Tag Archives: 2010 Governors Race

Tim Pawlenty’s Message: Minnesota Made-Not Good Enough

I’ve been harping on buying local and buying American for years.  I don’t have hard numbers for proof, but I know it makes our economy stronger when we buy locally.  The dollars kept in Minnesota continue to turn in Minnesota.

As a family, we don’t just talk about it, we live that way because it is good for us.  This Christmas we gave gift bags that included honey from a farmer here in Farmington, maple syrup from Three Rivers Farm in Elko, pancake mix from Red Wing, jams made with Minnesota grown fruit, Woodbury’s Snappy Dog Salsa and St. Paul’s El Burrito Mercado tortilla chips.

Last year we gave goat milk soap from McCann Farm in Milaca, chocolates from Chocolat Celeste and Minnesota blue cheeses from Shepherd’s Way Farms down by Northfield. 

It isn’t just the holidays, we always lean toward local products in our daily lives like Holy Land hummus and pitas, Old Home products, a lot of Kowalski’s products, Bongard’s cheese and Schell’s beers to name a few that came quickly to mind.

It isn’t that I have extra money to forgo store brands to buy more expensive local products, (by the way they are not necessarily more expensive) I buy local and I buy quality, something the companies listed above are both.  I also recognize that a few cents extra for a local product, as opposed to a cheaper national conglomerate produced product is better for me and my community.

Good for my community.  Good for my state.  Good for my local economy.  Good for me.  The point is it is good for us.  That is why I get annoyed when people like Tim Pawlenty whose job it is to promote the good things in our state and its great resources chooses not to.

I recall him recently buying his hunting necessities from Nebraska based Cabella’s instead of a locally owned shop like Joe’s Sporting Goods.  Recently Tim Pawlenty chose an out of state artist named Rossin to paint his portrait at the Capital.  In my opinion, it is further proof that Tim Pawlenty is a politician more for his ego and the attention than for his accomplishment here in Minnesota or for the promotion of our state.  I know that is a giant step with a single choice he made, but there are hundreds of great artists in Minnesota who would have taken that $25,000 payment and spent it here in the state.  Rossin is a highly acclaimed portrait artist known mainly for his expensive portraits of CEOs, but has well known works of Lincoln both Bush presidents and other politicians.

To me it seems like an ego thing to be included with those paintings.  Oh well, Good riddance T-Paw.  It is too bad the state elected another group of self-serving attention seekers to the legislature to replace you.  My hope is that in the near future we elect a group of politicians who look at this state as a place that needs a higher quality of life and superior education to attract people to our area like the politicians a couple of generations ago did.  Mark Dayton might be one, but we need more Don Fraziers and even Arne Carlsons who place a higher emphasis on our community and future than on shortsighted ego-driven bucket lists.

Colleen Morse and the Three DFL Candidates For Governor

On Monday, June 28th, just two weeks ago, blogger Colleen Morse at http://aprilknight.blogspot.com/ posted on the three DFL candidates for governor.  Yesterday afternoon, she passed away. 

Just two months ago, Colleen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a tumor in the brain.  On May 15th, she wrote “I have a feeling that I don’t have long to live.”  But it was a shock to get the news, and to realize her July 2nd post was her last entry.

I’d been a faithful reader of her blog for months when I met her at the CD2 DFL convention.  I was helping with registration.  She wanted a visitor pass, but when she said her name, I thought she deserved a media pass.  We struck up a long conversation on the importance of blogging and social media.  Then, just two weeks later my wife and I met her in a Duluth skyway.  We talked for a while then went our separate ways for the evening.  As we sat down for dinner, I told my wife I wished we had invited her with us to dinner.  But the next morning, I got to spend about an hour with her as we waited at the DFL State Convention for things to start.  It was one of the highlights of my convention weekend.

I wish I could have known Colleen longer, and continued to see her at political events.  As many of you know, she spent a lot of time working to get Mark Dayton elected.  But all the time she supported Mark Dayton, she still supported the other great candidates with positive words and energy.  That example of friendliness and helpfulness, regardless of the side is an example she set of how to maintain a strong DFL core.  It is something as a blogging community we need to concentrate on.  Blogger Holly Cairns has been stressing that fact since I first got to know her. 

