This evening I attended the DFL 2nd Congressional District Fundraiser held at Stonebrooke Golf Club in Shakopee. The event began with a golf scramble, and continued with a Health Care Forum, however, I didn’t attend those two events. I barely got to the fundraiser in time to sit down for dinner.
As we walked in, I saw several gubernatorial candidates, and several State House and Senate members, as well as a few of the candidates who are running for House and Senate. I said hello to Paul Thissen who was standing at the registration table, then we made our way into the dining area. There were no assigned seats, so we claimed a couple seats with a good view of the speaker’s podium. At one point Rebecca Otto was going to sit at our table, but was unsure of what seats were available. I was a little disappointed when she didn’t sit down, because I would have liked to talk to her. But, my disappointment disappeared when Mayor R.T. Rybak sat down with us at the table.
R.T. Rybak is very impressive. If I were hosting a party, I would love to have him there just to be part of the conversation. He is very personable and seems very intelligent. I realize people already know that, as did I, but I thought it was worth pointing out. I had a pleasant dinner talking to a personal trainer, Janet Frank Atkinson, Mayor Rybak and my mom.
There were many speakers. Steve Kelley was the first speaker. Steve was celebrating his 30-somthingth anniversary today, but came to speak quickly to the group before heading back to his family. Mark Dayton also had family commitments, but spoke for a couple minutes at the beginning of the event. Rebecca Otto spoke, but made it clear she is not running for governor. Then we took a break from the speakers for a live auction.
State Senator Kevin Dahle was the auctioneer. I was told that the normal auctioneer couldn’t come because of prior commitments, but was amazed when Senator Dahle began speaking like an auctioneer. It was impressive. One of the more popular items was a dinner for 8 at the restaurant of your choice with Mark Dayton. Mark Dayton made the joke that the only bad part of the deal was that he had to be one of the guests.
After the auction we had a break to eat and talk, before speakers began again. Lori Swanson kicked it off, not as a gubernatorial candidate, but as a candidate for re-election as Attorney General. The remaining gubernatorial candidates got two minutes each to speak. Margaret Anderson Kelliher spoke. She is a very good speaker. Tom Bakk was next, and unlike MAK, he had to introduce himself. Chris Coleman made a funny joke about one of the auction baskets. Matt Entenaza gave a typical Entenza quick speech, followed by Susan Gaertner. John Marty made the comment that Governor Pawlenty has done to the state what President George Bush did to the country. That got some applause. Mayor Rybak mentioned his family from New Prague, which connected him with Laura Brod in my mind, connected by town only. Rep. Thissen was the last to speak, emphasizing that we need to “think big” to ensure we win in 2010.
It was a fun evening, and great to get a little taste of the candidate’s two –minute stump speeches. I did like Mayor Rybak’s comment when he returned to the table: Two-minutes goes by really fast.