Category Archives: Pat Garofalo

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.

A Tale of Two Cities: The Plight of Local Politics

A tale of two cities…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was…”          -Charles Dickens

With just days until the 2014 election, Minnesota candidates were just required to submit their campaign financial data to the state to make it public record.  In my district, 58, Lakeville/Farmington and most of the rest of Southern Dakota County, the campaigns on the A and B sides are vastly different.

On the 58A side, which is most of Lakeville, Amy Willingham and Jon Koznick are competing against each other to win the open seat vacated by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg.  The two candidates are very evenly matched in donations, with Koznick edging out Willingham $41,964.77 to $41,558.29.  Together they have collected over $83,000!  That is a huge number in our area.  To put that in perspective, in 2012, Mary Liz Holberg and Colin Lee raised $26,433 collectively, and if you add in the 58th district senate race between Dave Thompson and Andrew Brobston, the total for all four candidates was $68,291.  Willingham and Koznick, have spent more than those four candidates raised in 2012.

On the other side of the district in 58B, the numbers are nowhere similar.  Incumbent Rep. Pat Garofalo has raised $13,038 this year, of course he started the year with over $52,000 in the bank, so he didn’t have to raise much, and Marla Vagts raised $7,065.  Together they raised just over $20,000, and one quarter of that was from the state public subsidy.

In summary, A side = $83,000. B side = $20,000.

It is understandable, that the A side would be higher, it is an open and contested seat, but there is another side to look at on the A side.  Both Willingham and Koznick have received over $5,000 each in individual identified donations from outside the district, and combined, have received over $10,000 from PACs and lobbyists.  In addition, together they have over $35,000 in unidentified donations, which probably increases those outside the district contributions.

Of course that is not surprising.  There are so many groups trying to influence elections, I expect it.  But that does not make it right.  Koznick and Willingham have raised more money from outside the district, than Garofalo and Vagts have raised total.  There is a fundamental problem with our election system when other people outside the district have as big of an impact on the election as the local voters – if not a bigger impact on the election.

When I hear people say government doesn’t work, well get a clue!  Where do you think it starts?  Right here, right now, on November 4th, and the 6-10 months leading up to that day.  If we want government to work, our election system needs to change to be about local voters, and local voters only!

The Illogical Rep. Pat Garofalo

On social media today, Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) posted this simple message:


I guess that seems logical.  Of course it is only really logical if you also say to “take money” when there is a deficit.  You know, like the many years of deficits we had under Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Republican led state House?  That statement could be considered completely logical if he would have agreed to raise taxes a small fraction to cover our spending.

I pointed that logic out to Rep. Garofalo, but he was unable to agree with me, saying:

“the [surplus] money belongs to taxpayers”


“the deficit wasn’t by a lack of tax revenue, it was caused by excessive spending.”

Maybe it was excessive spending, but spending on the roads shrank, and state buildings were falling apart, but maybe he is right.  Regardless of whether it was excessive spending or not, the bills were passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, the expenses were encumbered, and we taxpayers became responsible for covering those debts.

If I were to follow Rep. Garofalo’s logic on excessive spending, I could only say that we have a surplus today, so we didn’t spend enough? That doesn’t seem quite right.  Finance is not always black and white, nor is there only one solution.  Representative Garofalo is one of the least logical representatives.  He seems to speak without thinking often.  Let me rephrase that, he hits the “post” button without thinking.  And if he is thinking, his statements can only be an illogical need for reassurance from people who think like him, or a desire to insult others.  It is time for legislators like Pat, and many others, to start being more diplomatic, and to think outside their party box.  It is time for them to stop fanning the flames of partisanship.

Thank you Rep. Garofalo! Maybe next time Sen. Thompson…

At my office, our HR director had all the employees do the Clifton StrenthFinder project.  My top strength is “Includer.” An include is described as:

“You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person’s feelings. Why do that if you don’t have to? Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same. We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.”

If that is true about me, is it any wonder that I believe it is horrible for government to discriminate against gay couples who are lawfully excluded from obtaining the same benefits through committing to each other that straight couples have?

