Friday, January 1, 2010

reNEW Minnesota: Choose Three DFL Gubernatorial Candidates

The reNEW Minnesota Campaign is a project of TakeAction Minnesota. The goal is to elect a governor in 2010 who will adhere to the reNEW Minnesota vision. Here is the vision:

Our Future Together: A Vision for a reNEWed Minnesota

We have inherited so much good from the people who came before us and we will continue building on that foundation. We also inherit a legacy and ongoing practice of injustice that must be addressed. The decisions we make today will dictate the quality of our lives together and those of generations to come. We create the future for our children’s children.

We make these decisions at a crossroads. Minnesota has a proud tradition of community, of helping one another, and of understanding that “we all do better when we all do better.” But in the last 20 years, a damaging ideology has gained increasing power in Minnesota government. It has strained our families, divided our neighborhoods, and created needless suffering throughout our state. The future on this path promises further isolation, deprivation and pain.

The ideology we reject:

We reject the ideology of “you’re on your own” – the idea that we are better off when competing against each other for our individual lot in life.

We reject the ideology that says markets can solve all problems and that our government can solve none.

We reject the ideology that denies the ongoing impacts of racism in our society.

We reject the politics of “except” – a politics that says some people are not deserving of full participation in our society.

We reject the idea that people should get as much as they can for themselves with no thought to their neighbor.

These Are The Beliefs We Are United On.
This is the Minnesota We Want To Live In.

WE WANT TO LIVE IN a Minnesota Where We Are All In This Together.

We recognize that we do not live in isolation. We are an interconnected and interdependent people. From our family farms and rural towns to our suburbs and cities, we rise together or fall together as a state, not as individuals. We believe community is vital to rebuilding and revitalizing our state. Our problems are experienced together. Our solutions must be created together.

WE WANT TO LIVE IN a Minnesota Where We Make Decisions Now to Improve the Lives of Our Children’s Children.

We believe our land, natural resources and social values were passed on to us and are the legacy we leave for future Minnesotans. We must leave a better world for those who come after us.

WE WANT TO LIVE IN a Minnesota Where the Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person Is Recognized.

Without Exception.

We all benefit when every person has the opportunity to fully participate in every part of our society: from marrying the person they love in a civil ceremony, to participating in our democratic decision making structures. We believe we all have a responsibility to contribute our love, talents, energy and creativity with our family, friends and community without exception.

WE WANT TO LIVE IN a Minnesota Where We Embrace a Politics of Inclusion and Justice for All.

Racism is experienced every day in Minnesota through unequal access to material and social resources. We believe every child born and every newly arrived resident should benefit equally from our quality of life and have the power to make our state better. We believe in a Minnesota where the values, traditions and contributions of Native Americans, Hmong, African‐Americans, Somalis, Latinos and all immigrants and people of color are valued and respected. We commit to eradicate racism in our society today and to undo the continued impacts of past racism.

WE WANT TO LIVE IN a Minnesota Where There Is A Fair, Equitable Economy That Benefits Everyone.

Minnesota is a wealthy state – financially and in our material, social, and natural capital. We believe that workers should be able to meet their basic needs through the wages they earn. We are also responsible for those unable to work, for we are truly free only when economic insecurity and social anxiety are alleviated for all of us and each of us can live our lives to our fullest potential. Alone, each of us is vulnerable. Together we bring boundless creativity and passion. And, if we use them well, we have abundant material resources to tackle the challenges we face as a society.

The Role of Our Elected Leaders in reNEWing Minnesota

We believe that the point of winning elections is to enact positive change in the lives of Minnesotans. We need bold visionary leaders whose mission is to advance our shared values.

We need a governor who will not govern alone. We need a governor who will work with a powerful economic, social, racial justice movement to implement our shared vision. We need a governor who will strengthen our collective democratic institutions—our government institutions as well as our labor and community organizations. We must also change how we act in our relationships with elected officials and among ourselves. Our next governor must co‐govern with us, the people of Minnesota.


The path toward a more just society and a more inclusive and vibrant Minnesota is ahead of us. One hundred years from now, our children’s children will live their lives based on the decisions we make as a state now. We commit ourselves to reNEWing Minnesota so that we will all rise together. The choice is ours. We have the power.

On January 31, 2010, reNEW Minnesota will choose three DFL gubernatorial candidates who most meet our vision. All of the paid members of TakeAction Minnesota will be able to vote.

Here are my three choices, based not only on who fully embraces the reNEW Minnesota vision, but also on who is electable enough to win. I did not choose one particular candidate who fully embraces the vision because he has already lost two bids for the governorship in previous years. We need someone who is not only progressive but someone who can actually win a state-wide election. That narrows the field down quite a bit.