Blogging can be used for serious and organized promotion, and Colleen did that, although to her it was just a fun thing for her to do.  Below is her last real blog post.  Colleen will not only be missed by her family and close friends, but will be greatly missed by the entire progressive blogging community and the political campaigns she came in contact with.

Thank you Colleen.

THREE DFL CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR
June 28, 2010, 7:02 AM

All DFLers will have to decide very soon who they are going to vote for to be our next governor. How will each Primary voter decide? Here are the usual ways, not in any particular order.

1.  Issues
2.  Name recognition
3.  Endorsed candidate
4.  Voter contact on the campaign trail
5.  Videos and websites
6.  Personal charisma (which includes how much the voter “loves” the candidate; you hear a lot of that on Facebook and on the campaign trail
7.  Past success in political experience
8.  Whether the voter even wants to vote in the Primary, or whether the voter is too fed up with politics to do so. What the percentage is of voters who actually show up at the Primary makes a big difference in who gets elected.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher – Kelliher obviously knows all the issues inside and out. She has no problems whatsoever there. She is gaining some name recognition but doesn’t have nearly as much as Dayton. Will her DFL cohorts and supporters donate enough money for her to win this campaign? If so, they’d better get hopping.

I’ll just meander down the list for each candidate. This is better than trying to walk slowly down the hallway while holding on to the wall.

Kelliher is obviously the endorsed candidate, which does give her an edge. Will it be enough? Keep tuned…

Kelliher’s voter contact on the campaign trail does not seem to be as good as Dayton’s. Dayton is all over the place. Not only that, but everyone already knows who he is.

Videos are excellent from the Dayton Campaign…websites not so good at all.

Personal charisma is something you never heard many people talk about with regard to Mark Dayton. He’s doing something right now, though, because everywhere I go I hear people (mostly women) say “I love him!” While Kelliher’s momentum is growing, she just doesn’t have that personal charisma that people look for. Like R. T. Rybak has, for example.

Past success in political experience was exceptionally good with Margaret Anderson Kelliher. She knows an incredible amount about Minnesota politics. As far as knowledge and experience, she can definitely get the job done.

It sure seems that there are a lot of people who are disillusioned with the world of politics. The best thing to do is to get out there and get your people to vote!

Matt Entenza – Matt is very good on clean, green energy. He has some great ideas in that area. He’s also excellent on GLBT and equality issues. He’s good on creating new jobs.

As far as name recognition, I don’t see Matt as having much of that. It just isn’t there. Oh, I’m sure it is in many circles, but a lot of people still don’t know who Matt Entenza is. I don’t know how he’s going to change that.

As we all know, Matt is not the endorsed candidate. That distinction belongs to Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

I’m pretty sure that Entenza has a lot of voter contact on the campaign trail. But where are his particular campaign trails? I don’t hear much about him at all from my non-political circle of acquaintances (yes, folks, I do have a lot of friends who are not political!) When I ask if they were going to vote for him, they didn’t even know who he was.

Matt Entenza probably has the best collection of campaign videos. I would rate his website as the best of all three of the candidates.

Personal charisma is not one of Entenza’s strong points. He’s very soft spoken, which means he’s a nice guy, but not exactly your top charismatic person. Of Minnesoa politicians, that honor would definitely have to go to R. T. Rybak.

Entenza has a lot of political experience. Unfortunately, some of it is considered distasteful by many people. I wish these people would learn the truth of the matter. I stuck up for Matt when someone was saying rotten things about him. The guy called me a liar. Go figure. Some people just don’t want to listen to truth.

Mark Dayton – Mark is very good on almost all the issues. After all, he was a U. S. Senator and had to know a lot about a lot of different things. He’s big on Senior issues, of course. Remember how he took busloads of seniors to Canada so they could get the prescription drugs at lower cost? He’s always been an advocate for seniors. He’s always been a friend of GLBT, as well. He stood up on the Senate floor in favor of the right of two people who love each other to get married, no matter what their gender. Another issue that he is very interested in is education.

Name recognition? Mark Dayton? That’s almost funny. There’s probably only a handful of people in Minnesota who don’t know who Mark Dayton is, and those are no doubt under the age of twelve. They’re just too young to know.

