Tag Archives: Senate District 58

A Tale of Two Cities: The Plight of Local Politics

A tale of two cities…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was…”          -Charles Dickens

With just days until the 2014 election, Minnesota candidates were just required to submit their campaign financial data to the state to make it public record.  In my district, 58, Lakeville/Farmington and most of the rest of Southern Dakota County, the campaigns on the A and B sides are vastly different.

On the 58A side, which is most of Lakeville, Amy Willingham and Jon Koznick are competing against each other to win the open seat vacated by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg.  The two candidates are very evenly matched in donations, with Koznick edging out Willingham $41,964.77 to $41,558.29.  Together they have collected over $83,000!  That is a huge number in our area.  To put that in perspective, in 2012, Mary Liz Holberg and Colin Lee raised $26,433 collectively, and if you add in the 58th district senate race between Dave Thompson and Andrew Brobston, the total for all four candidates was $68,291.  Willingham and Koznick, have spent more than those four candidates raised in 2012.

On the other side of the district in 58B, the numbers are nowhere similar.  Incumbent Rep. Pat Garofalo has raised $13,038 this year, of course he started the year with over $52,000 in the bank, so he didn’t have to raise much, and Marla Vagts raised $7,065.  Together they raised just over $20,000, and one quarter of that was from the state public subsidy.

In summary, A side = $83,000. B side = $20,000.

It is understandable, that the A side would be higher, it is an open and contested seat, but there is another side to look at on the A side.  Both Willingham and Koznick have received over $5,000 each in individual identified donations from outside the district, and combined, have received over $10,000 from PACs and lobbyists.  In addition, together they have over $35,000 in unidentified donations, which probably increases those outside the district contributions.

Of course that is not surprising.  There are so many groups trying to influence elections, I expect it.  But that does not make it right.  Koznick and Willingham have raised more money from outside the district, than Garofalo and Vagts have raised total.  There is a fundamental problem with our election system when other people outside the district have as big of an impact on the election as the local voters – if not a bigger impact on the election.

When I hear people say government doesn’t work, well get a clue!  Where do you think it starts?  Right here, right now, on November 4th, and the 6-10 months leading up to that day.  If we want government to work, our election system needs to change to be about local voters, and local voters only!

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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.