A Lack of Competition in the DFL Leadership Races

In a little over a month I will have the honor to represent Senate District 36 in the decision to select new leadership for the DFL party.  Being involved in a decision like this is exactly why I wanted to get involved with the party.  I wanted to have an impact on the direction and the concentration of the DFL.  So it is a little disappointing that there are so few candidates stepping forward to fill leadership roles.

There are five positions that the DFL State Central Committee will be voting for in Cokato on February 5th: Chair, Associate Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and the Affirmative Action Officer.  To date, only one current office holder is seeking reelection, Affirmative Action Officer Frank Brown.  That means we will be electing new people to at least four of the five seats.  The problem is, only the Secretary position has multiple candidates.

The lack of candidates may be the norm.  This is my first year on the State Central Committee (SCC) so I am unsure of the history surrounding previous elections.  I do know that the recent Republican Chair race involved at least three candidates, and the 2005 DFL race involved three candidates.  I’m not sure what to think about an uncontested race.

Ken Martin (SD38) is the only candidate I know of to replace out-going chair Brian Melendez.  Ken is running with Marge Hoffa (SD42) for Associate Chair.  Chances are I would have supported Ken and Marge anyway, but I do wish there were other candidates.  Ken has a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.  I don’t know Ken, but I have heard good things from other people and bloggers, so I won’t be too worried if he gets the nod even without competition.

Tom Hamilton (SD51) is the only candidate for Treasurer that I am aware of.  Tom is currently the treasurer in the 5th Congressional District.  He made an announcement on the State Central Committee Yahoo group page on December 13th and started a Facebook fan page soon after.  A few people have asked him questions via the Yahoo group page, but without competition, there has been very little discourse.

The one race that is competitive has been interesting.  The race for Secretary has two candidates.  Vanessa Blomgren (SD44) and Jacob Grippen (SD31).  Vanessa and Jacob both have websites and both have a good presence on Facebook.  Additionally Vanessa has a Twitter feed.  The technology aspect makes sense since both candidates are in their mid-twenties, but Vanessa also has already contacted me the old fashioned way seeking support, by phone… Yeah, I know there are more old fashioned ways, like mail, but I was born in the 1970’s, the phone is old fashioned.  But the most interesting part of this race is the challenge thrown out by veteran DFLer Jules Goldstein.  Jules challenged each candidate to watch the first hours of the 2010 DFL State Convention on the Uptake’s website and prepare secretary notes.   Today I read each set of notes that were posted by the candidates on the Yahoo Groups page.  Vanessa’s sample notes were concise and simple.  Jacob’s notes were much more detailed.  My preference was Vanessa’s sample, but I think a lot of voters will like the details in Jacob’s sample.

I enjoy the competition going on between the secretary candidates.  I would like to see additional competition for the other candidates.  In the meantime, a blog post to start a discussion is the best thing I can do.  We’ll see what happens on February 5th.

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4 thoughts on “A Lack of Competition in the DFL Leadership Races”

  1. It will be interesting, what I hope is changed is the “writing off of 2010” attitude. The outlook that “losing 4 seats” would not be bad, which led to losing 16 seats. The MN DFL failed many good local legislators, candidates, volunteers and voters. New leadership isn’t good enough to make me believe in the MN DFL organization. I will be waiting to see what they have for a new game plan and that they promise to learn from mistakes (which were huge!) before I fly their flag again.

  2. Thank you Steve for your dedication to the DFL and for this article in particular! In my six (6) years serving as Secretary for various party units (St. Olaf College Dems, SD44, MYDFL, and CD5) I have created a minute taking process that seems to work well. I take very detailed and comprehensive notes during the meeting, writing down as much as I can. After meetings I work though my notes to create minutes that reflect the business that occurred in a straightforward and easy to read format.

    The proposed minutes are submitted for approval and saved in hard and soft copy format. I make it a rule to save my meeting notes along with the minutes in both hard and soft copy format. The approved minutes are the official record of the meeting, but the notes can be used to provide clarification/context when necessary. Both are available to any member of the body who asks to see them.

    I would be happy to share the notes I prepared for this particular challenge if you’d like to see them!

    Vanessa Blomgren
    Candidate for Secretary

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