Tag Archives: 2012

Pat Garofalo and Per Diem – A fiscal hawk or a selfish take what I can politician?

Those of us who live in Farmington, are sure lucky to have such a fiscal hawk in Minnesota state House member Pat Garofalo representing us. Remember back in May 2011 when he said he was refusing to collect his per diem during the government shutdown because he said:

“Not getting a budget agreement with the governor shouldn’t turn into a financial windfall for legislators.”

See? That’s what I am talking about. He is absolutely standing up to his principles of helping to personally correct the state’s budget problems by doing everything he can, no matter how small, to protect the finances of Minnesota taxpayers.

Pat Garofalo 2012 - 2It’s funny, did you know House legislators get paid a per diem of $66 per day of work, on top of the $31,140 in taxpayer paid salary they make for a part-time job. It makes me wonder, with only a 25 mile commute to the Capitol compared to other legislators who have to spend the night in St Paul, Pat Garofalo must receive one of the lowest per diems in the Minnesota House.

Let’s see let’s look at the numbers… Here it is in 2012… Pat Garofalo only received $11,418 in per diem. See that’s not – WHAT!?! ELEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTEEN DOLLARS!?! That is the most in the house, and about $1,500 more than the second highest per diem taker.

I don’t understand. I thought…

Well, at least he isn’t the highest per diem taker overall. Republican Senator David Senjem took $11,438 in per diem. Wait. Wasn’t David Senjem the Majority Leader? He must have worked a lot more than Pat Garofalo. And he only took $20 more than Pat!?! What’s that you say? Senate member receive a 30% higher per diem than House members? That means in House dollars, David Senjem’s per diem would have been only about $8800.

This just doesn’t make sense. I thought Pat Garofalo was a fiscal hawk. But he took 15% more in per diem than the next closest member, and he doesn’t even need an apartment.

This is very distressing. Well I guess we can be glad that his salary is only $31,140, so his pension doesn’t include his per diem. I mean that would be wrong if in private business, an employer was forced to contribute to a 401(k) for the employee’s expense reimbursements.

WHAT!?! FOR LEGISLATORS THEIR PENSION INCLUDES THE COST OF THEIR EXPENSES!?! SO HE GETS ANOTHER $1,700 IN PENSION ABOVE HIS TAXPAYER FUNDED PAY OF $42,558 FOR A PART-TIME JOB!?!

Funny thing is, Pat Garofalo initially said he was retiring for the legislature last session. He probably figured since he was retiring, he might as well take everything he can from the taxpayers to get his just reward for his services, including a fatter pension. The only thing this proves is that Pat Garofalo is in politics for himself. In third-world countries, people become politicians and police to get ahead and take what they can for their selfish benefit. It is pretty sad that Pat Garofalo is treating Minnesotans, and more specifically his neighbors, with the respect of a third-world dishonest politician.

Two very different videos of Paul Thissen and Kurt Daudt

The Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services posted two Session Update videos after DFLers and Republicans elected their new leaders.  One video showed Paul Thissen, who was elected the new Speaker of the Minnesota House, flanked by a large group of DFL House members.  The other video was Kurt Daudt, the newly elected Minority Leader, by himself.

It makes sense in one way, DFLers are more excited about their results, but I also wonder if there isn’t an indication of some issues among the Republican group. Daudt said in his media availability that he didn’t think anybody saw this coming.  I disagree, DFLers were pretty confident of winning one legislative body, and were cautiously optimistic of winning both bodies.  It is only shocking because I think Republicans spend so little time interacting with people on the other side, and receiving accolades from like-minded individuals, that they were the only ones who didn’t see this coming.

I think the two videos tell another story.  There is a wide range of ideology among House DFLers, from the very liberal, to many moderates, to former Republicans.  They won’t all agree, but they are unified.  I’m not sure about the other side.  They are so like-minded, and so confident that they are always right, that they have a really hard time changing, probably even about who they support for leadership.  Kurt Daudt might have a big task to get his caucus together.  I think it is also might be a bad sign for Republicans that they didn’t elect a Deputy Minority Leader, which makes me think tensions may have been very high.

