Margaret Anderson Kelliher was born on March 11, 1968, in Mankato, Minnesota. She grew up on a dairy farm just outside of Mankato. She graduated from Mankato West Senior High School in 1986. Her college years were spent at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, where she earned her BA in political science with a concentration in history. She then went on to Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where she earned her MA in Public Administration in 2006. She was a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow. Kelliher was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1998 (District 60A). She is currently Speaker of the House. In addition to being a legislator, she also teaches at the Humphrey Institute. She is married to David Kelliher. They have two children and currently live in Minneapolis.
Here's how Margaret Anderson Kelliher measures up on the questions that I think are so important in deciding who to vote for:
1. How much experience working in government does the candidate have? Margaret Anderson Kelliher served as Minority Whip in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006. She became the first Assistant Minority Leader of the Minnesota House in January 2006. In June of that year, she was selected by her caucus to succeed Representative Matt Entenza as Minority Leader. After the Democrats won control of the House in the 2006 Election, she was selected by her caucus to be House Speaker starting in January 2007. She succeeded Representative Steve Sviggum in that position. On January 6, 2009, she was re-elected Speaker for the 2009-2010 biennium. Kelliher therefore has a little over ten years of legislative experience.
2. Is the candidate electable? Does the candidate have state-wide name recognition? Those who keep themselves informed about political goings-on would know who she is. There are, of course, a great number of uninformed voters who have no idea. Those who know who she is either fully support her or declare that they would vote Independent before they would ever vote for her. People seem to either love her or hate her. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground.
3. Does the candidate have viable ideas about how to fix the crisis that Minnesota is in? Does the candidate have an actual plan for tackling most of the issues, or does he/she only talk about one or two issues? Does the candidate whine that the new governor can't do everything so has to concentrate on one or two things, or does he/she appear eager to get right to work on a plan to solve all the most pressing issues? Here is Kelliher's plan. This is directly from her website. As Governor I will focus on job growth, job creation and innovation with a strategic, statewide economic development plan. In order to rebuild Minnesota, we must shore up the foundation of economic success throughout our state. We need an economic plan that touches every corner of the state. As Governor, I will continue our work to maximize the opportunities in green energy production and manufacturing. With one of the nation’s best renewable energy standards, 25% by 2025, we need to take every opportunity to grow our market share in this critical area. I believe Minnesota can be the center of the clean energy industry and wind, solar, cellulosic and biomass production partnered with investment in battery storage technology will be a top priority. As Governor, I will continue our work in medical technology and biomedical research. I have been a leader in partnering with business and higher education to grow Minnesota opportunities in this area. Ok, Margaret, that sounds good. That sounds a lot like Entenza's plan. Again I ask, what will you do for money for the first two years of your governorship? We have a multi-billion dollar deficit. Remember? What's your plan to put Minnesota back in the black and how long will it take?
4. Is the candidate popular with voters? She is definitely popluar with some voters and definitely unpopular with others. She has a lot of endorsements. That might not mean as much as we think. For example, MAPE rank and file are not entirely happy with the endorsement of Kelliher. It's said that the MAPE leaders made the decision and did not ask for the opinion of the workers. There have been many complaints. So many, in fact, that MAPE sent all the members a survey to see who the favorite choices would have been among the members had they been asked their opinion. (CORRECTION: IT WASN'T MAPE EXECUTIVE BOARD THAT SENT OUT THE SURVERY TO MAPE EMPLOYEES; IT WAS MPE GRASSROOTS, WHICH IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH MAPE EXECUTIVE BOARD. NEVERTHELESS, IT WAS MARK DAYTON WHO CAME IN FIRST ON THE SURVEY. ALSO, I JUST FOUND OUT THAT MPE GRASSROOTS CONSISTS OF BOTH MAPE MEMBERS AND FARESHARE MEMBERS. IT WAS STARTED BECAUSE MAPE DID NOT ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE OPINIONS OF ITS MEMBERS.) Can MAPE withdraw their endorsement? Or is it too late? I'll be interested in hearing the results of the survey. As far as voters in general, those who don't like Kelliher and wouldn't vote for her cite reasons such as her maniless, her obesity and her frumpiness of appearance. None of which is a good reason to vote for or against anyone. Some like her because she's very intelligent and can work with a bipartisan legislature. Others like the idea of a woman as governor of Minnesota for the first time ever. Gender is not a good reason to vote for someone either. Votes should be cast because of a combination of platform and electability. Is Kelliher popular enough to win the governorship? Only time will tell.
