I hadn’t had a chance to type up a note before now, but I attended the Tuesday evening 2nd Congressional District Central Committee Meeting. The meeting featured gubernatorial candidate Mayor R.T. Rybak, who gave a well delivered short presentation, and a very informative extended question and answer period.
As usual, the meeting was held at Burnhaven Library in Burnsville. CD2 regularly holds meetings on the second Tuesday of the month, alternating from month to month between the Central and Executive Committees. The next meeting will be an Executive Committee Meeting on December 8. However, the January meeting has been changed to the first Tuesday. The next Central Committee Meeting will be January 5, 2010.
This meeting started off with a discussion of upcoming state DFL meetings, the February caucus and local conventions. CD2 will begin distributing handouts to districts in preparation for the caucus and Senate District conventions. There is also a caucus guide on the DFL website. Don’t forget the DFL caucus is the evening of February 2, 2010.
A few fundraising and party announcements were made. Check the candidate’s websites for parties, fundraising and volunteer activities. Those mentioned were Dan Powers, Derrick Lindstrom, Roberta Gibbons, Will Morgan, Mike Obermueller and Patty Fritz.
After the fundraising and meeting discussion, conversation turned to the location for the CD2 convention to be held April 10, 2010. The last couple CD2 conventions have been held in Faribault. CD2 is exploring the idea of holding the 2010 convention on the western side of the district. CD3 and CD7 are also having their convention April 10, and a western location would make it easier for candidates to travel between the conventions. A small group is going to investigate location options.
Mike Germaine discussed the idea of making an effort to encourage the media in CD2 to be less biased to the right. He encouraged progressives to be more vocal when reporters and editors report in a biased manner. Letters to the editor have long been considered the alternative to politically slanted pieces; however, history has proven that letters with alternative views to the editor are accepted less often. Mike suggests calling reporters directly to explain your concern, and try to get reporters to be a little more concerned about telling both sides.
State Senator Jim Carlson spoke briefly discussing Governor Pawlenty, and the need for the DFL Senate leaders to take on a bigger leadership role with the regular absence of the governor. He also discussed that a lot of us do not realize just how big a financial crisis the state is facing. He specifically mentioned Tom Bakk’s leadership in trying to get that message out. On an aside, Tom Bakk will be speaking at the December 8, CD2 meeting
Mayor R.T. Rybak slipped into the meeting during Senator Carlson’s remarks. He was next to speak. R.T. Rybek gave a presentation that was very specific to CD2. While it modeled his regular stump speech, he threw in a lot of references specific to CD2. Often, candidates have their standard introduction speech, talking about the same points, using the same phrases, in the same order. When you see a candidate more than a couple times, you tend to zone out a little bit. R.T. Rybak has his standard lines about transit needs, how he managed the city well, ”no other candidate can say they have managed government money better,” etc. But, he also personalized the message a little bit talking about previous visits to CD2 while campaigning for Obama, visiting fundraisers, and his CD2 family heritage. One of the funniest moments was when he mentioned he won the kolache eating contest in New Prague. I had heard that story before somewhere. But the funny part was when he added:
“The good thing is I won the contest, the bad thing is they were prune kolaches.”
A few points that I really liked about Mayor Rybak’s presentation:
- I loved his attitude about dealing with tough negotiations. He was asked a question about LRT, and he got very serious and even seemed annoyed by certain groups not negotiating in good faith. He seems to me like a tough manager.
- I like the fact that he can say Minneapolis taxes and fees spending rose only one percent (sorry about the error. See the comment below.) while he has been mayor. No state candidate, including “no new tax” Republicans can say that when you consider the “fees” that have been approved by state spending rose 12% under Pawlenty’s watch.
- I like that he mentioned it is easier to keep and expand manufacturing in Minnesota than lure new plants to the state.
- I trust that he is going to sell Minnesota when he travels, not run for higher office, or take government paid vacations.
Overall, I really like R.T. Rybak. He is fun, but serious. I sat at a banquet with him a while back, and he called my wife after the dinner just to be funny and try to get her support. I have not decided who to support, but I have eliminated seven of the 12 DFL candidates. R.T. Rybak is high my list.