Tag Archives: DFL SD36

There is nothing illegal about auctioning off access to John Kline? Really? Nothing?!?

Down here in Senate District 36, we were trying to come up with an idea to raise some funds to help our 2012 candidates.  When we contacted the Campaign Finance Board with a couple ideas, we were told we could not do any kind of a raffle.  We ended up doing a silent auction. We had golf balls, buttons, mugs, signed books, you know the typical stuff.  One thing we didn’t have was a legislator.  Raffles are a no no, but apparently it is legal and acceptable to auction off access to congressmen and state legislators.

City Pages recent story “Carver County Republican Party tries to auction off legislators, then denies it” reports:

“There’s nothing illegal about auctioning off access to U.S. Congressmen and high-ranking state lawmakers to the highest bidder.”

I had no idea.  I would have just assumed that to be illegal.  I know you can have $2,000 a plate dinners, and special meet and great events based on donation levels, but the actual physical auction of a politician just seems extra dirty.

Sally Jo Sorensen and her news site Bluestem Prairie has done a great job of making this public. 

Sorensen wrote:

“While all of those who passed this on to Bluestem are registered lobbyists, without additional investigation, we cannot assert here that only lobbyists received an offer to bid on Republican legislators. We might also assume, for instance, that corporate CEOs, bank fat cats, private sector ALEC members, and other folks who who might wish to bid on chance to golf-with-a-shotgun with lawmakers, also have been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And they don’t have to worry if they don’t have their own shotgun, shells or experience. The invitation continues:

If you are not able to attend this event, please do your contacts a favor and forward this email on to others that could benefit from this opportunity.”

Did you notice that last line?  I know the pronoun usage of “that” rather than “who” is grating, but not what I want you to concentrate on.  It says “forward this email on to others that could benefit from this opportunity.” This is definitely being promoted as an opportunity for somebody to have one-on-one access to somebody like John Kline, who might be willing to sell his vote, or introduce a law written by the lucky winner — an “opportunity” at least.

It is no wonder that the Carver County Republicans quickly removed this event when it became public.  This is obviously nothing more than a smarmy way to let the fat cats and insiders control Republican politics a little more, while the rest of us giving ten bucks to our favorite politicians get treated like little kids at one of those spinning twisting coin drop donation bins just hoping for a little personal gratification in the end.

Partisan Political Derangement

Between Friday and Monday, an interesting set of conversations took place that all seemed to coalesce into what I can only recognize as personal disgust with the current state of politics.

On Friday night, at the Senate District 36 DFL picnic in Lakeville, we were fortunate to have Franni Franken visiting our picnic and engaging with people in our group.  One of the stories she told, which I heard second hand, was that she and Senator Franken routinely have dinner with another Washington couple, who – get this (whispering) are Republicans… I know, can you believe that?!? 

At that same picnic, the account of one bad incident at the Lakeville Pan-O-Prog parade was also discussed.  The story was that as I was walking in the parade and introducing myself as a Candidate for State Senate.  I was approaching a group of about six kids between the ages of 8-12.  They asked me if I had any stickers.  I told them I didn’t but I could give them a high five, and I jogged toward the line of kids with raised hands for a high five.  Just as I was about to give a high five to a boy, a woman, I assume his mother, stood up so quickly her lawn chair fell down backwards and yanked him with enough force backwards by the shirt that she had to catch him so he didn’t fall on his butt.  Of course I don’t know exactly why she didn’t want me to give him a high five, but I can only assume she didn’t want him touching a Democrat.

Finally, the third conversation happened at a Monday morning Bible study I go to.  We don’t spend all our time discussing biblical scholarly work, there is a bit of social engagement within the group.  We started talking about the State Fair, and the milk booth came up, and the cost of the milk.  From free, to a nickel, to a dollar, depending on age and memory.  I brought up Rudy Boschwitz’s flavored milk booth.  I remember it being a quarter, and I remember several flavors, although root beer was the best.  And what I remember most vividly about that booth was being there with my Grandma Quist one year while she dug in her purse looking for more quarters. 