It is interesting that no information has leaked out.  It is interesting that my state Rep., Pat Garofalo, has been so quiet on Twitter.  I think it is going to be another rough week or two before they start coming back to life.  The one thing Republicans sure are all talking about is how DFLers wanted bipartisanship, and stressing that they are going to hold DFLers to that.  But what they are forgetting is that they did not just ignore those bipartisanship calls and go on with their business, they taunted the DFL and gave them the finger at every opportunity.  It is not the DFL’s job to be bipartisan now, they received a mandate, it is the DFL’s job to prove to Minnesotans that the DFL has the agenda to bring Minnesota back to where it was before Ventura and Pawlenty.

What’s Happenin’ in DFL58

It is time for DFLers in Senate District 58, and really DFLers across the state, because what DFLer doesn’t want to get rid of Dave Thompson, Pat Garofalo and Mary Liz Holberg, to step up and support the DFL candidates in Southern Dakota County.

Andrew Brobston will be endorsed by the DFL at the next meeting on June 7. Andrew is running for Minnesota State Senate 58 against Dave Thompson. If you recall, Dave Thompson is the candidate who took $70,000 in pay in 2010 from the Republican Party while he was running for state senate as a Republican. We found out there is no law against that in Minnesota. It’s unethical, but who knew it wasn’t illegal? Thompson also is the author of the Voter ID amendment which will definitely prevent some seniors from voting. I can name two who will swear up a storm against Dave Thompson if this passes, but are in no condition from a health standpoint to make the trip to go get an ID.

Even a small donation will help Andrew: CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN ONLINE DONATION

In 58A, Colin Lee is running for state House against Mary Liz Holberg. Mary Liz Holberg is a lifelong, ultra-partisan politician who thinks it is fine to shut down our government. Besides shutting down the government, what else has Holberg done recently? If you look at Holberg’s list of accomplishments on her own campaign website, even her list of accomplishments end in 2006. Being “one of 100 people to watch in 2000” doesn’t mean anything if in 2012 you did nothing but watch. Mary Liz Holberg has become such a career politician that when her district’s borders were redrawn, splitting Lakeville, she moved to the district that had a bigger share of Lakeville. I can only assume it was so she didn’t have to work very hard on her reelection with more voters who already know her.

Colin is working very hard, please send him a donation: CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN ONLINE DONATION

Jim Arlt is running against Pat Garofalo in Minnesota House district 58B. Pat is best known for being a squeaky wheel who make inappropriate comments, and whose main purpose at the capital seems to be to gain the ire of Democrats and teachers. Garofalo who constantly uses Twitter to insult Democrats, both elected Democrats and average DFL voters, hilariously has a highlighted blurb on the front page of his campaign website that says: “WORKING WITH DEMOCRATS: Representative Garofalo has worked to bring Republicans and Democrats together.” This is coming from the man who recently called all the Democratic House members “deadbeat Democrats.” I’m pretty sure if you talk to Paul Thissen, Ryan Winkler or Tom Rukavina, they might refute his claim.

Jim is a very strong candidate, and needs your help: CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION

We are very excited in DFL58, but we need your help!

The 2012 Race Is On! Three Candidates for DFL CD2 – Ganey, Obermueller and Gaylord

The race is on in the Second Congressional District.  With new boundaries that are rumored to give DFLers in the new district a little more hope, three viable candidates have emerged to challenge John Kline in 2012.

At one point a few months ago, it seemed all the Democrat’s hopes in the Second Congressional District (CD2) were pinned on the redistricting map being redrawn to include at least one of a couple of state Legislators who were ready to challenge John Kline if the lines were drawn to include them.  That didn’t happen. And when that didn’t happen, anxiety quickly grew in my mind about another inexperienced political novice challenging John Kline and his million dollar campaign cash balance.

But what ended up happening instead, was that a few people noticed the positive change in the District borders regarding favorability, and real known politician’s names were being mentioned.  Initially, Joe Atkins was in the news as a potential candidate.  I’m not sure how that rumor started, but about the time he announced he was not running I was contacted by a former legislator who asked if I would talk to a Northfield City Councilor about a potential run against Kline.

PATRICK GANEY

With Atkins decision, and with that conversation with a former legislator, it seemed my fears were being realized, John Kline’s political money-machine versus a first-term Northfield City Councilman, hopeless.  Then, I talked to Patrick Ganey on the phone and quickly realized he was leaps and bounds ahead of where 2010 DFL endorsed candidate Dan Powers was in his early days, and he wasn’t even sure he was running.  His communications skills were exceptional, and the fact that he raised money for a living didn’t hurt in my mind.  I invited him down to speak at our local DFL58 meeting a couple days later.