5. Is there anything in the candidate's past that the opposition can use to turn voters against him or her? I don't think there was before, but there is now. That would be her very recent little fiasco with the campaign finance board. See her response to it at mnpACT! Here's the Pioneer Press's take on the possible campaign finance violation. GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer called for Kelliher to resign, but she retorted that she will not step down from her Speaker of the House role. Rumor has it that some of the DFL candidates are displeased because they felt that Kelliher was given unfair advantage by the DFL party. This incident may have consequences on Kelliher's campaign. Stay tuned.
6. If the candidate has past legislative experience, what was his or her voting record like? Go to Votetracker to get her voting record. Just scroll down and click on the year you want.
7. Does the candidate have the type of personality that can get along with the legislators well enough to work with them and get things done? Does he or she have a history of getting along well with others? Some say yes, some say no. Kelliher claims that she has a good record of working across party lines. Does she get along with "Somtimes Governor" Tim Pawlenty? I doubt it. No one else does, so why would she? It must be admitted, though, that she has accomplished quite a bit during legislative sessions. And this in spite of T-Paw's propensity for vetoing everything. She has worked hard to override some of his vetos. That can't have been easy.
8. What is the public image of the candidate? How do others see him or her? Sometimes what you see is what you get; other times how you perceive a person is not at all how they really are. Here are some comments at the Star Tribune in response to an article about Kelliher's campaign finance issue:
I'm scared to death that the DFL will nominate Kelliher. The woman was speaker of the house and the DFL has had the two of the worst sessions for a majority ever. She has no chance of winning. She may have some good ideas or policies but she is not a leader. She let Pawlenty walk all over her party and the legislature this past session.
Dana Houle, DFL candidate Matt Entenza's campaign manager, said that Kelliher's arrangement compromised the integrity of the DFL. That's pretty funny, Matt Entenza clucking his tongue about laundering campaign contributions. Does Matt think we've all forgotten about that little episode with his wife's contributions in South Dakota? If anyone has compromised the integrity of the DFL in the governor's race, it's Matt Entenza.
Enough. The party process isn't working. The endorsement process is broke. Both parties give us extreme candidates to pick from. Instead of letting a few hundred people pick, lets scrap the endorsement process and let people decide in a primary.
I can't stand it that a few hundred of either party, usually the most extreme, get to decide the candidates. Usually these are the candidates who have been bought out by the special interests and don't represent the working people of either party. An open primary, where any candidate could enter the race, would bring about much better candidates. In addition, this might upset some, but I think we should have a primary between all candidates and then have the top three vote getters campaign for the general election.
Margaret Anderson-Kelliher is an honorable woman and would NEVER knowing engage in an illegal action, especially when her campaign is on a roll. The DFL acknowledged it was their mistake and not Speaker Anderson-Kelliher. Minnesota has never had a woman governor and Anderson-Kelliher is on target to be the first. We will see lots of sniping from both DLFer's and Republicans and watch for the sexism to come to a full head. While there are plenty of excellent DFL candidates running for governor, Margaret offers the state the greatest opportunity to break away from business as usual and bring a fresh face, executive excellence and experience with the legislature - on both sides of the aisle. Go Margaret!
All candidates should be reading newspaper article comments to find out what voters are thinking. Of course you do have to be able to separate the trolls from the people who speak from their hearts.