None of those stories have anything to do with each other, but all three together represent the serious problems we face politically.  And as I sat in traffic this morning on my way to work, I connected the three stories.  There are big groups of people that can’t separate a person and their political beliefs.  Al Franken and the Republican Senator he shares a monthly dinner with can do it.  My Grandma an ardent Democrat could buy milk from Rudy Boschwitz.  But that mom would rather give her child whiplash than risk the possibility of Democratic cooties infecting her son.  And that woman at the Lakeville parade wasn’t the only one, there was the man who slapped my friends arm who was reaching out a sticker to see if anybody wanted one, and the boos and vulgarity from people who didn’t know me in the least bit other than that the three letters DFL were associated with my name. 

This uber-partisanship is preventing work from getting done, deals from being made, the economy from improving, and preventing our communities from becoming better communities.  It needs to end.  These divisive political figures need to be rebuked for the damage they are causing.  But the only way that will happen is if moderates who are turned off by all of this partisan politics all of the sudden become active.  Not likely… (Sigh)

Progressive Picnic in the Park SD36

There are 96,000 people in what is right now Senate District 36.  And despite its recent record of being solidly Republican, more than 40% of the voters are generally reliable Democrats.  With that base, and the real political fight moving to the outer metro suburbs, it is no wonder that first Senate District 36 fundraiser in years is garnering a lot of attention. 

Senate District 36 is having a fundraising picnic on Friday, August 19, 2011 from 5:30 to 8:00 with a very low suggested donation of $5.  We will be grilling hot dogs and having a good time at Antlers Park Picnic Shelter A on the east bank of Lake Marion in Lakeville.  Besides food, the district is hosting a silent auction with items ranging from signed books by Thom Hartmann and Al Franken, to sports memorabilia and golf balls.

Today I received word that Franni Franken will be at the picnic.  Add to that Attorney General Lori Swanson who is tentatively planning on coming, and we have a couple great DFL leaders joining us.  And with hits on our website (just updated with the latest on the picnic) way up since a few great volunteers started delivering invitations, this is looking live a really positive event for the district.

We can always use more volunteers for food or to help grill, even though we have had a great response for volunteers, if you would like to volunteer.  We are planning for between 50 and 100 people attending at some point during the evening, and with the silent auction items really coming in, most recently golf balls from Tom Bakk, a Sec. of State Joan Growe mug from former Sec. of State Joan Growe, and a Mark Ritchie donation in the mail, we are looking at some really great items. 

I’m both excited about hosting this picnic, and a little nervous because I really want to have a good showing in terms of attendance.  We are planning to make this an annual event, and an event like this that campaigns can plan for with big crowds during an election summer can really bring in a lot of people.  With increased attendance comes the annual financial boost that is much needed for DFLers in the South Metro. 

If you are free on August 19th, please stop by and have a hot dog, bid on a silent auction item and say hi to me and our other guests.  If you can help monitor the auction, bring some food or grill hot dogs that would be a bonus.

We’ve got one week to go, and the weather outlook for picnic day is Sunny and 80.  It will be great!  If you are coming, shoot me an email or text in case the numbers are higher than I expect.  Thanks.

Steve Quist
Chair, Senate District 36 DFL

A Lack of Competition in the DFL Leadership Races

In a little over a month I will have the honor to represent Senate District 36 in the decision to select new leadership for the DFL party.  Being involved in a decision like this is exactly why I wanted to get involved with the party.  I wanted to have an impact on the direction and the concentration of the DFL.  So it is a little disappointing that there are so few candidates stepping forward to fill leadership roles.

There are five positions that the DFL State Central Committee will be voting for in Cokato on February 5th: Chair, Associate Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and the Affirmative Action Officer.  To date, only one current office holder is seeking reelection, Affirmative Action Officer Frank Brown.  That means we will be electing new people to at least four of the five seats.  The problem is, only the Secretary position has multiple candidates.

The lack of candidates may be the norm.  This is my first year on the State Central Committee (SCC) so I am unsure of the history surrounding previous elections.  I do know that the recent Republican Chair race involved at least three candidates, and the 2005 DFL race involved three candidates.  I’m not sure what to think about an uncontested race.

Ken Martin (SD38) is the only candidate I know of to replace out-going chair Brian Melendez.  Ken is running with Marge Hoffa (SD42) for Associate Chair.  Chances are I would have supported Ken and Marge anyway, but I do wish there were other candidates.  Ken has a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.  I don’t know Ken, but I have heard good things from other people and bloggers, so I won’t be too worried if he gets the nod even without competition.

