Tag Archives: DFL 58

An epiphany about political involvement – money has to get out of politics

I’ve had two epiphanies about politics in the last week. First, politics is too time consuming. Shocking I know. Second, politics is too money consuming. Neither of which I have much to spare, and like many people, I’m beginning to question whether my personal commitment is too great for the amount of satisfaction I receive in return.

This Thursday, I am hosting a fundraiser for Mike Obermueller at my home. When all is said and done, my mom (who graciously offered to help) and I will have spent over $200 on food and drinks. But it isn’t just the cost of food to have a get-together, it’s the little expenses to fix and clean the house that adds up too. Now you have to realize that we never have people over to our house. It is small, poorly laid out (a family birthday party is uncomfortably tight,) the cement and blacktop need serious work (I hope nobody trips and sues us,) we have a dog, two cats, and three smelly boys that quickly turn furniture into pieces homeless teen shelters wouldn’t accept, and don’t get me started on the carpet.

Needless to say, it is uncomfortable for us to have guests over. But when we do, we feel the need to fix all those little things we tend to procrastinate on fixing. Getting a new toilet seat to replace the cracked one. Our dining room chairs need new fabric on the seats since we got a new table. The valance above the patio door needs to be fixed or replaced, and that lacrosse ball hole in the wall should probably be fixed. It costs a fair amount of money to host a fundraiser from that standpoint, for things a majority of people wouldn’t even notice or care about if they did notice. By the way we are not spending the $12,000 to fix the driveway. I just hope the air conditioner survives the week…

When you combine our little foray into the world of fundraising with our desire to support our local candidates who bravely put themselves out there to run for office, we are spending a fair amount of money that should be going into our boy’s college funds, well, probably my vacation fund is more realistic…

The cost of being involved in politics is draining. I think it makes people who might like to be involved in political activities uncomfortable. There are pressures to donate. Each candidate running for state office needs to raise a minimum amount of cash to receive the state campaign funds. For House candidates, it is $1,500 and for Senate candidates it is $3,000 by July 23. What makes it challenging is that no amount in contributions over $50 from any individual counts toward that goal. So candidates who start late have to push to raise the right amount of cash in the right increments. And the activists are the first people asked. Not only are they asked, but they are practically guilted into it. Trust me I know, I begged people to donate this year to our candidates in DFL58. And once they donate, they are on the donation lists and begin getting regular calls from the DFL and the DCCC asking for money.

Some people say they don’t donate cash, but they donate their time. I do that, and it is just as draining, maybe more. I probably spend as much time as anybody in our district, outside of Jeanne and Charlie Thomas, working on DFL projects. But that time is time I should be spending doing other things probably. I am pretty good about going to my children’s events, but I want to finish some things to advance my career, I hardly ever write, I seldom play golf, I need to lose more than a few pounds, and all the junk I do for the DFL is taking away from some serious television and movie watching! In my case, I think that not only am I spending money on politics, I’m losing money by not concentrating on things to make more money. I’m not doing things I would enjoy much more, and although I would not enjoy it, let’s face it, a little more exercise would do me good.

My wife and I spent last night talking about what we do and whether what we do is worth it. This morning at a Bible study I attend (Monday mornings, 6:30 AM at Caribou on 185th in Lakeville. Feel free to join us, it is casual, friendly, Lutheran led, but not Lutheran specific, and we have a couple of open seats at the table.) my father-in-law said he just finished a book that asks the question of organizations why are you an organization. The question on the giant chalk board at Caribou today was something to the effect of “if you had a personal guiding principle what would it be?”

I’m trying to answer those questions and I think a lot of people are asking those questions about politics. Is being involved in politics worth it? Why are we involved in politics? If we had a personal motto, would anything vaguely political be part of it? People look at politics very cynically right now. How much money will be raised to win a local house race? Probably $25,000, most of it spent on advertisements mailed to homes that are more often than not thrown away without being read. And what do they get in return? $40,000 and a load of headaches. What about the Senate Race? Amy Klobuchar has $5,000,000 raised so far. In 2008 Barack Obama spent $730,000,000, what’s it going to be this year? A billion?

So even people who want to be involved are asking themselves “What’s the point?” Is it worth it? What do I get out of it? Small factions of people control politics and it’s distressing. There is nothing more disturbing to me than the partisanship shown by politicians towards constituents on the other side of the political spectrum. But I can’t do anything about it because if I were to help elect a DFLer, in most instances, the same thing would happen, just in the other direction.