Mark Dayton speaks at the reNEW Minnesota kickoff event
at Arlington High School in St. Paul.

Reasons for Choosing Mark Dayton:
*Progressive politics since 1968
*Actively protested against the Viet Nam War
*One of a handful of senators who voted against the Iraq War
*Helped seniors get prescription drugs at cheaper prices
*Spoke out in the U.S. Senate against the Marriage
 Amendment, which was discriminatory against GLBT
*Donated his senate salary to the Senior Federation
*Bought a Braille laptop for a blind woman; Emily Zitek
 was riding a Metro Transit  express bus from her job in
 St. Paul to Minneapolis when somebody reached under
 her seat and snatched her backpack that contained her
 laptop. The computer contained nearly all the information
 she needs to keep track of the vending machines she fills
 and to teach other adults with visual impairments to live
 independently. "Her story touched my heart and it was
 the least I could do," said Dayton, who is living in
 Minneapolis. "It's awful how low some people will go, and
 if anybody needed help, it's Emily."
*Introduced legislation in the Senate to form a Dept of Peace
*Passed in the U.S. Senate his "Taste of Their Own Medicine"
 amendment, which would have limited Members of Congress
 to the same prescription drug benefits they provided seniors
 under Medicare
*Determined to expand access to affordable long-term care
 throughout Minnesota
*Fully supports a single-payer health care system both
 nationally and in Minnesota
*Introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate for a refundable
 tax credit of $1,000 to offset prescription drug costs for
*Voted against the bill which prohibited Medicare officials from
 negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs
*Pioneered and passed the first $3 million appropriation for the
 Minnesota National Guard’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon
 program in Congress. This program has expanded nationwide
 and helped thousands of returning Iraq and Afghan  War
 soldiers and their families readjust after their heroic service
*Co-sponsored and passed legislation that requires the Dept
 of Defense to pay for all expenses of our troops returning
 home on R and R from Iraq, Afghanistan and any future
 war zones
*Traveled to Iraq three times and Afghanistan once to support
 our troops, especially Minnesotans, serving heroically in those
 war zones
*Awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award by the State
 Veterans of Foreign Wars for his leadership and support of
 Minnesota veterans
*Secured money for a pioneering mental health program for
 soldiers returning from combat
*Set up a hotline for people denied claims by their insurance
*"There's something appealing about somebody who doesn't
 need the job. Implicit in somebody not needing a job is that
 person will try to do the right thing," said GOP analyst
 Sarah Janecek. "It makes him stand out. Here's a guy who
 walked away from the most exclusive club in the country."
*"Mark Dayton is not a politician's politician," said Eliot
 Seide, AFSCME's executive director. "Mark Dayton doesn't
 make decisions based on the politics of the moment or his
 own political needs. We're dealing with somebody who has
 an immense sense of personal integrity and some font of
 personal strength."
*Under Rudy Perpich, he learned to go anywhere and talk
 to anyone to bring jobs to Minnesota
*Has a reputation for keeping promises; he says what he
 means and means what he says
*Is known for his honesty and integrity

Democratic Visions Interview

Why Mark Dayton is Running for Governor   Transcript

reNEW Minnesota Interview

What is the Greatest Threat to Minnesota?

The following is an article taken from Minnesota Progressive Project. (There are more videos of The Uptake interviewing Mark Dayton at the bottom of Grace Kelly's article.)

Mark Dayton: Taking On Tax Fairness
by: Grace Kelly
Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 22:02:33 PM CDT

Mark Dayton was already successfully a US Senator, elected in a year when people would have given any Democratic candidate long odds. Yet he captured the hearts of Minnesotans and won enough votes. It is true that his opponent, Rod Grams, was very poor on constituent service. Yet the many foibles of Norm Coleman did not make Norm Coleman an easy candidate to defeat. Yet still political opponents tend to discount Mark Dayton.

Mark Dayton listens more than any other candidate. He wears his heart on his sleeve, you can see that he cares. He obviously is an introvert. Yet it is hard to spend any time around him and not trust him. How many politicians can you say that about? I trust him because I read online his many speeches on the war, when taking a peace stance was not popular.

On the issues, Mark Dayton is golden with well stated Democratic views. In fact, he has traction on the tax fairness issue, for he is rich. So when Mark Dayton is talking about the top 10% of earners paying their fair share, he leads and has high credibility.

One of the reasons, that Mark Dayton is so trustworthy is that he spent his own money on the campaign, so he was beholden to no other interests other than the voters. This campaign, he says that he needs to raise money. One of the greatest reasons to have money is to spend it the way you want. I think it would be a great use of money to fund ones own campaign. For me, it would be way better than those expensive yachts.

