Saturday, February 20, 2010


Lunch time at SD53 Convention

Today I attended the SD53 Convention. It was held at White Bear Lake High School, South Campus, in White Bear Lake. It was the first time I had ever been in that school. When I graduated from White Bear High School back in 1968, there was no South Campus.

When I arrived at 7:45 am the front of the school and the inside foyer were already plastered with candidate posters. It made for a very colorful and decorative scene.

My reNEW MN friends were already inside setting up. It was great to see Elizabeth, Gene, Mark and others again. We were planning to have several reNEW MN subcaucuses, including one for Rybak, one for MAK, one for Thissen and one uncommitted progressive values. I agreed to do the Thissen subcaucus.

I was so sad to disappoint Orrie, who so much wanted me to caucus for Tom Rukavina, but at this point I'm committed to reNEW MN and will be through the time of the State Convention, where I'll attend as an Alternate delegate. Of course they realize that at the Primary, my support will shift. Everyone is okay with that because everyone knows I'm a very strong Dayton supporter and why.

The Convention began promptly at 9:00. It opened with the call to order followed by the flag ceremony in which the flag was presented by a Boy Scout troop. We then had the Affirmative Action Statement, which was given by the SD53 Affirmative Action Officer. The agenda continued with the credentials report, the election of the convention chair, the adoption of the agenda, the rules committee report and the treasurer report. Then we had a report from the Donut Booth Committee. I signed up to work a shift at the Donut Booth at the Minnesota State Fair. It's just not enough that I always volunteer to help at the MDH booth and the Toastmasters booth!

All of that was followed by the Resolutions Committee report, the Constitution Committee report, and the endorsement of the State Senate candidate for District 53. This is Sandy Rummel, who is up for reelection. I will happily campaign for her.

We then broke out into 53A and 53B to endorse the House Representative. In 53A, Paul Gardner was endorsed. My House district, 53B, endorsed Chris Knopf. I will happily campaign for him, too.

Next on the agenda was the Nominations Committee and SD53 party officer elections. The precinct chairs were also ratified. I'm the chair of Ward 5. I'm also one of the eleven directors.

After that the Resolutions Committee led the voting on the debatable resolutions. We each also voted for other resolutions. There were many listed but each person could only vote for 18 of them.

Finally, we had our subcaucuses. Unfortunately, no one joined my caucus for Paul Thissen. I guess all his supporters are in other districts. Therefore I joined the reNEW MN uncommitted caucus. We had twenty people so we got two delegates and two alternates. I'm one of the alternates so will be going to State Convention in April.

Toward the beginning of the convention, candidates were allowed a few minutes to speak. Here's what they had to say:

Maureen Reed - She's running against Michelle Bachmann in the 6th District. Reed says that she won't turn her back on education. Her take is that Wright County and Anoka County will be the toughest to crack in the District, as they are both very conservative counties. She claims to know independent voters and she knows where they live. She stands fully insulated against Bachmann's assaults. She will turn her opponent's strengths into weaknesses. (Bachmann has strengths? I did not know that...)

Paul Thissen - He's mad because of Pawlenty's veto of GAMC. (We all are!) Thissen is playing to win; he's not playing "not to lose." His take on the philosophy of Republicans is that they think we're each alone and in it for ourselves, whereas the reNEW MN philosophy is that we're all in this together. We need to go after health care and education.

Tom Rukavina - He couldn't be there today so he had a stand-in speaker, who told us that Rukavina is a small guy with a big heart. He loves liberty and he loves people. He will improve the policy of education and will create jobs in Minnesota.

Tarryl Clark - She is also running against Bachmann in the 6th District. She knows she can win. She maintains that Bachmann has no record. She's done nothing for her constituents. Clark, on the other hand, has worked hard. (Although I can't vote for Clark because I don't live in her District, I will definitely campaign for her. Tarryl Clark is the One. Go Tarryl!)

R. T. Rybak - (There was a lot of applause for Rybak as he stepped up to the mike, and this before he had even said a word. My take is that Rybak is going to get the DFL endorsement. He knows how to rouse a crowd; he's enthusiastic; he knows how to inspire people. My feeling is now stronger than ever that the Primary will come down to Rybak and Dayton. It's going to be close, too.) Rybak said that he paid down a $100 million debt in Minneapolis. He'll come to the governorship with strong management skills and as someone who can inspire people. He loves to campaign. (So does Dayton. It's going to be an interesting and exciting Primary. One of these days I'll have to write a blog with the pros of Dayton and the pros of Rybak. Gosh, that's going to be one long blog.)

Rebecca Otto - She's running for reelection to the State Auditor position. She told the audience that Pat Anderson's last budget report (back when Anderson was State Auditor) had errors in it. Now that Otto is the incumbant, there are no errors. She's been doing a great job. She knows how to make government more efficient. 

John Marty - His parents taught him values. They taught him the inherent worth and dignity of every person. He's the author of the Minnesota Health Plan. (Marty was highly passionate in his speaking tonight. He was also very enthusiastic. I actually got goosebumps while listening to him. He just gets better every time I hear him.)