9. How much budgeting experience does the candidate have? Is it enough to combat the current budget crisis? Does the candidate thoroughly understand money? Kelliher does have a budget that she works with and must account for in the House. However, it is not nearly as large as the budget she would need to account for as governor. This is a job best left to the monetary experts such as Bakk, Dayon or Kelley. Thissen would also do a good job. I honestly don't think Kelliher could handle it. First, she doesn't have enough experience. Second, how can she even be dry behind the ears yet? She was born the year I graduated from high school.
10. Does the candidate have a history of going out of his or her way to help others? Does the candidate truly care about the people of Minnesota, or is the candidate only out for himself or herself? I don't think so. I haven't seen anything where she's volunteering at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, flood relief, etc. She was in the 4-H Club in high school. Does that count?
11. What are the true inner motives as to why the candidate wants to be the next governor of Minnesota? Watch the video below and see for yourself.
12. Will the candidate be able to win a debate against the opposition? If Kelliher had to debate against an established GOP gubernatorial contender, I honestly don't know if she could hold her own. She would try, and she might bull her way through, but she just doesn't have enough experience in this arena. Dayton could do it, and Rybak could do it, and probably Thissen, who is a very quck thinker. Bakk might be able to do it by intimidating the opposition with his deep, gruff, no-nonsense voice. Kelliher wouldn't be my first choice to win a debate.
13. Does the candidate like children and animals? I know she likes dairy cows. There's a picture of her as a girl with a cow on one of her webpages. I tried to save as, but it wouldn't let me. Darn. Other than that, I don't see any pictues of Kelliher with kids or animals. Indeed, I see very few pictures of just Kelliher. It's almost as though she doesn't want to show off any picture of herself. You think?
14. Does the candidate often say what he or she thinks the audience wants to hear or does he/she tell the truth no matter how unpopular that truth might be? Is the candidate honest with the audience or are there half-truths and embellishments? I've caught her saying what she thought the audience wanted to her a few times at the various forums and debates. For example, she told the Latino Caucus that she and her family moved to Minneapolis so her kids could have more diversity in their lives. Yeah right...she moved up here for her job. Can you imagine her saying to her husband, "Honey, let's move up to the cities so our little ones can experience diversity." Or was it more like, "Honey, we need to move to the cities so we can save money on gas and be close to the legislature." It doesn't take an Einstein to figure that one out. She needs to remember that her audiences are not stupid. On the other hand, I guess she's pretty honest about legislative matters. Except for the campaign finance issue.
15. Does the candidate agree to be accountable to the people of Minnesota? I'm sure she does. After all, she knows about every penny of her finance campaign money, right? So it shouldn't bother her to be accountable to the people of Minnesota regarding their hard earned tax dollars.
16. Does the candidate have a team of advisors and commissioners in mind yet? I don't know. I haven't heard anything about it.
17. In the final analysis, which candidate do you really connect with and why? I don't connect at all with Kelliher. She's too young. We have nothing in common except that I also grew up on a farm. No cows, though. Maybe Dayton will vote for her. He likes cows. (Do candidates always vote for themselves? Even if they are humble? Can you tell I'm getting tired and snippy?)
18. And last but not least, what has the candidate done in his/her career to help various communities of people, such as Seniors, Veterans, Children, Disabled, GLBT, etc.? I honestly don't know how Kelliher could relate to these groups. She has nothing in common with any of their issues. She does seem to support all Minnesotans, though, especially those less fortunate. After all, that's the DFL platform. And the reNEW Minnesota vision. Now if she's looking for more endorsements...
(Only four more candidates to go. To be continued tomorrow with John Marty, followed by Tom Rukavina, R. T. Rybak and Paul Thissen. I look forward to those. Should be fun and interesting.)
(Ok, where's my pat on the back? It'd be nice to at least get some feedback. Please leave comments on any of these posts. How can I improve if I get no feedback?)