We all know that Mark is not the endorsed candidate. Margaret Anderson Kelliher is. Still, there are plenty of examples over the years where the endorsed candidate did not win.

Mark has been all over Minnesota on the campaign trail. He drove 9,000 miles across Minnesota. He stopped in towns all over and met people in coffee shops and other interesting places. He has successfully reintroduced himself to Minnesotans.

Mark is starting to get some pretty good videos. There’s one called “9,000” miles, which you can find on his website.

Personal charisma is not an area that Mark excels at. He’s an introvert; standing up in front of a lot of people is difficult for him, especially during the question/answer portion of a forum. I give him a lot of credit, though, for doing something that doesn’t come naturally to him. I’ve also noticed that he’s made many, many improvements as a public speaker. I was surprised, proud and happy to see that he made a huge effort to improve in this area.

Obviously Mark Dayton has the most political experience of any of the candidates. He ran three Minnesota State Commissioner offices. He was U. S. Senator. The list goes on.

So now it’s up to you, dear voters. The best thing you can do to ensure we get a DFL governor is to pick a candidate and then campaign for that candidate. You can door knock, do mailings and other clerical work, attend Meet and Greets, have a house party for your candidate, or have a fund raiser for the candidate. There’s a ton of ways to help out. Call your candidate’s office to volunteer. You can also volunteer on their websites. So let’s all rally round one of these three candidates and make sure out next governor is DFL.

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It’s the 2010 DFL Candidate Endorsement Bracket Challenge!

Can you tell I am excited about the NCAA Basketball Tournament?  I am only part of two NCAA bracket competitions, neither of them for money thankfully because I usually lose to the person who watches no college basketball.  Anyway, in my excitement for bracket challenges, I made my own bracket challenge with the DFL candidates for governor.

(Click on it for a larger image)

This bracket is in a way how I expected the DFL Endorsement process to go, with the expectation that my own sleeper pick would win the big dance.

The DFL State Convention is only three weeks away.  In one sense, the games have already started.  The play-in game has eliminated one team, but the number one seeds are pretty safe, at least during the first round.

Over the last year, I’ve seen all the major DFL candidate for governor, and I’ve met most of them, even if a couple might have just been an introduction and handshake.  During that time, I decided to support Paul Thissen.  I feel like he is the freshest candidate.  He seems young despite his gray hair, is articulate, forward thinking and he communicates well.  He is very intelligent, but he doesn’t have the intelligence arrogance others can have.  He impresses people with his grasp of policy and his understanding of how it affects everybody.  He is dedicated and hard working.

Those who support other candidates might say that describes their candidate too.  That is the great thing about the number of decent candidates we have on the DFL side.  But I will support Paul at the convention in a few weeks.  That said, I am also pragmatic. 

I expected more delegates to feel the way I feel about Paul.  That hasn’t happened.  I recently read John Marty has passed Paul Thissen to move into fourth place in the delegate count behind R.T. Rybak, Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Uncommitted.  The total delegates for candidates below Paul on the delegate count wouldn’t give Paul enough to pass Rybak or Kelliher if they all supported Paul.  Granted, Uncommitted dwarves everybody else and anything can happen, but I know there are a lot of “committed” uncommitteds.  I saw it at my Senate District Convention.

So being the pragmatic individual I think I am, I feel like I need to make a decision about who to support if Paul doesn’t make it to the later rounds of the endorsement process.

I’m not somebody who is going to support a candidate come hell or high water when I know that candidate will not win.  I’m realistic.  That bracket above is pretty indicative of my final decision.  If you notice, I stopped at the final four.  I didn’t go down to a final two.  I’m having a really hard time deciding on the next best behind Paul.

Many of the candidates are good, and I could easily support any of them.  In fact at one point, I probably had decided to support each of them before finally deciding on supporting Paul.  The main factor that I think will influence my decision is electability.

Who is the next most electable of the final four after Paul? 

R.T. Rybak is the most charismatic.  Plus, he has the next most name recognition after Mark Dayton.  In recent Rasmussen Polls he beats Emmer and is tied with Seifert.  No other DFLer does.  Even Dayton’s name recognition has him losing to Seifert.  And worse, nobody else beats Emmer.  That will obviously change if Emmer starts campaigning, but still… The problem: 30 second commercials with artistic water fountains and police cuts that can stick negatively despite truly being non-issues.  Negative buzz words/phrases: Waste, the arts over safety, tax and spend liberal. 

