Me and Senator Al Franken
I just got home from the CD6 Convention. Everyone was there. For those who couldn't attend, you missed some fantastic speeches, a lot of high energy and enthusiasm, and a great deal of passion. The consensus is that we will beat Michele Bachmann. I have no doubt about it.
The MN DFL website calendar said the event started at 11:00. Unfortunately, it didn't say anything about the events that took place right outside the building before the convention. Included in this was Tarryl Clark's rally. She just finished when I arrived. I'm not sure what else took place before that.
The first person I bumped into was Dyna from Entenza's campaign. She was standing by her motorcycle and sidecar that clearly state Entenza for Governor. That's quite a contraption. It always makes me smile when I see it. I chatted a bit with Dyna, had my picture taken with Al Franken, then went inside the building. This was the first time I had ever met Al in person. What a tremendously cool guy. I'm so glad he's our Senator.
All my campaign friends were there plus a lot of people I hadn't met before. It's always great to see Thissen's staff and Rybak's staff. They're always so cheerful. Clark's staff is too. I enjoyed a hug from Tarryl's son Nate. What a nice young man! Seeing Elizabeth and Ryan from reNEW MN is always a treat. I was so happy to see how much they all poured out their support for me and asked me how I was. That meant so much to me. Paul Thissen and R. T. Rybak also inquired as to how I was doing. Both showed compassion and empathy. What caring candidates they both are!
The convention officially opened right on time at 11:00. First was the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by The Star Spangled Banner sung by the assistant chair of CD6.
Next, David Loghawe, who hopes to be elected the new CD6 chair, introduced Al Franken. He told us that Republicans did not want Al Franken to be the 60th DFL Senator. Because Al succeeded in securing that seat, Health Care Reform passed!
Here's the gist of Al Franken's speech:
Kudos to everyone who knocked on doors and made phone calls. He and Frannie are having a wonderful time in Washington. He is supporting Tarryl Clark. One of the reasons is because she supported him. (Yup, that's how it's supposed to work. Support your supporters! I'm so glad Al understands this concept so well.)
Al said that the American people wanted HCR. Republicans think they don't want it. Republicans are wrong. He told us that fifty percent of bankruptcies in this country are caused by a health care crisis. That's not going to happen anymore.
Al said he had talked to many Americans who were frightened of losing their health care or had already lost it. They didn't know what they were going to do. Some were sick and desperately needed medical care.
He had wanted the public option. He realizes, though, that this bill is just a first step. There will be many changes just as there were when social security and Medicare first became legislated.
Al told us how hard Amy Klobuchar had fought for value reimbursement in Medicare. He said that we fought a good fight for HCR reform and we won. The Republicans have a problem with that, but Al said it made him feel like he's at a parent/teacher conference and his kid got an A but the other guy's kid got an F.
The reason the HCR bill is so great, Al said, is because we listened to the American people. The Republicans are lying to and deceiving the American people. Now that the bill has passed, people are curious about what is in it. Now that they are discovering what is in it, they like it.
Al also worked on a bill to get service dogs to returning veterans, particularly those with psychological repercussions from war. There are a lot of neat things happening in the Senate. The Stimulus Program is creating two million jobs.
He is working on getting No Child Left Behind changed. He helped pass COBRA extensions as well as REI extensions. He said, "We did all these good things because we're Democrats!" Lots of applause and cheers for Al.
Al Franken is a great speaker. He's got excellent voice projection and vocal variety and knows how to intersperse his speech with humor. Very impressive!
After Al Franken's speech, Nancy Schumacher, the current CD6 chair, took the floor. She introduced the reading of the Affirmative Action statement.
Next, Sue Regle, chair of the crendential committee, gave the report on that. Then came the treasurer's report.
Brian Rice spoke for Tom Rukavina, who chairs the Workforce Committee. Brian told us that Tom's focus is on jobs and education and that Tom understands people. (Tom Rukavina is a great guy with a heart of gold. If only there wasn't that rumor of him being the love child between Jesse Ventura and Paul Wellstone! Brian explained how that meant that Tom Rukavina can relate to both the DFL people and the independent voters.)
The next speaker was Amy Klobuchar. Claps, cheers, applause, standing ovation. Amy, Amy, Amy, the crowd chanted. Klobuchar is a wonderful speaker. She's motivational and enthusiastic.
