Paul Thissen, the future of the DFL

It is official today.  I have narrowed my choice for governor down to one candidate, Paul Thissen.  It is not like this is a momentous occasion or anything; I just want to be open about it as we get down to crunch time.  The only reason I am even announcing my choice is because a couple people have speculated that I lean too much to one candidate or another.  One friend even told me I was obviously a “closet Mark Dayton” supporter.  I like most of the candidates and think most of them, if not all of them, could win the general election.  But, since I have decided to support Paul Thissen, I felt it was worthwhile to post it.   

While I will be supporting Paul personally, I still plan on maintaining a level of impartiality on  I think it is important to keep working to November.  Any one of ten candidates might make it that far, and I would support that candidate.  That said, I will attend the caucus in five weeks with the intention of attending the SD36 convention as a Thissen supporter.

So why do I like Paul?  I think he is intelligent, energetic and optimistic.  He is authentic, and I think he connects with people.  He cares about people, and realizes the importance of healthcare for all.  Paul Thissen is concerned about Minnesota families as they struggle to survive in this economy.  He is looking to the future to make things better for the long run, not just from election cycle to election cycle.  I think what Paul Thissen brings to the table is what the future of the DFL party needs to be.  In that sense, Paul Thissen may be the future of the DFL.


4 thoughts on “Paul Thissen, the future of the DFL”

  1. After I read your article, I went to Thissen’s Web site for more info. He is an impressive candidate. I’m leaning toward Bakk at the moment, but my support for him is not set in cement.

  2. When the Vikings season started, the conventional wisdom was that this would be a running team with Adrian Peterson as featured “star”. The best laid plans only work on paper … defenses promote different tactics (tackle the ball not the runner, stack the box, etc.). In the end, it wasn’t a strong running game, but instead the featured “star” who passed for over 4,000 yards that made it a successful season.

    Hence, I thought “playing devil’s advocate” would be appropriate. Recognizing that Paul Thiseen may be an intelligent, energetic and caring person with a long-range view, but sometimes the defense dictates the game plan … and that’s the BIG question … how will Thiseen react to the TaxEnoughAlready defense ?

    Here’s a couple quick questions that may offer insight as to how Senator Thiseen can “audible” to counter what the defense wants to do.

    Pawlenty’s 21st Century Tax Reform Committee issued a number of suggestions to reduce business taxes. Objectively, Minnesota does not fare well when stacked up against other states (especially our neighbors). Overall, the recommendations were well received by DFL and MN-GOP members of the legislature … but the sticking point was how to replace the lost revenue. Would Senator Thiseen want to impliment any of the recommended changes … and how would the revenue be made up ? Does it make sense to cut corporate income taxes that are high in comparison to other states and increase the property taxes which are low in comparison ? {The objective of the question is to show to the TEA-partiers that it’s who pays taxes and what funding sources are used to get them … cutting corporate taxes may not be as well received if it means that their property taxes go up.}

    In 2007, Governor Pawlenty vetoed a bill that Senator Thiseen supported that would have provided property tax relief while increasing state aid to education, adjusting aid to cities and towns, etc. At that time, the revenue would come from raising income taxes on those making big bucks (i.e. north of $200k). Does Senator Thiseen still support that concept ?

    In 2005, Senator Thiseen voted in favor of Pawlenty’s ethanol 20% by 2020 plan — but that legislation has largely created a taxpayer subsidy for the ethanol industry … the state is facing billions of dollars of budget deficits yet the fiscal 2009 budget includes $8,363,000 in ethanol subsidy (and the $12,168,000 scheduled for 2010; another $12,168,000 for 2011; and further out it continues as $19,790,000 is scheduled for fiscal 2012-2013.) Does Senator Thiseen believe that it is better to cut other spending (local government aid; delaying payments to taxpayers and school boards; eliminating property tax refunds for low income renters; and funding for the General Assistance Medical Care program) … or cut the ethanol subsidy ?

    Another issue that the defense will propose is to limit welfare benefits for new residents. For example if the current requirement is 30 days residency, a common proposal would be to provide 60% of the general assitance benefits for new childless residents after 90 days. {The TEA-party folks will want no benefits ever … but the idea is to discuss the issue in a terms that is universally accepted by MN-GOP legislators. Also it gives an opportunity to show that the financial impact is much smaller than the hype. } How will Senator Thiseen respond on this issue ?

    These type of questions address the “game” the opposition wants to play — spending and taxes. Senator Thiseen may not be seen as the current “star” of the team … but he could be. He has a lot to offer … and as an independent voter, I would be very glad to seem him get the nomination. In fact one area that I believe could be an “opportunity” would be from his legislative assignment on Telecommunications Regulation and Infrastructure Division Committee. The Ultra-High Speed Task Force (created through Senate File 1918) released its report in November on Minnesota’s broadband needs. Currently only one county meets the currently accepted standards while some are extremely behind (Cook at 37%) … Minnesota’s broadband adoption in the metro area is 57% while rural broadband is at 39.4% according to a Pew Internet project. This is a great opportunity for jobs in a public-private partnership especially since the federal Recovery Act Broadband Program is no starting to approve projects … South Dakota just got $20.6 million to add 140 miles of middle mile spurs
    … thus South Dakota will not only have a tax advantage over Minnesota but also a broadband advantage to attract new business. For example, state economic development officials were helping a company look for up to 500 acres of land within 30 minutes of a major airport and close to a railroad. Lake County could provide both but it lost out because it did not have one other requirement: A high-speed Internet fiber connection. The lost opportunity meant 150 jobs were lost. Does your city need this ? On the front page of the City of Farmington website is a hyperlink entitled “ Dakota County Needs Next Generation Broadband!

    Today, Minnesota may be competing with neighboring states for business, but tomorrow, the competition will be world-wide … and Minnesota (and the United States) are already behind.

  3. FYI : You may have a lot of company in the Thissen camp as more and more people are moving to Thissen’s side … at least enough that an endorsing convention could lead to seeing him as a candidate that others can coalesce around.
    The latest is from TakeAction Minnesota which solicted votes online through website and in person voting in Brooklyn Park.
    Members were encouraged to vote for their top three choices of governor candidates, the candidates who best matched the spirit of the reNEW Minnesota campaign and who:

    – most boldly embraced a progressive vision for Minnesota
    – have a solid plan to win the November election
    – will work with TakeAction Minnesota once elected to implement the vision
    – inspires people to give time and money to help get them elected

    The results of the TakeAction Minnesota vote, cast by a total of 643 voting members, were as follows:

    Rybak 336 votes

    Thissen 264 votes

    Anderson Kelliher 261 votes

    Marty 250 votes

    Dayton 138 votes

    Entenza 105 votes

    Kelley 104 votes

    Rukavina 92 votes

    Bakk 48 votes

    Gaertner 46 votes
    The top three become their preferred candidates.

    It’s a good strategy to endorse a candidate that can appeal to a broad appeal from motivated activists rather than being self-financed.

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