The little Savage Library meeting room was standing room only for the CD2 Central Committee Meeting held on the evening of Tuesday, June 9, 2009. At one point, I counted 41 people in attendance, with at least 4 sitting on the window ledge and four standing because there were not enough chairs. It may have even been a little higher attendance, I only counted to see the number of people who were there when candidate for Governor John Marty spoke.
It becomes old hat for regular meeting attendees to visit with candidates. I think I heard the Chair of CD2 say the group has heard from five different candidates for governor so far. Besides Senator Marty, this meeting of the Central Committee also heard from Senator John Doll of SD40, who wasn’t speaking as a candidate, but was prodded to the front of the room in Senator Marty’s absence. CD2 Congressional candidate Dan Powers spoke for a couple minutes about his personal history. Candidate Mike Germain running for State Senate in SD37 spoke for a minute, followed by an opponent also seeking the DFL endorsement in SD37, Roberta Gibbons.
But if there was a keynote speaker for this event, it would have been Senator John Marty. His presentation was definitely the highlight of the meeting. It is no secret that I have not been a huge fan of John Marty, but he impressed me tonight. He stood in front of the room, looking both casual and gubernatorial in a blue blazer and khaki pants. He addressed his loss in 1994, which is my regular knock on him. He quieted those concerns by pointing out that the themes in his 1994 campaign, equality, healthcare and the environment did not match the Newt Gingrich “Contract On America” which dominated the political spectrum that year. His themes are much more relevant today.
And he is absolutely right. There has been a big change that has occurred over the last six to eight years. That change is really pushing the same issues John Marty was espousing a decade before. Senator Marty’s presentation centered on the idea of looking ahead 20 years, and in a sense, he was looking ahead 20 year, 20 years ago.
What I really liked about John Marty’s presentation was his emphasis on standing up for what you believe in, even if it is unpopular. In 1999 and 2000, he was the only Senator to vote no on the state’s tax cuts. He didn’t vote no because he loves taxes. He voted no because he didn’t believe the tax cuts were sustainable. Looking at our last couple budgets, it sure seems like he was right.
He also is a leader in the proposal the create the MN Health Plan. Senator Marty stressed that compromises will not solve the problem. It is worth it to fight for the goal. I could be swayed to move him to the graylist.