Bachmann campaigns as a 'reformer'
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said voters elected her in 2006 because they believed her conservative voice was needed in Congress. Nearly two years later, Bachmann said she has represented her 6th Congressional District the way her const...
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said voters elected her in 2006 because they believed her conservative voice was needed in Congress.
Nearly two years later, Bachmann said she has represented her 6th Congressional District the way her constituents want: by fighting against higher taxes and bigger government.
"They're sending me to watch out for their pocketbooks," Bachmann said, adding she has stood for lower taxation. "I came to Washington as an outsider and a reformer, and I've stayed that way."
Bachmann, a former state senator, was elected just as Republicans lost control of the House, so she has spent her first term in the minority. She has advocated market-based approaches on issues such as energy, health care and the troubled economy, and has been among the most consistent opponents of major Democratic proposals.
"What I've seen is really almost an addiction by the Democrat majority to stick with the status quo of feeding the big beast of government," she said.
Bachmann's opponents -- Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg and Bob Anderson of the Independence Party -- said she too often has been absent from the district and is a polarizing figure whose support for the president on many issues has not helped the district.
Bachman said while Democrats' House schedule keeps her in Washington longer, she returns to the district on weekends and regularly conducts town-hall forums by telephone.
Bachmann gained two distinctive types of attention during her first term. Early on, she was criticized for her gushing embrace of President Bush at the 2007 State of the Union and for her opposition to energy policy that would phase out incandescent light bulbs, a plan she said chipped away at consumer rights.
In recent months, political talk shows and cable networks increasingly have turned to Bachmann to provide a conservative's opinion on high-profile issues such as offshore oil drilling and the economic crisis.
That recent publicity fits with how she views her position in the minority. Bachmann said she and other Republicans must highlight differences between their proposals and Democrats'.
Bachmann, a married mother of five, said she has at least three legislative accomplishments, despite serving in the minority. She got bills on consumer credit protection and foster parenting passed, along with legislation recognizing Minnesota's 150th birthday. She has worked to influence other bills through her spot on the Financial Services Committee.