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EDITORIAL: Bachmann must return to serving 6th District

St. Cloud Times, Minn.

Jan. 08–Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann has ended her presidential campaign after getting about 5 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses.

Bachmann put a tremendous amount of personal energy into her campaign after winning the Iowa Republican Straw Poll vote in August. Despite her appeal to tea party activists, evangelicals and hardline conservatives, few Iowa voters bought Bachmann’s message.

After announcing her decision to end her presidential campaign, Bachmann was asked what she planned to do next. She didn’t answer. She smiled and walked past the media.

What this public servant with 11 months left in her term should have said was: “I’m going back to work as the representative from Minnesota’s 6th District. I plan to finish my third term as their champion. I will work to find solutions to problems, including the lack of jobs, and keep taxes from increasing.”

However, Bachmann still has not announced her plans. Some pundits have said these are possibilities:

–Seek re-election to the House after the courts complete redistricting.
–Run against Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
–Become a commentator for a conservative media outlet.
–Become an advocate for some conservative causes.
–Go on a national speaking circuit to promote her stances on issues and make money to help defray any campaign debt.

The Editorial Board encourages her to make the right decision: She should return to being the 6th District representative and work for the citizens who have been paying her salary for about the past six years. She should attend House sessions and show up for votes. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Bachmann missed 91.3 percent, or 190 of 208, House votes. While missing votes is common for members of Congress running for the White House, 91 percent is simply too high.

She also should begin to repair her bonds with 6th District voters who need to see her working on issues — national and regional — that need her attention.

While still defending her core beliefs on the issues, Bachmann must work with the rest of Congress to find compromise to end gridlock on key issues. The fact that her native Iowans rejected some of her more extreme stances on issues should help her reset her message to address the really important issues of the still-weak economy and lack of jobs.

That is what people expect in the 6th District.

Welcome back, Rep. Bachmann. You still have 11 months to be an “Iron Lady” for your district.

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