Margaret Anderson Kelliher - (She started out way too loud. It actually seemed that she was screaming at the audience. She finally calmed down a bit and spoke in a more normal tone of voice.) She once again uttered that she grew up on a dairy farm with her brothers. She then said that she's fired up. (Oh, that must be why she was yelling.) She maintains that our best days are yet to come.

David Schultz - He's running for the office of Ramsey County Attorney. He's been a partner in a major law firm for the last fourteen years. He will be a working county attorney. He will carry a caseload. (There are four DFL candidates running for Ramsey County Attorney. If I had only met the four today, I'm not sure who I would vote for. Probably Choi or Pinto. However, I previously met Schultz and Choi. Schultz had stopped by a SD53 meeting a couple of months ago. I remember how impressed I was with him because of his promise to stop the scamming of senior citizens. I'm still impressed with him. Why are there so many good candidates running for this office?)

Laura Goodman - She told the audience that she's a good cop. She was Deputy Chief of Brooklyn Center PD. Prior to that she was with the Minneapolis Police Department. She's now running for Ramsey County Sheriff. She had a few negative things to say about Ramsey County Sheriff Fletcher. She said he used bad databases and even created his own databases. To toot her own horn, she said that she can relate to diverse populations. She reminded us that she has public service integrity.

Tom Bakk - He said that now that he's a grandparent, he's spending a lot of time thinking about the future. He wants to make sure it will be a good one for his grandchild. He's still talking jobs, jobs, jobs. (I wish he'd expand on that. What kind of ideas does he have to bring in jobs?)

Matt Entenza - He couldn't be there so he sent a stand-in speaker. I think his name is Doug, but I'm bad with names, although excellent with faces. Doug said, "One thing Matt has that is different that the other candidates is that he went up against Tim Pawlenty back in 2005. Matt was the Minority Leader at the time and he said that he was not going to back down because the issue in question was too important. So he made an unpopular move and closed down the state for a week. Pawlenty then caved in. (This is very impressive. I had forgotten about that. I wonder why Entenza doesn't talk about this at all the forums and events. He's missing out on a great opportunity to promote himself. Another thing I want to comment on is Doug's speaking abilities. Excellent. Indeed, he speaks better than Entenza does. Not that Matt is bad; it's just that Doug is fantastic. I don't think he even realizes it. He'd make a great Toastmaster!)

Susan Gaertner - She referred to Doug's last statement that "Entenza means Governor." Gaertner said that "Gaertner means Winner." (Huh.) She asks, "What kind of government do we have when we fail education? She has a high priority of justice. She said that we need to support someone who can win in November. (That would be Mark Dayton.) 

Dave Pinto - He's yet another Ramsey County Attorney candidate. He's got an excellent record. (He's an excellent speaker, too.)

Matt Bostrom - He's got a Ph.D. as well as having 28 years of experience on the St. Paul PD.; he knows the value of community. He wants to build the sheriff's office into a trusted, valuable partner with the community. Among other things, he wants to connect with youth and encourage diversity. (I had an opportunity to talk one-on-one with Matt Bostrom and was very impressed with him. Several people had previously wanted me to support him but I didn't know anything about him. Now I do and will definitely support him. He also knows who John Sandford is, which gave him Brownie points with me.) 

John Choi - He immigrated here from South Korea with his family in 1973. He has experience being a leader in the criminal justice system. Although he's originally from South Korea, he sure is Minnesota nice. He's running for Ramsey County Attorney.

Tammy Pust - She is also running for Ramsey County Attorney. She has been both a prosecuting attorney and a trial lawyer. She's worked with special needs kids. Tammy has 27 years of experience as an attorney. She has dedicated her professional life to improving the lives of children, families and communities throughout Minnesota. She is not seeking the endorsement of any party because she doesn't think that party politics belongs in the County Attorney's Office. She is determined to be nonpartisan.

Other speakers included Betty McCollum (District 4 Congresswoman) and Victoria Rhinehart (current chair of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners).

My favorite speaker of the entire day was J. P. Barone, CD4 Chair. He's a fantastic speaker. He knows how to use his floor space, he adds humor, he's the faster Parliamentarian speaker I've ever heard, he's got charisma, he's enthusiastic...he's everything you want a speaker to be. Here's a picture of him in action.
J. P. Barone is the one in the tan suit and wearing glasses.

                                Here's J. P. Barone again.

                              Matt Bostrom and Me

It was a very interesting day. I learned a lot, particularly since this was the first political convention I've ever attended. Part of it was a bit confusing at first, but I soon adjusted and figured out what was going on. I'm looking forward to the CD4 convention, which will take place on April 17.


  1. Colleen, Great review of the day!
    I am happy we are going to the next convention together with the reNEW.MN vision for a progressive MN.
    The future of generations to come depend on the results of the 2010 elections.
    Carol Gariano

  2. Thanks, Carol. I'm looking forward to going.


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