Erik Paulsen (born May 14, 1965) is the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 3rd congressional district, serving since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. He previously served in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district, the wealthiest of the state's eight congressional districts, is located in the western portion of the Twin Cities including Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Minnetonka and Wayzata.
Early life, education, and business career
Paulsen grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, graduating from Chaska High School, in 1983. He attended St.
Olaf College, receiving a BA degree in mathematics, in 1987. During his time at St. Olaf, he met his future wife, Kelly. Paulsen worked as a business analyst for Target Corporation at its headquarters in Minneapolis.
Early political career
Paulsen got his start in politics as an intern staff member for Senator Rudy Boschwitz and then joined Representative Jim Ramstad in Washington, D.C.. After working two years for Ramstad, Paulsen served as a state director for Ramstad's Third Congressional District in Minnesota.
Paulsen was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1994 and served seven terms before announcing his bid for United States Congress in Minnesota's Third District in January 2008.
Paulsen served as Majority Leader from 2002–2006 and served on the Commerce and Labor, Rules and Legislative Administration, Taxes and Ways and Means committees.
U.S. House of Representatives
Paulsen won a three-way race for Minnesota's Third Congressional District in November 2008. His U.S. House candidacy was announced after the incumbent, Jim Ramstad (a Republican), announced his retirement in 2007, which gave an opportunity for both major parties to field potential candidates. Shortly after he announced his retirement, Congressman Ramstad endorsed Paulsen and served as the Chairman of Paulsen's Steering Committee. Paulsen was a speaker at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Paulsen won the election with 48.48% compared to Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee Ashwin Madia's 40.85%, with Independence Party of Minnesota candidate David Dillon pulling 10.56%.
While not achieving an absolute majority, Paulsen defeated Madia by about 30,000 votes.
Paulson won re-election with 59% of the vote against Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party challenger Jim Meffert.
During the race, Meffert filed a complaint with the United States House Committee on Ethics claiming that Paulsen distributed a deliberately misleading mailing to his constituents using the franking privilege afforded to House members. The committee has yet to act upon the complaint.
Paulsen is a member of the Committee on Financial Services, the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, the Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. He is a member of the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership.
Paulsen supports continuing Bush-era tax cuts and global free trade agreements.
Paulsen opposes a public health care option, saying it would represent a "government takeover" of health care. Instead, he supported a Republican alternative plan. At a April 7, 2010, GOP rally in Minneapolis, Paulsen described the recently enacted health care reform law as a "government takeover of health care," a claim that Minnesota Public Radio states "isn't correct."
Paulsen has called for an end to Minnesota's ban on building nuclear power plants, saying that "trying to meet our energy needs without using nuclear energy is a little bit like trying to row a boat with one oar."
Paulsen voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (2009), an effort to curb emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
Paulsen voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, citing its high cost to current and future taxpayers.
Paulsen voted against The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009.
Paulsen voted against a bill repealing the U.S.
military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy in favor of allowing individuals who have openly acknowledged their homosexuality to serve. He voted against several employment discrimination law amendments in 2009, as well as a bill that would have, among other intentions, expanded the definition of hate crimes to include “felonies motivated by prejudice based on national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the victim.” However, he is in favor of increased support for local crime-fighting organizations and police forces, and voted in support of required background checks for school athletic coaches.
Paulsen voted repeatedly in 2010 against extending benefits to unemployed Americans.
Paulsen opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act intended to prevent pay discrimination against women.
Paulsen has voted multiple times in favor of prohibiting public or federal funding for abortion services. He voted for the Seifert Amendment, which, though rejected, worked to prohibit grants for groups associated with clinics and other establishments that provide abortions.
Paulsen opposed two proposed smoking bans in 2007.
Paulsen voted against a resolution telling the president to remove troops and armed forces from Pakistan.
Paulsen introduced the Text a Tip Act to the House in 2010. This bipartisan legislation would allow users to send tips about crimes to a third party, which would remove all identifying information about the user before forwarding the message to the police. The act is currently being reviewed by the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
Paulsen cosponsored a draft of the Small Business Assistance and Relief Act in 2010, to provide increased lending and aid for small businesses and ease their financial encumbrances.
Paulsen voted against a bill to fund medical treatment for 9/11 first responders and victims.
Paulsen voted against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeat Act, a bill that passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support and was signed into law allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military.
Paulsen voted in favor of the Federal budget plan for fiscal 2012 that, among other provisions, provided for substantial overhaul of the Medicare program including replacement of the traditional program with vouchers for private health insurance coverage for Americans currently under age 55.
The Paulsens had four daughters as of 2008, Cassie, Briana, Tayler, and Liesl, and have a district residence in Eden Prairie.
Paulsen coaches his daughters' soccer teams, and teaches Sunday School (he is a member of the Victory Lutheran Church). In his community, Paulsen serves as a Board Trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and as a board member of the Eden Prairie A Brighter Day Foundation, Habitat for Global Learning, Habitat for Technology and the Southdale YMCA. He is a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders and the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers for Learning Exchange.
Paulsen has participated in the inaugural two-year class of the Aspen Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, the German Marshall Memorial Fellowship, the Young Leaders Forum of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and the American Council of Young Political Leaders. He has been granted a Aspen Institute Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, and a Marshall Memorial Fellowship from the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
December 5th, 2011