Tag Archives: Senate District 36

Should it really be a hard choice for Republicans to play nice?

I have some real problems with the political leadership in my area.  It isn’t specifically that they are Republicans.  If that were the reason I wouldn’t like most of my family or many of our friends.  It is the political demeanor so many of the political leaders seem to possess.

The overriding character to be politically successful in the area seems to include a bit of disdain for opposition or at least disrespect for opposition, a little snobbishness, a touch of nastiness, smart alecky, globally uncaring and maybe even a bit hypocritical.  In my opinion, at least some of those traits fit each of our legislative representatives in Senate District 36. 

What got me thinking about this was a recent Bible study discussion about the end of Matthew 5.  At the forefront of my thought has been the idea that I am to live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward me.  Do any politicians do that?  I read an article in Politics in Minnesota about Rep. Mary Liz Holberg.  In the article Briana Bierschbach quotes former Republican State Representative Neil Peterson describing Mary Liz Holberg as:

“She can really be nasty. I know we didn’t agree on some things, but she dealt with things in her own, specific way.”

The article was not about Holberg’s nastiness, but that quote really struck me.  Should a person directly representing 40,000 Minnesotans, and indirectly the entire state, be nasty and vengeful?  Or should that person be generous and gracious?  I guess it is just my opinion, but I think a person we elect to represent us should be kind, circumspect, empathetic and maybe even a little chivalrous.  I know that is asking a lot and maybe the nature of politics preclude that, but am I wrong to say that should be the ideal? 

Is it kind for Dave Thompson or Pat Garofalo to lob insults at a leader elected to represent a large group of people simply because they disagree?  Is it considerate to say in “Dave’s perfect world” you don’t exist to a Labor leader?  Is it good-mannered for Pat to go on MPR and demand a personal thank you from education leaders for funding education, something I think he is elected to do and required by law to do? What does it say about Mary Liz Holberg when she got so upset that the Override 6 were not punished enough by Speaker Seifert, that she quit attending caucus meetings and joined Tom Emmer in trying to embarrass him and the rest of Republican Leadership? 

The political negativity goes on at every level in the district.  There is a popular school board member in Farmington who admits he is not nice to the administration or the rest of the board.  In Lakeville the Mayor wouldn’t accept a generous gift from a council member because of politics.  And in our district, Republican leaders worked to unseat Pat Garofalo in 2006, attempting to replace him because he wasn’t Republican enough.  Pat learned his lesson and has been loyal ever since, but what have the rest of us learned? Is that what we want?

Whether Republican or DFL, shouldn’t we hold the political leaders we nominate and elect to a higher standard?  When we consider a leader shouldn’t they be both effective and respectful?  I hope we can all agree that insults, egocentric actions and revenge are not the best ways to be respectful or to be leaders.

A current Republican legislator, who wished to remain anonymous in the Politics in Minnesota article said of Holberg’s decision to lead the Ways and Means Committee and to be effective:

“She would have to play nice a bit more, I’m sure the choice wasn’t easy, but she made it.”

Should it really be a hard choice to make to play nice?

Matthew 5: 46-48 – The Message
“If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”


2012 State Senate Campaign Message – I will not be running‏

The following email was sent out to the my 2010 Steve Quist for Senate campaign email list today:

It won’t be long and we will begin to hear a more consistent drone from Republican candidates who plan to challenge Barack Obama and Amy Klobuchar in 2012.  While few of us are looking forward to the upcoming federal cycle that will likely be brought to you by X, Y and Z corporations, it isn’t too early to begin thinking about the local races.

Many people forget that the Minnesota Senate which is generally a four year term is only a two year term in years that end with zero.  That means in 2012, the DFL will not only be challenging Pat Garofalo and Mary Liz Holberg, if they both choose to run again, but we also must challenge newly elected State Senator Dave Thompson for his senate seat. 

Despite an abundance of stickers and donation envelopes in my basement, I will not be running against Mr. Thompson again in 2012.  That means we need to find DFL challengers for Dave Thompson so they can begin raising the cash needed to fight in a competitive race.  If you are interested, or know of somebody who might be interested, I’ve learned a lot in the last year, and would be willing to share my plans, a (too late) developed strategy and a big list of do’s and do not’s.

My decision not to run was difficult.  When I first decided to seek the 2010 endorsement, I had planned for it to be a one-time thing to ensure the DFL had a name on the ballot.  Once I started to campaign, I kind of liked it and decided maybe to consider a second attempt in 2012.  But, despite having a great time meeting people and talking to people, I never felt really comfortable being a candidate.  I think I am more suited to be a behind the scenes participant, than a front and center candidate.  Even as I became more comfortable and I considered the idea of running again in 2012, I still thought there is a better candidate somewhere in Senate District 36.

My original plan for 2012 was to announce I would not seek the DFL endorsement allowing the district to find another candidate to take my spot.  At the same time, my intention was to continue to raise a little cash until a new candidate stepped forward.  My thought was if another candidate stepped forward I could pass the cash on to the other candidate, or in case a new candidate didn’t step forward, I would have a little bundle to start the 2012 campaign with.  But on the advice of several local DFLers and fundraising people, I have been advised not to continue to raise cash or to keep the door open to a possible 2012 run, so I will end my fundraising and campaigning immediately.

