Tag Archives: Convention

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.


Al Franken in Farmington – Letter to the Editor

I submitted a letter to the editor at the Farmington Independent. It was published March 6th, 2008.

To the editor,
Something in our political process I’ve never seen happen, happened last Saturday at the Senate District 36 DFL convention held at Farmington Middle School West. Many statewide candidates pop in to conventions to speak, usually allotted a couple minutes to address the crowd, then head off, but at this convention, one candidate stayed. Al Franken came to address the nearly 200 delegates, and like the other campaigns, was given four minutes to sway voters. But after he spoke, he stayed for hours, chatting with the residents of Farmington, Lakeville and the surrounding townships. He discussed issues, joked, participated a little in the walking sub-caucuses, and I even saw him drawing his famous freehand drawing of the 50 States. Al Franken was inspiring, he excited the group and his enjoyment and involvement in our little local process really showed why he will be a great senator for all of Minnesota.

Stephen Quist

Senate District 36 Convention (2008)

I attended the SD36 DFL Convention today. It was chaotic and often frustrating.

The group was big and there were a lot of new people who were not familiar with the process. Plus, it seemed like everyone of them wanted to get involved. I’m going to seem a little pretentious here, but I was a little annoyed that so many people who have never participated before, wanted to and were elected to two-year terms on the 26 person executive committee and board of directors over people have been working for years in the district. I hope they all maintain their excitement even after Barack Obama becomes president and show up each month to build the party.

But, while I was often frustrated during the process, something really amazing happened. Al Franken showed up at our convention, and like the other candidates got 4 minutes to speak. But unlike the others, Al stayed almost until the end, I’m talking several hours. He talked to people, sat at the delegate tables, I even saw him doing his amazing freehand drawing of the 50 states.

It was most fun when we were in our walking sub-caucuses (I was in the Obama/Franken/Sarvi-Progressive sub-caucus) and he came to our group that grew to 45 as we chanted “Yes we can,” stood on the table and made a couple of jokes. It was great and people were really impressed by him. I can’t see him not getting the endorsement in June. He not only gave the best four minute speech, he proved how much he loves this process. I will never forget that. I believe Al Franken is going to move into the Humphrey, Mondale, Wellstone category once he becomes senator.

2006 Senate District 36 Convention

I spent a Saturday morning, and half the afternoon, at my local senate district endorsing convention. It was the first time I had ever participated in anything other than a caucus.

I realize why more people do not participate in these activities. It was disorganized and a little annoying doing all of the little things that need to be done in the endorsing and nominating process, but in the end, it was a blast.

To select our 15 state delegates from the 89 senate district delegates, we began a process called walking sub-caucuses. The sub-caucuses are proposed using a candidate and an issue, for example, there was Labor for Hatch, Rowley for Ethics, Klobuchar for Minnesota, Klobuchar/Hatch/Rowley (the one I joined) and many more. There was a ten minute period to join a group and make it viable. In this case, you needed at least 6 people to be viable, which meant you had one delegate for your group.

As we started, all these people who were not delegates started getting involved and organizing. They were people from different campaigns trying to ensure their candidate got as many delegates as possible. It was great. It made the entire dull 5 -6 hour process worthwhile.

The other great thing that happened was meeting Coleen Rowley. I will admit that I was on the fence in terms of supporting her. The problem was that I was equally as hesitant about Sharon Marko’s candidacy. I still was not impressed by either of them after they spoke to our delegation. However, Coleen Rowley is a resident of our district, and returned to our meeting after she made the rounds to the other conventions.

I had the opportunity to meet with her in a group for about 20 minutes, and spent a couple minutes talking to her one-on-one. I can’t imagine being more impressed by a candidate. I still have doubts about her electability. Admittedly, the reasons are rather shallow. I don’t believe she is as polished as a politician should be to beat John Kline. That is a nice way to say, she needs to update her hair style and wear more professional style clothes. She also seems to speak too loudly on TV or giving a speech. See? Shallow. But in a small group, and one-on-one, she was great. I told her I had been undecided until that point, but told her I will do everything I can to get her elected.

You know, Paul Wellstone wasn’t very polished either when he ran for senate the first time…