Tag Archives: Steve Quist for Senate

I had to post something

I’ve written at least once a month since September 2010.  I know I was busy in 2010 with a campaign, but I have no excuse for missing a month now.

I know exactly why I might have missed a month if I hadn’t written this.  I know why nothing is boiling over for me to write about, I’m sick of partisan politics.  I’m not even getting upset at the hypocrites who could always get my goat enough to write one thing.

For example, Pat Garofalo has become more of a swearword than a goofy and arrogant twitter feed to follow and make fun of.  I recently called him a dumbass on Twitter.  If you know me, you know that is about the most vulgar I get.  Instead of laughing at him (not with him) I feel more like Red Foreman on that 70’s Show and would rather kick him in the ass so hard his nose will bleed.

Well this is a post, so I’ve met my once a month post quota.

I’ll be at the DFL Convention this weekend.  I’m sure I’ll get at least one post out of that, so I should be good for a couple months now.

So in the immortal words of Red Foreman: “Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs put their foot in your ass.”

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Would MN’s version of the Stand Your Ground Castle Doctrine law lead to legal murder too?

I was given a ‘D’ grade from the NRA in 2010.  I’m a pretty typical Minnesotan when it comes to hunting and gun ownership, so I was surprised to receive a ‘D.’ Of course it wouldn’t have surprised me if the ‘D’ grade was partially because of the letter ‘D’ after my name on the ballot.  Still, I know why I got a low grade.  I have common-sense and reasoned thinking about gun ownership.  Like, I don’t believe a person should be walking through Downtown Minneapolis with an uncased hunting rifle on their shoulder.  Apparently that is OK with that infinitesimally small percentage of gun owners who actually belong to and support the NRA.

Another question I could not in good conscience answer the way the NRA would have liked me to was about the expansion of the “Castle Doctrine.”  The question on the NRA Minnesota Candidate Questionnaire asked:

11. A doctrine in common law, known as the “Castle Doctrine,” provides that a man’s home is his castle, and that he may use any manner of force, including deadly force, to protect it and its inhabitants.  Over the years, some courts have eroded this principle by ruling that there is a “duty to retreat” before meeting force with force.  Would you support reforming Minnesota laws so that: (1) a person would have the right to meet force with force to protect himself/herself and family members regardless of their location, (2) a “duty to retreat” would no longer exist in any place a person may lawfully be, and (3) a person justified in the use of force would be protected from criminal and civil liability?

I answered “no” to that question.  I absolutely believe I have the right to defend my family in any situation, but the wording seemed odd to me.  Specifically in number (1)”regardless of location” and in number (2) the part about “any place a person may lawfully be.”  Those two sections don’t seem to be about a man’s castle, they seem to be about being anywhere.  It seems vague.

The NRA got their wish and the Castle Doctrine change was not only on the agenda in Minnesota’s legislature, the Republicans passed the Castle Doctrine, despite the objections of Minnesota law enforcement agencies.  Thankfully Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed it.

Minnesota’s “Castle Doctrine Law” is similar to the Florida law called “Stand Your Ground.”  Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed the “Stand Your Ground Law” in 2005 saying “It’s common sense to allow people to defend themselves” as he signed the new law.

Defending yourself is fine and legal. In fact, Minnesota’s law already allows for justifiably taking of a life, if it is “done in the belief that it was necessary to avert death or grievous bodily harm.”  But, we’ve seen what these laws are.  These are laws permitting murder — legalizing vigilante justice.  They have not been created in an effort of one’s defense other than legal defense of murder.  We’ve seen it in Texas and Colorado, when burglars were “justifiably” killed as they run away.  And now we have an unarmed 16 year old boy, who was pursued by a man with a gun and confronted by that man apparently because he was black and wearing a hoodie.

Who was standing their ground?  Who was defending himself?  Even if a fight ensued, wasn’t it Trayvon Martin who was standing his ground?  He was the one being followed by a man with a gun.  He had no weapon.  I’m sure he felt his life was in danger.  Be realistic! Be rationale! George Zimmerman hunted down and shot a boy because of his racist paranoia.  George Zimmerman wasn’t standing his ground, he initiated the confrontation and committed murder.