Patrick came to the meeting, had a message already, was able to respond to questions, and impressed the meeting attendees.  There was hope.  We invited him to our DFL58 convention, a couple days later, and did well there too.  He may be a political novice, but that certainly didn’t mean he didn’t have talent.  Since Patrick became a candidate, two others have announced. But, Patrick was the first to call me as a delegate to the CD2 convention and ask for my support.  He was the first to have a detailed website, and the first to have a Twitter feed @Ganey4Congress.  Being the first is a huge advantage.

So I am paying attention to Patrick.  The next Saturday after the DFL58 convention, I was sitting at Concordia University waiting for my son at a lacrosse goalie clinic.  While I waited I started scanning Twitter for a few updates on the Eagan endorsement races when I saw a tweet from The UpTake of a video of Patrick Ganey at that Eagan DFL convention.  I watched the video, and when the video was done, a video popped up from The UpTake titled “Obermueller considering a run for congress.”  I was shocked, and at the same time I made kind of a single chuckle as I smiled about the video.

See, I am a Mike Obermueller fan.  I have been impressed by Mike over the last few years, and was very disappointed when he lost his 2010 legislative race.  When I watched that UpTake video, I was really excited.  Just to be clear, I liked Dan Powers, and I thought Shelley Madore could have challenged John Kline with some money.  I volunteered for Theresa Daly, figured Colleen Rowley was a good choice, and thought maybe Steve Sarvi could pry away John Kline’s iron grip on military issues, but I was never excited about any of them.  That Saturday afternoon, I sat outside the Sea Foam Dome at Concordia College excited about a congressional candidate.

MIKE OBERMUELLER

One of my favorite parade signs is Mike’s sign with the word puzzle images for his name.  Obviously it isn’t a great sign for getting his name out there, but it is fun and different.  There is little doubt that John Kline will have more money, so being fun and different is important.  Rudy Boschwitz had more money, but a hard working politician who had fun and had clever marketing beat him.

I’m not saying that sign is on par with Paul Wellstone’s green bus or his great ads, but at least it is outside the normal political box.  Mike is young and can win a tough race.  If he works hard and things go his way, he can do the same thing Paul Wellstone did and surprise a seemingly safe incumbent.

As we approached our April meeting for DFL58, I realized I should invite the new candidates to address our group too.  On very short notice, I invited Mike, and he quickly accepted.  Mike came to the meeting, showed up early, ate some pizza with us, talked with members and then spoke, answered some really great questions, and I think won over some delegates.

Mike talked about his family and about growing up. He cracked a few jokes. Mike talked about the stark contrast between his pro-labor and pro-education stances, and John Kline’s anti-labor and anti-education stances.  Mike presented himself as a very friendly candidate.  He smiled a lot, was quick with responses and funny.  He will be a very formidable candidate.  He still does not have a Twitter feed, and his old 2010 website is still up.

I like Mike a lot — I might have to steal some of Mike Huckabee’s “I like Mike” buttons for Mike Obermueller’s campaign if he becomes the endorsed candidate and doesn’t do his own “I Like Mike” buttons.  As I was saying, I like Mike a lot, but I am maintaining an open mind until the convention.  Patrick has really impressed me, and even though he doesn’t have the political record Mike has, I think he would be a great candidate.

KATHLEEN GAYLORD

There is a third candidate too, Kathleen Gaylord.  I don’t know Kathleen.  I’ve never met her or talked to her.  In fact the first interaction I had with her was my email invite to our DFL meeting last Thursday.  I invited her three hours before the meeting, but I never received a response.

I knew it was short notice, so I didn’t expect her to come, but I thought it was a little odd that I didn’t receive a response at all to my invitation, even after the fact, saying something to the effect that she wished she could have come, and maybe we could set up another meeting to get to know some of the delegates.  For the record, 8 of DFL58’s 13 convention delegates and 9 of the 13 alternates were at that meeting.

Of course, if it were me, I wouldn’t waste my time with a hit and miss meeting as much as I would be contacting the delegates one-by-one personally, so I’m not offended she didn’t come at all, I just thought it was weird not to respond.

Today I sent her another email.  Partially out of curiosity if she would respond, partially because I have no idea who she is.  I sent her an email with four questions about her campaign.  She responded in about an hour, so things are looking up.

Kathleen was the first candidate with a website.  It has very little content on it, but she has an extensive and impressive resume, and most importantly a donation page. She does not have a Twitter account that I could find.  Mike and Kathleen need to get Twitter accounts going!

