Martin Sabo, Democrat

Martin Sabo is seeking his 14th term as the Democratic incumbent for the U.S. Congressional District 5.

Kari Petrie

Rep. Martin Sabo, D-Minn., has served U.S. Congressional District 5 since 1978 and is now seeking his 14th term in office.

Sabo said his experience in Congress and his 17-year tenure in the Minnesota House of Representatives make him a strong candidate for re-election.

“I like to think I do a good job,” he said. “But I always take (campaigning) seriously.”

But Tony Richter, vice president of the College Republicans, said it is time for a change in the district and someone with a new plan and new ideas needs to be elected.

“The Democrats are all about hate speak and criticism,” he said. “That’s not what the district wants.”

Chris Montana, president of the College Democrats of Minnesota, said Sabo has always represented students’ interests.

“He’s a good guy,” he said. “He votes with his conscience.”

Montana said Sabo wouldn’t continue to be re-elected if he wasn’t doing a good job, because he represents a district where “Democrats grow on trees.”

“There’s a horde of people behind (Sabo) to take over if (he’s) not doing a good job,” he said.

As a member of the homeland security and defense subcommittees in Congress, Sabo said he is experienced in foreign policy.

Sabo was one of the few in Congress to vote against going to war with Iraq, and he now calls the situation there “chaos.”

But, he said, it’s the government’s job to continue with the situation and find a peaceful solution.

“We created the war, it’s our responsibility to deal with the consequences,” Sabo said.

Richter said the war is justified because of the deaths that occurred under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

“President (George W.) Bush made it very clear why the war was justified,” he said. “I do feel safer (since the war started).”

Sabo said terrorism is another issue that concerns people. But if people have a fear of going about their normal business because of a threat of terrorism, then the terrorists have achieved their goal, Sabo said.

“Clearly, Osama bin Laden poses a threat,” he said.

There are still more things that the government can do to keep people safe, Sabo said. The government needs to be more aggressive in obtaining nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union and in securing chemical plants.

There must also be cargo checks on airplanes, Sabo said. He said the biggest challenge is helping people deal with the psychological fear.

“People are fearful of the unknown,” he said.

Currently, the government is seeking the advice of academics on how to make Americans feel safer, Sabo said.

But he said people are safer than they were during the Cold War.

“We live in an open and free society,” he said. “So you can’t protect people from everything.”