When money is out of politics, or maybe I should say IF money is ever taken out of politics and people are truly elected on their own merits and on their beliefs, then people who shun politics might come back. But when we are rigging systems with hoops to jump through to vote with things like advanced registration and voter ID, or the Supreme Court telling Montana that all those years that Montana tried to keep money from influencing politics, Montana was wrong, or when we learn that a majority of the time members of the House serve in Washington is spent fundraising or at least rubbing elbows to open doors for fundraising for the next election, we decide it isn’t worth it. It’s not worth the time, energy, cash or frustration, when the 5 hours or the $200 can be used for something that significantly affects your own life. That’s what even hardcore activists are becoming. The base is smaller and smaller, and the crazies are becoming more prevalent. The normal person is stepping to the side and deciding to forget about it. It’s not about a belief anymore, it’s about sides. I’m happy when my team wins and pissed when my team loses. And politics is returning to the smoke filled rooms of yesterday, only the rooms aren’t smoke filled anymore from cigars and cigarettes, they are smoke filled because of the screen those people are trying to hide behind.

Politics needs to change; I just don’t see that it will happen. I’d make the analogy that it’s like a marriage, and the divorce papers are being prepared, but I know a family that broke up because of commitments to politics, and it just wouldn’t be right.

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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!

Andrew Brobston Files Today to Challenge Dave Thompson for Senate in 58

Andrew Brobston, a software engineer from Vermillion Township in rural Dakota County, filed today with the Secretary of State to run for the Minnesota Senate in District 58.  The district includes Farmington, most of Lakeville, and portions of rural Dakota and Goodhue Counties.

“I am running for Senate to represent all of us in the district,” said Brobston.  “I want to work to end the divisive politics that frustrate Minnesotans.”

“When the legislature and governor arrived at a standoff that shut down the state government last year, the people of Minnesota lost.  New business owners suffered delays in getting building permits.  Schools endured uncertainty about their finances.  We need a legislature who can work together to solve the real problems facing this state.  Contests of will and one-sided thinking have no place in our government.”

Brobston is a first-time candidate for public office.  His background extends into areas besides software.  He was a school music teacher for three years in Iowa before attending graduate school in music.  Brobston moved to Minnesota five years ago to participate in the doctoral program in saxophone performance at the University of Minnesota.

“To me, Minnesota is about quality of life,” said Brobston.  “The opportunities here are among the reasons I stayed in Minnesota after completing my coursework at the University of Minnesota.”

Andrew Brobston said that he looks forward to listening to the people he will represent if elected.

“As a software developer, I am used to listening to people’s needs and interests and finding workable solutions.  I look forward to putting my problem-solving skills to work for the people of my district.  I need your support to make that happen.”

Find more information about Andrew Brobston at www.AndrewBrobstonForSenate.com.

Pat Garofalo’s School Payback Bill is Gambling to Win in 2012

I realize the Farmington Independent probably know what they are doing, but I hate that they edit my letters to the editor.

The following letter was printed in the April 13, 2012 edition of the Farmington Indpendent, however, the edition below is not edited:

Garofalo’s School Payback Bill is Gambling to Win in 2012

Representative Pat Garofalo must love to gamble.  He has used Twitter to tweet about gambling a lot in the past, and even tweeted on January 22, 2012 “…Thank you so much Lord for not allowing me access to sports gambling in Minnesota…” Apparently he can barely control himself when it comes to gambling.

We have evidence of his gambling at the legislature.  He was gambling when he proposed what he called a “payback to schools.” That “payback” is in truth just a balance transfer of debt, a gamble with our state’s financial future.  He is gambling that this little act of so called financial responsibility, in the face of another looming budget crisis, will be just enough whitewash to protect Republicans in the November elections after they borrowed 2 billion dollars from our students and school districts, rather than balance the budget responsibly.  In reality, Garofalo’s “payback” bill is the same as someone with credit card debt using another credit card to transfer balances to stave off the repo man for a few more months.

Garofalo and the Republicans in the Legislature are trying to hold on to the power they have to prevent Democrats from taking back the Legislature and solving the budget problem by eliminating corporate tax loopholes  for large corporate overseas operations and making Minnesota’s millionaires temporarily pay a little more tax.  Garofalo is a gambler.  He is gambling that Minnesotans will forget he took the money from schools in the first place to protect corporate profits and super-rich Minnesotans, and will remember that he proposed a bill to transfer money from one credit card to another – I mean payback the schools.

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By the way, there is a good introductory article on Jim Arlt, Pat’s opponent in 2012 in the Hasting Star-Gazette today.