Sunday, December 13, 2009


The sixth DFL gubernatorial candidate is Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

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?)


  1. April,
    I'm not real sure where you are getting the part about MAPE. Let me clear up a thing or two.

    The organization referred to here doing a survey is called the MPE Grassroots. It is no way affiliated with MAPE and does not represent the membership of MAPE.

    * Your comments about unhappy membership certainly are not shared inside of the organization. Our endorsement was done by a more representative (and larger) group than I've heard of from any other organization. Have you ever heard of an entire organization this large all doing their endorsement? Perhaps that is why they elect leaders.
    * It sure is interesting how an organization who was not present to hear all the candidates speak and have an opportunity to discuss issues with and ask questions of the candidates knows more than the members who were present and were elected by our 12,700 members state wide.
    * Their website is run by one person who places people on it by copying from state seniority rosters. Members rarely subscribe to them. There are very few members who support there extreme behavior that serves no purpose but to find fault and accusations every step of our organizations way. They have been around for many years doing it without success.
    * MAPE's endorsement process could not have been done in a way that would have satisfied this group anyway.
    * They did do a survey and the results have been printed showing Margaret a close second, 10 votes behind Mark Dayton. That wasn't bad considering they listed no facts about Mark Dayton on the survey while lying that Margaret was proposing a fictitious 2% salary cut to state employees. Yes, I said lying!
    * So, let's be honest, there is no controversy except in their less than scientific poll where they begged less than 200 people to vote for someone they refused to give the background on. Oh, in that 200, were votes for the other 8 as well. So yes, like every union, we too are an organization with 1.5% of its membership that can't ever be happy.
    * Did I mention that this organization chose to ignore the fact that Mark Dayton gave himself an "F" as a US Senator, made the cover of Time as one of the nations worst Senators, won't abide by the party endorsement and has virtually resigned from continuing any public office he's held.
    * I almost forgot. Margaret was responsible for the salary supplement for state employees the last time the state had a surplus. It was the best contract most of MAPE's membership have ever received. But hey. If you want to do polls and twist facts to get your results, it is possible.

    But please, make sure in your future posts, you too are not confusing MAPE and the good work we do for the citizens of MN with an organization that has completely different values and does not represent even a remotely representative group of the membership.

  2. I got the information about the survey from MAPE people I work with. I'm actually AFSCME myself but work closely with MAPE members. I've heard many rank and file MAPE members say they were not happy with the endorsement. Many were happy, but many others were not. I guess that's the same with any endorsement. You can't please everyone.It's interesting that Kelliher came in behind Dayton on the survey. Maybe the endorsement should be changed to Dayton, then.

  3. To Anonymous, who posted above: It looks like Blogspot cut off the last part of your comment. You must have went over the allotted number of characters. I did receive it in its entirety in the email that I get from Blogspot. In response to your comment about Dayton, please go to my Blog post "A Close Look at Mark Dayton." The issue you mention is covered there. Please do your research before believing media rags.

  4. Oh, so because he rated all the Senators the same as himself, it is okay? So, it must be okay not to abide by the party endorsement. It must be okay to have a web page as a candidate with no true legislative accomplishments in Washington. The truth is, all Dayton's legislation was so leftist, none of it ever stood a chance. That I don't need to read media rags or blogs to find out.

  5. For others who may be reading these comments and wondering why we're talking about Dayton on a blog about Kelliher, here's the link that sheds light on Dayton's remarks about Senators in Washington.
    My response to Anonymous (what is your name, dear?) is that yes, it's ok to not abide by the party endorsement. There's plenty of MN voters who think the endorsements should be abolished and we should just let all the MN voters decide in the Primary. In my opinion that might be worth looking into. You call his legislation leftest. Many of us call it Progressive. Think Paul Wellstone. Think Bobby Kennedy. Think truth and justice and equality for all. Think reNEW Minnesota. You might be surprised at how the election goes down next year. Minnesotans are ready for a big change and Dayton is just the governor we need.

  6. My other comment must not have posted. How interesting is it that you agree that MAPE should change it's endorsement. You should verify how many voters there were for AFSCME's endorsement that you support. I never criticized AFSCME's endorsement when my elected officials made that decision just like you aren't doing now. I think MAPE surpassed all of that and then some. We'll be in touch as things wash out. I think you will come around. Check delegate counts and gender of primary voters. You should not be surprised who the front runner is and yes, if Dayton gets the nomination, I will be surprised. Beyond that, he is just another one term candidate who will turn this horrible deficit in 2011 into fodder for Republican's to hold the office once again.

  7. What other comment? I approve every comment that I get in my email from Blogspot, at least so far. For the record, I was at the AFSCME endorsement. Any member who came was allowed to vote. We also had a discussion. There were quite a few AFSCME members present. At least the members were all invited to come and vote. I stood up twice and spoke up in favor of Mark Dayton. Why? Because I know that MN desperately needs a Progressive governor. Are you sure you're not a Republican? Are you AFSCME or MAPE? I thought you were MAPE, but from your comment above it sounds like you might be AFSCME. Why didn't you attend the endorsement process? You think I'll come around? To what? Voting for Kelliher? Sorry, but I'm a very loyal person and my loyalty is to Dayton. The reasons can be found on my blog post about that candidate. My second choice would be Thissen.


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