For every candidate, I try to ask a different surprise question. For Mark Dayton, I asked what his favorite political hero in history? His answer about Robert Kennedy is incredible and totally sincere. We had to pause the interview, so people in the room could cheer! I thought that his critique of Pawlenty's fatal flaw is the best yet!

Mark Dayton's Favorite Political Hero

Mark Dayton has been endorsed by AFSCME. Union president Mike Buesing explains, “Mark Dayton is devoted to public service, like AFSCME members are. He’s been a public school teacher, a social worker, and he’s led three state agencies. Mark’s been a good boss and he’s got the experience to lead Minnesota out of its budget crisis. He wants our wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share of taxes so we can afford the vital public services that Minnesotans want and need during tough times. We believe Mark Dayton can make Minnesota work again.”

More about Mark Dayton:
The Minnesota Brown Interview
Senator Mark Dayton Scores
Congressional Votes Database
City Pages Interview
Revealing Pictures
The Senate Years
Minnesota Public Radio, January 4, 2004
CNN News on Closing Senate Office
The Peace Alliance
Statement from Harry Reid
Minnesota Nurses Thank Mark Dayton
Statement from Senator Byrd
Senator Mark Dayton in Beijing, China
Interview with Joe Bodell



Representative Paul Thissen listens to a table leader explain
what she wants to see in our next governor.

Reasons for Choosing Paul Thissen:
*He heads the Minnesota Health Care Committee.
*He was the only gubernatorial candidate to join the protest
 held in front of the governor's mansion to save GAMC. It
 was cold and damp outside, but he stood there with us for
 nearly an hour. He truly cares about the people who are
 losing their medical care.
*He is dedicated to making sure that the future is better
 than the past.
*He's a strong supporter of fair taxes.
*He supports moving from procedure-based medical
 payments to paying to take care of people.
*He supports doing a better job of getting services to
 veterans, particularly those who have received traumatic
 head injuries and post traumatic stress disorder.
*He supports affordable health care for everyone.
*He supports closing the achievement gap in education.
*He authored the Children's Health Security Act that
 covered thousands of children. He also led the 2008
 Health Reform Act. He has authored dozens of bills this
 past session, including Campaign Finance Reform,
 Veterans Affairs, the Environment and Consumer
*He walked with SEIU Local 26 and its friends through
 the skyways of Minneapolis to highlight the need for
 good jobs and a green future.
*He supports building communities that allow all ages
 to thrive. He wants older Minnesotans to be able to
 live independently and with dignity.
*He leads the effort to find creative solutions to the
 challenges posed by the retirement of the baby boomer
*He believes that we are all better off if older Minnesotans
 stay in the neighborhoods where they feel comfortable
 and continue to be actively involved in the community.
 He shows strong support for home and community-based

Who is Paul Thissen?

reNEW Minnesota Interview

What is the greatest threat to Minnesota?

Paul Thissen on K - 12 Education

The Uptake Interview

Two Positive Stories About Government

More about Paul Thissen:
The Minnesota Brown Interview
Representative, District 63A
City Pages
More from City Pages
Interview with Joe Bodell



Tom Rukavina at the reNEW Minnesota kickoff event at
Arlington High School in St. Paul.

Reasons for Choosing Tom Rukavina:
*He cares about children and schools
*He supports labor issues
*He has blue collar roots
*He was a small buisness owner
*He's a champion of the working class
*He was an active union organizer
*He has been a Representative for 23 years
*Is known for standing up against the Republican politics of
 fear and greed
*Strong advocate of buying American made
*Principal author of a bill that increased the state’s minimum
*Supports a progressive and fair tax code
*Believes in fair and honorable treatment of veterans
*Supports quality, affordable health care for everyone
*Believes that health care is a basic right that no Minnesotan
 should have to go without
*Believes in liberty before government
*Proposed legislation to add a surtax to income taxes that
 would blink on during economic crises and blink off during
 normal economic times
*Supports equal rights and opportunity for everyone
*Supports tax rebates for the disabled
*He created the Iron Range Scholarship Endowment, which
 dedicates mine royalties to support Minnesota resident
 freshmen at each U of M campus
*In full support of the Minnesota mining industry
*Has compassion for working people
*Experienced at creating new jobs
*Has idea of collaboration with Ford Motor Company to
 create and market an electric hybrid plug-in truck
*Supports renewable, clean energy

About Tom Rukavina

reNEW Minnesota Interview

What is the greatest threat to Minnesota?

Rukavina speaks at the MN AFL-CIO forum

More about Tom Rukavina:
MN House of Representatives
Minnesota Brown Interview
Iron Range DFL
Star Tribune Commentary
The Minnesota Independent
Minneapolis Examiner
U of M Alumni Association
Project Vote Smart
MPR News

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