Last night I attended my first precinct meeting. I live in White Bear Lake, so this was SD53. The meeting was at the other end of the precinct from where I live. It was at City Hall in Lino Lakes. I'm glad I went. I met some great people.
Paul Gardner was there. He's a Representative from Shoreview. He represents Shoreview, Circle Pines, North Oaks, Lexington, Blaine and Lino Lakes. On his website, he talks about how difficult it's going to be to balance the budget this year and that hard choices will have to be made. I highly recommend that people in his district reelect him.
Sandy Rummel was also in attendance. She's the state senator from District 53, which includes my city of White Bear Lake. I will definitely vote for her. Find out about Sandy at her website.
At the meeting last night, Sandy told us that our state infrastructure is crumbling. That includes our roads, bridges, highways, schools and so much more. Many people don't understand that Pawlenty is not lowering taxes. He's just renaming them and passing them down to lower levels of government. Our state is in a terrible mess. Minnesota cannot afford a Republican governor. This mess simply cannot go on. I cannot emphasize this enough.
We had two guest speakers last night. The first was David Schultz. He's running for Ramsey County Attorney. (Susan Gaertner is not seeking reelection.) I really liked what David had to say. First, he's very much in favor of stopping scams and abuses against seniors. I was recently at a DAR meeting when we had the Minneapolis Postal Inspector give a presentation on how prevelent scams toward and fraud of seniors is. The second issue that Schultz talked about was ex-prisoners and how they have such a difficult time starting over. It's very hard for them to even get a job, even though they've already paid their debt to society. I met a homeless veteran who told me the same thing. Veterans with a felony, even though they served their time, find it almost impossible to get a job. They can't even get all their VA benefits. This is unacceptable. I'm glad that David Schultz wants to do something about it. He definitely meets the vision of reNEW Minnesota. Here's his website.
The second guest speaker was Tom Rukavina. He's been a state representative from the Iron Range for 12 terms (going on 24 years now). He's also a gubernatorial candidate. Tom spoke about his take on what's happening at the legislature and on the terrible problems that legislators are having with Governor Pawlenty. He also spoke of mining on the Iron Range and of the Ford plant. Rukavina knows labor issues inside and out. He seems to have a plan to fix Minnesota's budget crisis. I'll need to sit down and talk with him more about it. It was great to see his staffer Orrie Salper with him last night. (Orrie reminds me very much of my oldest son's long time best friend Nick. They both have that same infectious smile.) Here's Tom Rukavina's website.
Here's a picture of Rukavina's staffer Orrie Salper. Orrie's the one on the left.
I really liked the way Tom and Orrie made sure they came over to where I was sitting to say hi. I felt bad for Tom, though, as he was really feeling under the weather. (And now I feel sick and have a fever so am staying home today.) He drove all the way down to the Cities, though, so he could attend the meeting. You gotta like Tom Rukavina just because he's such a likeable guy. Some politicians don't seem to relate all that well to their supporters. Some don't even reply to emails. Tom Rukavina always does, though. I think he genuinely likes people. Sometimes I get the feeling that the candidate I support doesn't even want me to be such an adamant supporter. I don't think he even likes me. After all, I am bossy and opinionated and probably embarrass him with all my blogs and posts. Ever feel like you want to crawl in a hole and hide?
I learned a lot about how the DFL party process works at the meeting last night. I volunteered to be a convener at the caucus on February 2. I also plan to be a delegate. It's great to be involved, especially since I need something to keep me busy. It's just me and my cat now, you know, as my youngest son moved to Connecticut. Besides, it's kind of exciting to help elect people who can turn our state around.
My cat Amy, otherwise known as Kit E. Khat.
I might start calling her Mogen David because she whines so much.