That is why I am very happy today’s vote by the state Senate was a vote for equality in marriage.  Everybody who wants to marry, can be included.

A lot of people in my district were surprised when Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) voted to support the law in the state House.  I actually wasn’t.  I’ve been following Pat Garofalo for years, and I don’t believe he was against gay marriage when he voted to put the amendment on the ballot in 2012.  I just don’t think he had the political guts to stand up the way John Kriesel did.  And I called him out on that before the vote, urging him to vote what he believed, not what was good for him politically.

This time he voted for freedom, and I thank Rep. Garofalo.   And well I commend him, I am proud that the Minnesota DFL took the initiative to tackle this subject despite the impending threat by Republicans that this will divide the state like nothing since the Civil War.  That is absurd!  Anybody who follows politics today knows that topics no longer hold for more than a few months.  Where was the TEA Party in 2012?  Divisive issues holding for decades are a piece of history in politics.  People care about right now almost exclusively, and let’s face it, very few of us are going to be affected by gay marriages, other than a lot of people are going to be buying a bunch of wedding gifts soon.

This will pass and be a nonfactor in 2014.  Sure Republicans will try to use it as an issue, and I certainly hope they do, because it will carry very little weight?  I’m sure Rep. Garofalo will have a challenger, but really what’s the point?  He simply voted to let people make their own life choices without government limiting their abilities to do so.  Isn’t that what conservatives want?  That idea of letting people “make their own life choices” is why I find it funny that Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) who regularly uses the term “nanny state” to describe Minnesota laws, voted to let our Minnesota government continue to make the decision for citizens about who they can or cannot marry.  Do you agree that is hypocritical?

As Sen. Thompson and his nanny state hypocrisy embarks on a run to try and defeat Gov. Mark Dayton, I am thankful that Gov. Dayton also supports this legislation, and that two of the three people who represent me in State government said yes to this bill giving people more freedom.  Thank you Gov. Dayton and Rep. Garofalo!  Hopefully Sen. Thompson will make a better choice next time when he is forced to choose between what he says he believes, and what he believes will work best for him on the floor of the Republican State Convention.

Paul Thissen, Dave Thomspon, and Pat Garofalo, and the use of the word “idiot” by their “friends.”

DT idiot pictureAfter reading Dave Thompson’s most recent Facebook post earlier today, a “Comment on Gun Control Hearing,” I noticed something I thought was interesting, the use of the word “idiot” towards people they disagree with by commenters on his post. I’ve noticed it before, I’m sure I have done it before. After all, politics is a dirty business, passions flair, and insults are rampant. But I decided to look on couple other Facebook page for comparison. While I didn’t find the word “idiot” right away, I did find “stupid” right away on Pat Garofalo’s page, and I’m not talking about his picture. Bazinga! In all reality, I like to insult Pat because he insults so many people. The funny thing is that my son and his daughter are friends. They are only in 8th grade, but how funny would be if in high school they started dating…

It wouldn’t bother me, and I am guessing he is laid back enough to not be bothered either, but I digress. Now Dave Thompson has 1,831 followers on Facebook and Pat Garofalo has 414 followers, although that is his campaign page since I am not “friends” with him like I am with Dave, but I did send him a friend request…

So you would think if I looked at another politician with 4,362 “friends” – almost twice as many as my two legislators combined, I should be able to find a couple of insulting words about the opposition right away, right? I looked at Paul Thissen’s Facebook page. I think that is a pretty fair comparison, I think Dave Thompson will be, or at least should be, the leader of Republicans in the legislature, and Paul Thissen is obviously the top DFLer in the legislature. Pat Garofalo is an idio… I mean, Pat Garofalo is not a leader.

I went back as far as I could go, counting over 80 individual comments before I stopped counting comments. No “friend” of Paul Thissen insulted Republicans in the least. Interesting, huh? Posts were positive, the word compromise appeared several times, and yet, in Dave Thompson’s most recent Facebook post, two of his 1,831 “friends” call people they don’t agree with “idiots.” Maybe the legislature could get more done if there wasn’t as much discounting of the free opinions of people they have differing opinions with.