Margaret Anderson Kelliher has an Amy Klobuchar factor about her campaign.  There is nothing flashy about her, but she is a good candidate and good communicator who will draw women, even ones that might normally vote Republican.  She stands her ground on issues.  She grew up a farm girl, but is an urban woman.  The problem: 30 second commercials centered around the voter access file flap.  Negative buzz words/phrases: Scandal, trust issues, manipulation, typical politician.

Matt Entenza… I like his personal story, I think he would do a great job, but there are a lot of negative vibes within his own party, let alone the barrage that would come from the right.  He is definitely forth on this list.

So who do I choose?  I probably won’t know until a few ballots into the endorsement process. 

Who would you choose?

Recap of the 2010 DFL SD36 Convention

The 2010 DFL Senate District 36 Convention ran very smoothly yesterday.

Every couple of years, we get together for the convention of people who chose to be delegates from the caucus.  This year, about two-thirds of the delegates showed up to Farmington High School to participate in the convention.  I think the number was 84 at the start of the convention.

That number floated around 80 all day.  That was a smaller group than recent conventions, but it was also very manageable.  The convention went very smoothly.  Of course it helped that CD2 Chair Jeanne Thomas was the Convention Chair. 

I arrived at 8:00 to help set up, and registration officially began at 9:00.  The convention planned start time was 9:45, but people we still registering so it was not officially called to order until 10:00 am.

The meeting started with a flag ceremony, a welcome announcement, the adoption of the rules and the agenda, and reports by the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.  After that we began setting up the district leadership for the next two years.

Toby Nichols was unanimously re-elected to be Senate District 36 Chair.  Our rules dictate that gender equity be considered, so the Associate Chair should be a woman.  However, no woman was interested in the position at election time, so the associate chair remains open to be filled by the Senate District 36 Central Committee at a later date. 

Clinton Kennedy was unanimously re-elected to be Secretary and Dorothy Benson was also unanimously re-elected to continue as Treasurer.  The Affirmative Action Officer position was filled by a young man named Kevin Roberson.

After those individual positions were filled, we elected six male and six female Directors to join the executives to take the lead in helping to turn SD36 blue.  I was happy to be elected to join that group.

Finally, the last, or the expected last elections were held to appoint two men and two women to be DFL State Central Committee Delegates.  Great DFLer Charlie Thomas was re-elected to be a State Central Committee Delegate, and I was excited to be elected to join him as the other delegate.  I’ve never been to a state meeting, but I am really looking forward to it.

Throughout the day, representatives of the candidates for governor and other state officers spoke, but the only candidate for state office to show up on his or her own was Mark Ritchie.  Secretary Ritchie gave a great two or three minute speech and received a nice hand, with many of the delegates giving him a standing ovation. 

I talked to one delegate who was disappointed that none of the gubernatorial candidates came, and disappointed that a couple didn’t even have a representative give a stump speech. 

Shelley Madore and Dan Powers both spoke.   One delegate was swayed by Dan Powers’ literature, then swayed again by Shelley Madore’s speech.  Shelley gave a very good speech, with the punch line of sending John Kline back to Texas.  Dan made a good speech about what issues really resonate with CD2 residents.

The fight for the CD2 endorsement is going to be a tough fight.  People genuinely like Dan Powers.  He is a nice guy who has been getting his name out there and has been participating in almost every DFL event over the last year.  He organized parade groups and has been interacting with other campaigns to make sure all the candidates move forward together.  Shelley Madore on the other hand joined the race later, but has plenty of support in the district already.  She is such confident speaker that people listening to her think she can legitimately challenge John Kline.

The delegate I was sitting next to said that he thinks Shelley has a better chance to win than Dan does, so he is going to probably support Shelley.  I talked to somebody else who thinks Shelley seems a little arrogant, and thinks that will rub people the wrong way.  It is really hard to know.  I thought I  knew who I was going to support, but now I consider myself undecided.