I thank you for your donation of money, we ended 2012 in the black, with a little surplus thanks to recent donations, as well as your donation of time, prayers and well wishes.  I look forward to helping the 2012 candidates and continuing to be involved with Senate District 36, Congressional District 2 and working to move the DFL forward as a member of the DFL State Central Committee.  Aside from the state Senate seat, we are working on messaging in our district and will work to get that message out on a consistent basis throughout the election cycle.  I encourage you to think about how you can help.  We need letters to the editor, donations to Senate District 36, participation at DFL events and candidates to support for City Councils, School Boards, Township Councils, as well as State House and State Senate seats.  Please get in touch with me if you want to be involved, feel free to “friend” me on Facebook, follow me (MNDem) on Twitter or contact me through my personal email.

I look forward to seeing and talking to you in this exciting new year.

Thank you,
Steve Quist

Prepared and paid for by Steve Quist for Senate, 18208 Empire Trail, Farmington, MN 55024

The Big Problem In “Conservative” Senate Districts

I see a big problem here in Senate District 36, and I think it probably applies to other “conservative” senate districts.  People have bought into the myth that Democrats don’t live here.  People are letting that idea influence what they do and how they act when it comes to politics and social justice.  People are afraid to act as individuals or fearful of being “outed” as a liberal to their conservative neighbors. 

The problem with that is that we are letting the conservatives tighten their grip on our district.  Every time a conservative political leader in our community makes an outrageous partisan comment and we let it go unchecked, an independent voter accepts it as reasonable.  Every time a Republican sign goes up in a neighborhood and we don’t counter it with a Democratic sign, an independent voter takes that as an indication of who to vote for.  Every time a donation is made to a Republican candidate, and a donation is not made to the Democratic candidate, an independent voter is hit with unmatched propaganda.

But I am here to tell you that there are Democrats in our district.  13,686 people voted for me, the DFL candidate for Minnesota Senate in District 36.  That is a lot of people!  True, it wasn’t nearly enough to win, but what if we could have gotten our message out to a couple thousand more people?  What if all the Democrats had voted?  What if 10 more people had door knocked?  What if we could have afforded 100 more signs?  There are 50 more things we could have done, and what if it all happened in a year that wasn’t a “wave” election year?  There is no reason to believe we could not have swayed a few thousand independent voters, after all, all those voters are not Republicans.

Districts like Senate District 36 are not unwinnable, they are just challenging.  It might take years to challenge the political status quo, but we can change it.  To do it, we all need to take a role in the transformation.   We are Democrats, and a democracy works best when everybody participates.  So take an active role over the next two year, and let’s work to change the attitude in this district.

I know it can be a pain to volunteer for a couple hours.  I know that the never-ending phone calls at election time are annoying.  I know that money might be too tight to donate.  I know that neighbor down the block might quit talking to you because of your sign.  But accept it as part of the price we need to pay for better schools, more jobs, a little more social justice and a brighter future.

Take the next step and be a part of the transformation.  The Senate District 36 DFL is holding a meeting at the Lakeville Heritage Library, Thursday, December 9, 2010, at 6:30 PM.  Show up, be a part of the democracy and make a difference.


Fill me with soma and let the corporations decide what to do with me.

Where are all the cries coming from right-wingers about activist judges?  Our politicians are already overly influenced by corporations, now they are going to be selected by corporations too.  Great!  And it isn’t just GE, Exxon, Citibank, Wal-Mart or UnitedHealth we need to worry about.  There is nothing to stop a Saudi or Chinese corporation from buying ads to influence our elections now.  Thanks Supreme Court. 

Thanks for setting the course for all those sci-fi movies and futuristic books with mega-corporations running the world.   When do they start determining who costs too much to live – oh wait, insurance companies already do!  Pfizer can start feeding us soma to keep us happy, Wal-Mart can instruct us in what is OK to buy, and UnitedHealth can start eliminating the surplus population that costs us a little too much as a society.

Do you think I am overreacting?  Think about a local election.  The total campaign expenditures in 2008 for both candidates in my house district 36B was under $50,000.  What is stopping a company from spending $50,000 or $100,000 on one candidate to send their own henchman to the State House?  How much do they spend on lobbyists?  Who needs a lobbyist when a company can have their own Joe Leiberman.

And what about the cost of ads now?  With the influx of spending, the cost will go up.  It’s called supply and demand.  That will make it harder for a local candidate to afford to advertise.  It will make running a campaign even more expensive, thus more beholden to big money.

Let’s be honest.  Republicans have got to be most happy about this decision.  Not because they will likely benefit from more corporate spending than Democrats, but because the onslaught of commercials will just turn more people off to politics.  The fewer people engaged the better Republicans do.  Suppressing the number of voters is good news for the GOP.

Republican leadership is spewing first amendment talking point trash, but the only ‘persons” who will soon have first amendment rights will be “persons” with money.  John McCain has every right to be “disappointed” Mitch McConnell.


Pat Garofalo’s Frustrations Frustrate Me

This is exactly why our country’s infrastructure is crumbling and poverty is not just a problem, but a growing crisis.

I received Rep. Pat Garofalo’s latest “Inside Scoop,” the occasional email he send to constituents. This is how he complained about the sales tax increase that took effect the beginning of the month:

“To make matters worse, once again our area will see very little benefit from this tax increase. It is frustrating to see our area once again footing the bill to pay for other people’s government. Very frustrating.”

It is frustrating that it is so hard for Rep. Garofalo, and others, especially those on the right, who can’t see that our government should be working to make life safer and better for all of us. After decades of right-wing dominance, we might need to take some actions to make corrections. Very frustrating.