All posts by Steve

Quist family of five living in Farmington, Minnesota.

Support the experience and integrity of Natalie Hudson for Supreme Court

Judicial primaries and elections are as important as presidential or gubernatorial elections to me, maybe more important.

There is a primary next Tuesday that all Minnesotans have a stake in, even if there is nothing happening specifically in the ballot in your local election world.

When Justice Alan Page was forced to retire last year from the Minnesota Supreme Court at age 70, the state’s mandatory retirement age, he was replaced by Natalie Hudson, a 13-year court of appeals judge and a former MN Assistant Attorney General.  This is not a qualification to serve on the court, however her qualifications are stellar, but she is the only minority on the Court, and I believe it is important that the court be as diverse as our community.

She is being challenged by two people, one who’s major qualification for being a supreme court judge, according to his own answer to a MN Bar questionnaire is “I want to be elected as a Judge because I am unemployed and I want to work.”  The second challenger is Michelle MacDonald.  That name may sound familiar.  A video of her surfaced a couple years ago when she ran for MN Supreme Court speaking at a Republican Convention and saying basically that the Bible is more important in her decision making than the constitution.

I for one agree with her that the Bible is more important than the constitution, but, not for a Supreme Court Justice and not for a government.  Their job is to make decisions based on the constitution and law, not the Bible.

Here is a link to the MNBar Questionnaires for each judicial candidate.  I think when you read these, the answer to number 5 about breaking the law, would make me choose the unemployed lawyer over Michelle MacDonald.  Natalie Hudson is by far the most qualified.  In an MNBar poll, she received 90% of the votes from her colleagues.

I hope you will vote in the Primary next Tuesday and I hope you will vote for Natalie Hudson on the Supreme Court.

Two Takes on Tuesday’s Results: Trump and Clinton

Here is where we stand today. We have less than 20 weeks until the Democratic Party National Convention in Philadelphia, and we have less than 34 weeks until Election Day. I think I hear this every election, and I even may say it myself every election, this election is shaping up to be one of the most important in history.

The results of yesterday’s primaries in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois signaled two things to me. First, the Republican establishment is not going to beat Donald Trump. An ABC exit poll indicated Republican voters are angry at the government, favor an outsider, and feel the United States is falling behind. Trump is right in their wheel house, and winning four of five states yesterday, and finishing second in Ohio far ahead of Ted Cruz, indicates primary voting Republicans want Trump.

The the thing we have to remember as Democrats, is the attitude of those voting Republicans is a minority of the entire voting population, even if they seem to be the most vocal and have their own news network, they are a minority. That notion of a voting minority brings me to my second impression of last night’s results. It is time for Democrats to coalesce behind one candidate for the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton was expected to win four of the five states, but won all five. It is tough for Bernie Sanders supporters to hear, but Clinton’s path to the nomination is virtually a lock. That is not to say we have to stop supporting Bernie’s ideology, he is not going away, but it does mean we need to be pragmatic about this election.

Elections have consequences. They are not the doom and gloom consequence scare tactics to garner votes, after all, President Obama didn’t destroy the country, gas prices did not rocket up, the small increase in income tax didn’t damage the economy, and Iran has not attacked us. The consequences of a presidential election are a world forum to speak and negotiate, veto power, executive actions, and appointments. The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a case in point of the last one.

Mr. Obama has the opportunity to appoint his third Justice to the Court. In addition, Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy are 83 and 79, respectively, and Stephen Breyer is 77. The next President could solidify a court that returns to protecting people, not business and political ideology. Our political system needs to change, and it will not change until the Supreme Court cares about the constitutional freedom of people as individuals over corporate power and cash.

We shouldn’t worry about Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. It is time to be pragmatic about who is going to win the Democratic nomination because it is far more important for overall political plans to move forward. It is admirable to stand by one candidate, and to mourn a loss, or even be angry, but baby steps are often the best method for reaching a goal. It is time for us to begin backing Hillary Clinton and setting her up to win in November. She will make good appointments and continue to lead the charge toward a more fair and progressive nation. It is Hillary’s time.

270 days – The first of 3 consecutive must win election seasons

The process has begun.

270 days from today, DFLers across Minnesota will be gathering for the caucuses. Caucuses are not some statewide election system set up by the secretary of state. Caucuses are local elections organized and run by people like you and me.

Here is Senate District 58, we are in the early stages of planning for the caucuses. 2016 is the first of three must win election years. We cannot wait for 2016 to begin to get serious. We need to retain the presidency in the United States, and we need to win back the state house to stop Republicans from trying to turn Minnesota into Wisconsin or worse, their preferred goal of Mississippi.