I am a huge proponent of women running, and will count the fact that a candidate is a woman as an advantage over a male candidate.  I think it is a clear advantage.  I think it is doubly advantageous in the anti-women political climate the Right-wing has been forging this past year.  I think a female candidate might draw women who might usually consider themselves independent Republicans.

I’m sure I will get the chance to meet Kathleen in the next couple weeks.  With her impressive political resume, and the other two candidates, how can it not be a good year to be a Democrat in the 2nd Congressional District?

I have asked each of the candidates if they plan to abide by the CD2 convention endorsement providing there is an endorsement.  All three plan to abide by the endorsement.

I also asked each candidate if they plan to run in 2014, should they lose in 2012.  Obviously a candidate thinks they are going to win, they have to, but the only candidate to run against John Kline more than once is Representative Bill Luther, whom Kline beat on his 3rd attempt in 2002.  John Kline proved that you might need to run a few times to win, I just want somebody to try twice.  Patrick Ganey and Mike Obermueller both said they will run a second time, Mike said he would, but plans that it will be as an incumbent.  Kathleen Gaylord did not answer other than to respond that she “is in the race to win this year.”

I’m hoping for a win this year, and to support an incumbent in 2014 whoever he or she may be.

Jim Arlt Seeks Seat in the Minnesota House Representing 58B

Jim Arlt, who served the Minnesota law enforcement community for more than 30 years, was endorsed unanimously by House District 58B Democrats today, April 5.  He will challenge the long-serving Farmington incumbent, Republican Pat Garofalo, in the November elections.

Jim, a political independent, decided to seek the DFL endorsement for House after meeting with legislators on issues related to his work in law enforcement.

Members of the local DFL group who have gotten to know Jim recently are very excited to support him.

Jim, a Hastings area resident for over 20 years, has served as a police officer in the City of Northfield, as a deputy sheriff, and for the past 21 years, served in the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety as a special agent, senior special agent and interim director.  He retired in March 2012.

During his tenure in law enforcement, Jim has testified before the Legislature on numerous bills and on their potential effects on both Minnesota citizens and commerce. He also served on Governor Pawlenty’s Identity Theft task force.

Jim designed and implemented the Minnesota Department of Public Safety MnScams Program, which works with international law enforcement to identify and shut down scam operations targeting Minnesotans. These crimes siphon millions each year from Minnesotans and the state’s economy, and often target senior citizens.

Despite the belief among law enforcement agencies and attorney generals that such multi-jurisdictional, geographically diverse criminal activity could not be investigated, Jim successfully forged working relationships across the globe and across boundaries and institutions to collaboratively shut down criminal scam operations.

Jim often worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Postal Service, Federal Trade Commission, and with international law enforcement agencies, among them: Canada, Jamaica, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Nigeria. He has also traveled internationally training with other law enforcement agencies.

Jim worked with private sector entities such as financial institutions, senior citizen housing complexes, the Better Business Bureau, AARP and some of Minnesota’s county attorneys to stop scam crimes through education.

While working for the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division Jim has also worked with associations representing the liquor industry, Minnesota tribal gambling entities, the Minnesota Lottery, Minnesota Gambling Control Board and the Minnesota Horse Racing Commission.

Among his many accomplishments, Jim was elected by his law enforcement peers to serve as Central Zone Chair within the national Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit. This position, which he held for five years, represents about 65 major cities, counties, states and provincial law enforcement agencies in the central United States and Canada. Jim initiated the National Gambling Intelligence Sharing Group consisting of law enforcement agencies that investigate gambling-related crimes conducted by organized criminal groups that travel to various jurisdictions.

Jim has four adult children with his first wife, Carmen, who passed away in 1991. Their children grew up in Hastings, attending area schools, and have gone on to successful careers. His wife Renae, a retired nurse, has two children, and together they have six grandchildren. Jim and Renae live in Ravenna Township.

Jim is active in the Hastings United Methodist Church, serving on the church council and as chair of its Beyond the Walls Committee, which focuses on area outreach and worldwide missions opportunities like the No More Malaria Initiative and Zoe Ministries in Africa. He also served as a volunteer football coach for 7th- and 8th-grade students, and for the Little Raiders program in Hastings. Jim’s interests include hunting, fishing, gardening, and spending time with his family and friends.

Jim’s ability to forge successful working relationships among different groups with different philosophies will serve as a positive force in the politically divided Minnesota Legislature.