Tom Emmer wasted no time in making a name for himself at the state Capitol when he first took office in 2005. Upon joining the Legislature, he immediately drew headlines by introducing legislation that would allow for chemical castration of sex offenders. He then attempted to strip the Minnesota AIDS Project, the state's largest AIDS service organization, of all state funding. Among his other ideas: "sexual predator" license plates, the elimination of subsidized care for pregnant illegal immigrants, and a total ban on gambling. This legislative session, the Delano Republican (who was re-elected last year with 61 percent of the vote) has tried to push legislation that would require drug testing for people who receive welfare benefits. Further, citing property rights, the state rep is on the record as a vehement opponent of the statewide smoking ban. Emmer is the anti-Tim Pawlenty, a belligerent, mule-headed conservative who never hesitates to show his fangs. His ideas may border on lunacy, but at least you know where he stands. That, in this era of pandering politicians who want to be on the right side of everything (see the aforementioned governor, for instance), is a trait worth valuing.