After a break for lunch, we began the tedious process of discussing resolutions to forward to the State DFL.  I saw the tweet “OMG, we’re going thru all resolutions 1 by 1. Naptime. SD36”.  That wasn’t exactly true, we didn’t  go through each of them, but it was still probably pretty dull to some on the floor.  Senate District 36 caucuses passed 60 resolutions, but the District is only allowed to forward 32 resolutions.  People were allowed to pull resolutions for discussion, amendment or clarification.  Delegates pulled 11 resolutions for discussion, one for amendment and two for clarification.  Up to six people were allowed to speak on each pulled amendment for one minute, however, the process was completed within the allotted 30 minute time frame.

After resolutions, we listened to the state house candidates that the nominations committee forwarded to the body for each house district.  Colin Lee in House District 36A was endorsed and teacher and excited new candidate Sigrid Iversen was endorsed to run against Rep. Pat Garofalo in House District 36B. 

Colin is very smart and an experienced candidate.  He will do a great job.  I am excited to work with Sigrid.  She is brand new to the process, but once she gets her campaign set-up and can start raising money and getting her name out, she will be a great candidate.

Finally, we began the process of electing delegates to the Congressional District and State conventions.  The body decided to directly elect delegates rather than do walking sub-caucuses.  We elected eight men and eight women to be delegates and eight men, and I think seven women to be alternates.  That group will go to the State DFL convention in Duluth and the CD2 Convention in Chanhassen.  I was elected to be a delegate, and look forward to my first convention as a delegate.

That was it.  It was a great day in SD36, and I have a feeling that the Convention in 2012 will be even better.

Mayor Don Fraser endorsees Paul Thissen as the best candidate for governor

I lived in a house on 46th and Xerxes growing up.  Xerxes was a fairly busy street, so political signs were a regular lawn ornament on our block during election seasons.  The first political sign I remember was a red, white and blue Don Fraser for Mayor sign.  I think it might have even had the city skyline on it.  It was in our yard, and I thought it was pretty cool.

I’ve always had an affinity for Don Fraser.  He along with Hubert Humphrey comprise many of my earliest fond memories of politicians.

Yesterday, I received an email from Don Fraser sent via the Thissen campaign.

Don Fraser: Thissen Best Choice for MN

Dear DFLer,

Irresponsible leadership in the Governor’s office is costing our state dearly.  . We must reverse the ill-advised moves of the current Republican administration, including its conspicuous efforts to shift tax burdens away from the well-to-do, and onto the rest of us.

The stakes in this election are high and the challenges daunting. I believe that Paul Thissen is the candidate who gives us our best chance of restoring progressive leadership to the governor’s office.

Other candidates began this campaign with stronger name recognition, but as election day draws near, voters make their own assessments. They take the measure of the candidates and what they will bring to the office they seek.

A close look at Paul Thissen tells us what the voters will see as the campaign for governor proceeds.  Paul’s forebearers homesteaded in western Minnesota.  His parents taught in the Richfield and St. Paul public schools. He grew up in Bloomington, excelled at school, graduated from Harvard and went on to study law at the University of Chicago.  After law school, he and Karen moved back to Minnesota where they are raising their three kids who attend public schools.

Paul served as a state public defender and then built a successful legal career at a Minneapolis law firm, where he also chaired the pro bono committee that provides free legal services to nonprofits across the state, and to low-income Minnesotans.

Eight years ago, he knocked on every door in his legislative district, campaigned by listening to what people had to say, and won.  As chair of the Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee, he has been a leader in addressing health care needs in Minnesota.

Paul Thissen is a fresh face that will breathe new life into the campaign.  He is convinced that hard work is the only way to win elections, and listening is the only way to govern effectively.

I believe that as Paul Thissen becomes known, he represents our best chance to put Minnesota back on the road as a leading state in our nation. As Democrats, we need to learn the lessons of our past losses in the governor’s race.  The old model of name recognition and politics as usual will not work.  We need a fresh face and new ideas if we want to win in November.

Paul Thissen is the candidate who can defeat the Republicans and take back the corner office at the Capitol for the DFL.   Check him out at www.paulthissen.com.

Thank you,

Don Fraser
Former 5th Congressional District Representative
Former Mayor of Minneapolis

Don Fraser served in the U.S. Congress representing Minnesota’s 5th District from 1963 until 1979.  He gave up his seat to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1978. He then became the longest serving mayor in Minneapolis history, serving from 1980 until 1993.

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