Amy said that we must move our country away from being debt-ridden to being a country that exports to the world. We must expand biofuels in Minnesota rather than in India. We must build rail here in Minnesota, not in China. We need a backbone of steel. She also stated that no matter what the Supreme Court says, corporations are not people! She got cheers and a standing ovation for that!
Senator Klobuchar said we should respect veterans by making sure they have housing, medical and education. We need to extend the Northstar line from Big Lake to St. Cloud.
What a wonderful speaker Amy Klobuchar is. She's enthusiastic, motivational and energetic. This blogger was very impressed with the presentations of both Klobuchar and Franken.
Amy said, "We can't just let the Do Nothing Crowd go on with their agenda. We have to call them out." More applause. More cheers.
After Senator Klobuchar finished speaking it was time for the Constitutional Amendments report.
Next came the endorsement speeches. There were two nominations for this seat that Michele Bachmann now holds: Tarryl Clark and Dr. Maureen Reed. The applause and cheers sounded pretty close to a tie. This will have to be a paper ballot rather than vocal.
Clark and Reed were each given seventeen minutes for their speech slot. Each used part of this time to allow others to speak up for them.
First, a delegate spoke up for Dr. Maureen Reed. This delegate is a senior in high school. Gary Gross spoke next. He's a long time DFL activist. He said that Maureen is not so far to the left that she can't relate to moderate and independent voters. Susan Regle was the last speaker for Dr. Reed.
Next, Dr. Maureen Reed spoke in her own behalf. She said that she takes her job very seriously. She's been working fourteen hours per day to go against Michele Bachman. Reed appears to be very tough. Her focus is to work hard, play fair, don't whine, and make a difference.
Reed said that she has seen the good and bad of health care. She is glad for HCR, but she said that we are not done with it yet. Michele Bachman has got to go! Reed said that she will go after the swing voters and the independent voters. She knows them, she knows how they think, and she knows where they live.
Reed further stated that we have to neutralize Michele Bachmann. She will do this because she is a centrist, an outsider and because she knows business.
Dr. Maureen Reed was excellent in her presentation today. She made sense. Her supporters went wild. I thought she was good but she sounded a bit harsh and angry. I guess we all are in regard to Bachmann.
Now it was Tarryl Clark's turn. She got lots of applause, claps, cheers, foot stomps and rah rahs. Go Tarryl!
The first speaker on Tarryl Clark's behalf was Wes Snyder. He spoke of Tarryl's excellent character. Next, Grace Faltage, delegate from SD32, said that she's in awe of Tarryl for her commitment, dedication and passion.
The third speaker for Tarryl was Representative Marsha Swails. She said that Tarryl Clark has the common touch. She values her constituents. She values Minnesotans. She values her supporters. (!!!) She is so honored and proud to call Tarryl Clark her friend.
Tarryl then took the lectern herself. More applause, cheers, stomping of feet and chants of Tarryl, Tarryl, Tarryl. She's the candidate who will beat Michele Bachmann.
Tarryl told us that she has learned how to get every penny out of every dollar. She will do that in Washington. She has a passion for Minnesota and will work hard for this state.
Next, it's Question and Answer time. There were a total of 64 questions submitted by the audience. They have been consolidated. The Rules of this question and answer session were given. Clark and Reed were both asked to come to the podium. (Actually, it's a lectern, not a podium. A podium is the object that the band director stands on.) At first I thought it was said that both Clark and Reed were going to abide by the endorsement, but as it turns out, Reed will only abide by the results of the Primary in August.
Question #1: What will you do to ensure that Bachmann doesn't win again?
Reed - She will get the swing voters and the independent voters. These comprise ten percent of the vote in CD6. She said that we cannot leave this to chance. She claims that she can get their votes in their homes where they live.
Clark - She knows that Bachmann can be beat. She is already doing grassroots campaigning and going door to door and neighbor to neighbor. She will beat Bachmann the same way Klobachar beat Kennedy.
Question #2: What improvements will you make for Minnesotans if you win?
Clark - She will especially focus on cost containment. She's a results-based person. She will make sure that the underserved will now get health care.
Reed - She said we need reform for doctors and hospitals. She wants a waiver for Minnesota so we can be free from those things that are affecting such states as Alabama and Arkansas.