We need to be the best organized party in the state, and we need to come out swinging. Can you help us do that?

Here is what we need you to do:

  1. Commit to attending the DFL Caucus on March 1st 2016. Put it on your calendar right now!
  2. Volunteer to help with registration at your precinct’s table at the caucus
  3. Volunteer to help set up the caucus the night of March 1st
  4. Donate $5, $10, or $20 to help DFL58 pay for planning and putting on the caucus
  5. Volunteer for a local candidate, our DFL congressional candidate, or our Democratic presidential candidate.

Together, we can begin turning back the tide of gerrymandered political districts, voter repression and voter apathy. We can affect climate change, poverty, and fairness. We can shift the balance in the Supreme Court, and create a better nation for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. But we can only do it if we have enough people helping us to do it. Margaret Mead famously said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Well, she is right, but let’s make that small group as big as possible! Let’s make the change cataclysmic!

Angie Craig visits Lakeville, her campaign is building steam, and I am jumping onboard

Angie Craig visited with DFL58 on Tuesday night at the DFL58 monthly meeting.  I’d met Angie before in Eagan, when I was sometimes visiting the Eagan DFL group trying to learn from and transfer their successes to Farmington and Lakeville, but I didn’t know her.  What I’ve learned about her since her announcement to challenge John Kline has all been great, but the most distinctive thing that struck me immediately when actually hearing her Tuesday night was her southern accent.

There is something friendly sounding about a person with a certain southern accent.  Maybe it is a Mayberry thing, with that gosh darn sweet Andy Griffith and sweeter Aunt Bea, or maybe it is more chauvinistic, deep down affection for a charming cheerful lilt of a southern girl that I may be offending people with.

Angie has that pleasing accent, not the Texas good ol’ boy accent or the southern sheriff’s deputy accent, it’s the “I’m going to get you a sweet tea, you sit on the couch right there and I’ll be right back in a sec” accent.  Hers is specifically from Arkansas, but if you ask her, she’ll tell you she is from down south, in Eagan, south of the cities.  And while her accent is captivating, it is her story, the drive she seems to have, her integrity that she learned from her mom, and the intelligence and confidence she exudes that make her maybe the best candidates our district has had in the 19 years that I’ve lived in the district.  I don’t want to insult my friend Mike Obermueller, or discount former Congressman Bill Luther’s success, but Angie comes to the table with a different perspective, different political backing, a well thought out plan for success, and an opportunity for national financial backing and support that Mike had little chance of ever receiving.

It is a huge boost for those of us who had begun to feel like all we can do is wait for John Kline to retire.  While many of us felt like if everything fell into place Mike could win, it seems like a whole different race with Angie’s campaign starting to build steam.  Why wait until retirement, let’s make Kline retire!

Her story is a political storyteller’s dream, growing up in a trailer park with a single mom and two siblings.  Her mom worked her way through college to become a teacher and instilled a drive for success in her children.  Angie said despite her surroundings, she always felt like she was going to college and would have success no matter the obstacles.  She did, and rose through the corporate ranks to become an executive in a Fortune 500 company.

But being a Fortune 500 executive did not distort her perspective.  Her story is one of family success through education, college affordability, equality, and opportunity.  She is running for Congress to make sure all families have the same path to success and to preserve the American Dream for future generations.

I was very impressed, and am now very excited.  We still have 18 months until the election, and 11 months until the CD2 DFL endorsing convention, but in an election year with a woman likely leading the ticket for Democrats, what a great opportunity for a woman in CD2 to join her in Washington to change the country for the better.

Pat Garofalo and Jon Koznick squander an opportunity to invest in schools so they can give tax breaks to big business

Ed-Crop Rep BudMy state representative Pat Garofalo-(R) from Farmington and my bordering district’s state representative Jon Koznick-(R) from Lakeville have proposed a state budget that provide $15 in tax giveaways to special interests for every $1 spent on education. In districts that are cutting to solve deficits, prioritizing tax cuts and corporate giveaways over Farmington’s and Lakeville’s students’ education will lead to fewer teachers, bigger class sizes, and little for Minnesota’s youngest learners and future leaders.

Even with a $2 billion projected surplus, House Republicans passed an education funding bill that invests only $156 million in educating the next generation of Minnesotans.

As a community, we need to stop rewarding politicians who think about the current bottom line before they think about the future bottom line. If we are not using public policy to improve the future, our economy will continue to be a rollercoaster ride of unpredictable highs and lows. Right now it seems like the only possible solution is to replace short-sighted politicians like Garofalo and Koznick.