against Hoeven is to call out “what has he done that is a mistake and what he hasn’t done.”

“You don’t identify him with any strong positions,” Glassheim said of Hoeven. “He kind of sits back and hides.”

Hoeven’s campaign recently fired back at Glassheim’s claims by stating the Grand Forks state representative supported Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, both of whom opposed fracking and would “weaken our Second Amendment rights.” Hoeven also has a strong track record of job- and economy-building as a former North Dakota governor and as a U.S. senator, his campaign previously said.

But Glassheim called Hoeven a rubber stamp for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., calling into question whether he would do the same if Republican Donald Trump were elected president.

Glassheim highlighted his goals of making sure Social Security was available for future generations, increasing minimum wages, making community college free for those who couldn’t afford it, lowering student loan burdens, improving deteriorating infrastructure and helping women earn equal pay.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s 2016, and it’s about time women were treated equally,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Glassheim also criticized what he called a “do-nothing Congress.”

“I’m sick of all of this,” he said. “The dysfunction has to stop.”

The issues Congress must move to address are more important than party lines, Glassheim said, adding he will bring the sense of urgency he had during the Red River flood to Capitol Hill in an attempt to find solutions.

“Donald Trump says we need to make America great again,” he said. “That will only happen if we can get our Congress working again.”

What To Read Next
Neil Joseph Pfeifer was released Friday, Feb. 3, on $5,000 cash bail.
State lawmakers hear from both sides as parents and educators weigh in on the potential impact of the bill
“We see that when things happen in the coastal areas, a few years later, they start trending toward the Midwest,” said Rep. Ben Krohmer, serving his first term in the House.
Stark County prosecutors prepare for pretrial conferences and jury trials scheduled for March