Tom Hamilton (SD51) is the only candidate for Treasurer that I am aware of.  Tom is currently the treasurer in the 5th Congressional District.  He made an announcement on the State Central Committee Yahoo group page on December 13th and started a Facebook fan page soon after.  A few people have asked him questions via the Yahoo group page, but without competition, there has been very little discourse.

The one race that is competitive has been interesting.  The race for Secretary has two candidates.  Vanessa Blomgren (SD44) and Jacob Grippen (SD31).  Vanessa and Jacob both have websites and both have a good presence on Facebook.  Additionally Vanessa has a Twitter feed.  The technology aspect makes sense since both candidates are in their mid-twenties, but Vanessa also has already contacted me the old fashioned way seeking support, by phone… Yeah, I know there are more old fashioned ways, like mail, but I was born in the 1970’s, the phone is old fashioned.  But the most interesting part of this race is the challenge thrown out by veteran DFLer Jules Goldstein.  Jules challenged each candidate to watch the first hours of the 2010 DFL State Convention on the Uptake’s website and prepare secretary notes.   Today I read each set of notes that were posted by the candidates on the Yahoo Groups page.  Vanessa’s sample notes were concise and simple.  Jacob’s notes were much more detailed.  My preference was Vanessa’s sample, but I think a lot of voters will like the details in Jacob’s sample.

I enjoy the competition going on between the secretary candidates.  I would like to see additional competition for the other candidates.  In the meantime, a blog post to start a discussion is the best thing I can do.  We’ll see what happens on February 5th.

CD2 Central Committee Meeting – June 8, 2010

What a DFL meeting in CD2 tonight!  About sixty people showed up for the DFL CD2 Central Committee Meeting at Burnhaven Library.  And the best part was that there were eight people from Senate District 36!!  Including two new members elected tonight to the CD2 Executive Committee, Jerry Klebs who was elected a CD2 Director, and Kevin Roberson who was elected to be the male Affirmative Action Delegate from CD2 to the state DFL commission.

Jerry has been involved in the party for a long time, and Kevin is a young man, not long out of college with a lot of great ideas just getting active.  Also at the meeting were all four male State Central Committee delegates and alternates, Charlie, Jerry, Rodd and myself.  As well as female State Central Committee delegate and great blogger, actually, multi-blog blogger  Holly Cairnes.  Candidate for House District 36A Colin Lee and CD2 Chair Jeanne Thomas rounded out the delegation from SD36.  It was very energizing to have so many SD36 people in attendance.

There were several candidates at the meeting.  Dan Powers, the DFL candidate for congress challenging John Kline.  Travis Burton and I were the only two candidates for Minnesota Senate, but Will Morgan (40A) gave a great campaign speech, Mick McGuire (25A), Colin Lee (36A) and Dave Page (57B) all spoke.  The best speech award goes to Travis Burton tonight.

Highlighting a couple of events discussed at the meeting:

The big CD2 golf fundraiser is August 1, only 233 people get in, and only 60 golfers, so make your reservations now.  It is a very affordable day of golf, great food and great discussions.  I’m going to talk to Charlie Thomas about putting together a memorabilia swap.

CD2 is now on Twitter @DFLCD2.

A couple of local events that we brought up:

Door knocking this Saturday in Lakeville.  This is a coordinated campaign door knocking event.  Meet Colin, myself and DFL staff and volunteers at the Dunn Bros. in Apple Valley on Galaxie by 11:00 am.  The more people the better.

The SD36 candidates will be hosting an outdoor event at Rambling River Park in Farmington on June 16th from 6:30-8:30 pm.  We are meeting at the picnic shelter.  Rain or shine come out and meet all three SD36 candidates.

The Dew Days Parade is June 19th at 1:00 in Farmington.  We need a big contingent of walkers for visibility.  If you are able to walk, carry signs, give out stickers or do something entertaining, we need you.  Contact Quist4Sen@hotmail.com.

Finally, Dan Powers in CD2, Colin Lee in 36A, Sigrid Iversen in 36B and myself, Steve Quist in SD36, need financial support to be viable candidates.  Even $5 makes all the difference.  Click on the name of the person you would like to make a donation to, better yet, make a $5 donation to all four candidates.

The next CD2 Central Committee Meeting is August 3, 2010 at the Burnhaven Library.  Join us.