Question #3: How will you bring us out of the deficit?
Reed - Economic growth, cut spending and increase taxes.
Clark - Make sure seniors and nursing homes still get what they need. She supports pay as you go. She's interested in improving infrastructure and in agricultural jobs.
Question #4: How will you debate with Bachmann?
Clark - She will say to Bachmann, "There you go again." Bachmann is always going off on some irrelevent tangent that doesn't make any sense. Clark points out that we are all patriots, no matter what Bachmann says.
Reed - She will say to Bachmann, "Hold the phone, sister." She will come against Bachmann on every unfactual and bigotted thing that Bachmann says. She will also talk about Bachmann's 114 missed votes on the House floor.
Question #5: How will you make use of the new media in your campaign?
Reed and Clark pretty much answered this one the same. They are both using such sources as Twitter, Facebook, campaign websites, etc.
Question #6: How will you campaign for the DFL Primary?
Clark - She's running to defeat Bachmann. Period. She's not running against anyone else.
Reed - We are running one campaign and one campaign only. It will be directed against Michelle Bachmann, what she has done and what she has not done.
Some of the gubernatorial candidates spoke next.
John Marty - He gave a very passionate speech about the DFL platform and that now is the time to win. His presentation was excellent. It's getting better and better each time I hear him speak. He was passionate and emphathatic about what he stands for and why Minnesota needs a progressive leader now.
Peter Idusogie - He spoke of righteousness and justice. Life is about people. People are everything. Peter spoke with perfection. Excellent speaking techniques. He spoke with passion. I felt thrilled by his speech.
Paul Thissen - The only way to win is to concentrate on the issues. In Minnesota we should be striving for the best. Don't just slap a coat of paint on a building that's falling down. (Great metaphor.) We need leadership that works. Don't follow the status quo. Look forward, not backward. (Paul will be the fresh new leader that Minnesota voters are looking for. He stands for the new, not the old. He can get the swing voters and the independent voters. Paul Thissen is a candidate for all people.)
R. T. Rybak - Applause, claps, cheers. The crowd always goes wild before he even opens his mouth to speak. Rybak has a way with people. They love him! Today he was at his usual best. His message was, "Do not divide the Democratic Party." More cheers and applause. Rybak is such a passionate, enthusiastic and motivational speaker. He knows how to appeal to the masses. All he needs now is some kind of a rousing theme song for his campaign.
Following these speeches by gubernatorial candidates, we were lucky to hear two other speakers. They were Mark Ritchie and Brian Melendez. Mark is up for reelection for Secretary of State. Brian is the MN DFL chair. Donna, the assistant chair, was also present today.
Mark Ritchie - We've done a lot for the voting process, but we have more to do. He's got a serious opponent. Mark will honor his opponent for his long years of service as a veteran and as a legislator. He will campaign on the issues only. Mark Ritchie will not run a dirty campaign.
Brian Melendez - We have been working for years for this day. We have prepared for this campaign long and hard. He told us to play nice and treat each other with civility and respect. Treat supporters of both candidates in an excellent manner. United we stand; divided we fall. (Brian gave a great speech. This was excellent oratory.)
We then got the results of the voting. There were 150.5 votes cast. Dr. Maureen Reed received 56 of them. Tarryl Clark received 94.5. Reed got 37.2% of the votes; Clark got 62.8%. Therefore Tarryl Clark is the endorsed candidate.
Tarryl Clark gave an excellent acceptance speech. She said that we will all do this together!
I didn't stay for the rest of the meeting so I don't know who the new chair, assistant chair and other officers are. That will hopefully soon be found on the MN DFL website.
After chatting briefly with reNEW MN people and candidate staffers, I was ready to go home. Now to prepare for my Meet and Greet for Dave Pinto. It's tomorrow at 2:00 at Lakewood Hills Apartments in White Bear Lake. It's the northwest corner of McKnight Road and I694. Go to the bottom of the hill to the big brown apartment complex.
I really appreciated the high energy I experienced today at the CD6 Convention. I'm looking forward to attending more conventions in April.
Here's some more pictures I took today:
Donna Cassutt, Associate Chair of MN DFL Party
Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State
Another View of Me and Senator Al Franken