Even some legislators I really like supported Minnesota’s version of the “Stand Your Ground Law.”  They should all be ashamed.  They tried to make a murder like the murder of Trayvon Martin legal.  Thank you Governor Dayton for listening to law enforcement officers and doing the right thing.

Why don’t Dave Thompson and the GOP understand the conflict of interest?

Tom Scheck and Catharine Richert of MPR published an article titled “Chairman’s spending decisions on insiders helped lead to GOP debt.”  The article features my own State Senator, and the candidate who defeated me, Stat Senator Dave Thompson of Lakeville.

Scheck and Richert document the unethical and nepotistic spending frenzy carried out by Tony Sutton and the GOP that helped lead to the Republican Party’s current $2,000,000 debt.  Yes, that is two million dollars in irresponsible debt owed by the party that claims the mantra of fiscally responsibility.  And do not get me started on what happened in 2001 when the Republicans rented out an amusement park for 500 people with a pyrotechnics show, paid $9K, and refused to pay $22K because the amount was not properly approved… Like I said do not get me started.

The entire story by Scheck and Richert is very interesting, but the section titled “PARTY INSIDERS AND CANDIDATES ON THE PAYROLL” was the most interesting to me.

First of all, my name is in that section of the article, so somebody brought it to my attention.  But my name is not what makes it interesting.  The interesting part is that the section discusses the unethical employment practice, unethical at least in the eyes of many, including the DFL which has a policy preventing it, of the Party hiring candidates running for office to fill party jobs, including candidate Dave Thompson.

State Senator Dave Thompson was paid $70,000 for “communications consulting.”  While we were running against each other, I knew he was working for Lee Byberg who was running for Congress up in the 7th district, but I knew nothing of his work for the Republican Party that he was being handsomely paid for.  No wonder he drives a Mercedes.

Obviously his work did not affect me, or my run, but how did it affect his run?  He defeated Farmington City Councilmember Christy Jo Fogerty, and Lakeville School Board Member Bob Erickson.  Did he get any extra Party help because he was being paid by the Republican Party?  Was there anything else unethical in how the voting was conducted?  Did Sutton and the Republican machine arrange his win?

Do I believe any of that?  No, but the most important thing when it comes to this sort of thing, outside of basic ethics and morals, is not to allow anything that could create a shadow of a doubt to outsiders.

Dave Thompson who was being paid by the Republican Party told the MPR reports: “I guess I never saw that as being any kind of conflict, and still don’t to this day.”  Not a conflict?  Hello… 

It is entirely a conflict.  State law forbids a candidate from paying himself for work for a reason.  Just because state law does not prohibit political parties from hiring candidates doesn’t mean it is ethical.  And it does not mean it shouldn’t be against the law.  The MPR story quoted Mike Dean of Common Cause Minnesota who said:

“…he believes the Republican Party of Minnesota is circumventing that law. ‘This practice doesn’t meet a smell test in terms of what is ethical,’ Dean said. ‘There should be a clear bright line that says candidates for office should not be paid by other candidates for office or political parties.’”

The big concern is that the party, or other candidates in conjunction with the party, could work to provide the candidate a means of livelihood while they campaign.  When I ran against Sen. Thompson, I worked until 5, drove home to Farmington in traffic, got home around 6, ate dinner with my family, then went out and door knocked for a couple hours, maybe visiting 10-20 houses before it got too late or too dark.  If I could have door knocked areas during the day because I was being paid by Lee Byberg, the Republican Party, or even another candidate with a surplus of funds for “contracted services,” maybe a few more votes could be had.

If the DFL thinks it is unethical, and if other groups think it is unethical, but the Republican Party doesn’t think it is unethical, or Dave Thompson doesn’t think it is a conflict, what is wrong with them?

The party of fiscal responsibility?  What a hypocritical group of jokers.  If anything has come out of recent elections, The Republican Party is the party of special interests and conflicts of interests.  The next thing you know they will try nominating for President a former Speaker of the House who wanted to prosecute a President for having an affair, while that Speaker of the House was having an affair…

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.