Me and Matt Entenza
Today I attended the SD64 Convention at Central High School in St. Paul. There was a very good turnout and the energy level was high. I had a good time and found myself grinning at all my candidate friends.
Let's get the awards out of the way first.
Best tie: J. P. Barone
Most applause: R. T. Rybak
Most Improved Presentation: Matt Entenza
Most Entertaining: Tom Rukavina
Most Elusive: Mark Dayton (he was nowhere to be found)
Most Campaign T-shirts: Paul Thissen and R. T. Rybak (all these t-shirts were running around like characters in a Disney movie)
Here's a rundown of each speaker's presentation:
Toni Carter - She's up for reelection on the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners. Several people spoke up in her favor. Then she spoke up for herself. She gave due credit to Paul Wellstone when she said "We all do better when we all do better."
J. P. Barone - He's the CD4 chair. He needs to get reelected at the CD4 Convention on April 17. I can't think of anyone who could possibly do a better job. He's fantastic. Cool, too. He reminded us of the Vento dinner, which is the annual CD4 fundraising tool. Barone is a great speaker with high energy and enthusiasm. He also talked about the Innocence Project.
J. P. Barone
David Schultz - He's running for Ramsey County Attorney. He told the story of a man who was trying to lure kids into his van by pretending to be Santa. Schultz prosecutes sexual predators. He also prosecutes scammers of seniors. I hope whoever the new governor is will crack down on those who prey on children. That's the worse crime of all. Kudos to David Schultz for being active in this area.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She sure got a lot of applause when she came up to the microphone. Her public speaking fascinates me. Her inflection intrigues me. Many of her words end with her voice going up instead of down, almost like a question. I'd like to see MAK wear lighter colors. I think she could easily get away with wearing pink or peach colors. It would set her apart from all the male candidates. Hey, wearing pink used to work for Mary Kay distributors. I like pink.
John Choi - He leads and manages prosecutors on a daily basis. He works against criminal gangs in St. Paul. When he saw I was wearing a Dave Pinto button, he got kind of pushy. Gee, I hate to hurt the feelings of any of the candidates, but there comes a time when you have to choose who you're going to vote for. We can't vote for everyone.
Tom Rukavina - What a great voice Rukavina has. He always holds the attention of the audience. Today he pointed out that Ventura's surplus turned into Pawlenty's terrible deficit. Rukavina voted against tax cuts. Tom reiterated the love child of Jesse Ventura and Paul Wellstone story. He also revamped the story of his always wearing union made clothes. Made right here in the good old U S of A. Even his underwear. Hey Tom, you still haven't shown us! He got the most after-speech applause.
Matt Entenza - The audience loved Entenza right away. He's got passion in his voice now. He's coming up fast as far as his presentation skills. He told the audience how he took on Pawlenty in 2005 and won! Go Matt! If Entenza keeps up the high energy and excitement that he had today, he could beat both Dayton and Rybak at the Primary. He definitely knows how to give a great speech now. He speaks with passion without ranting and raving. He's got it down perfectly now. I hope he keeps it up when he does his media advertising.
Dave Pinto - He's the only candidate for Ramsey County Attorney who is actually already in the Ramsey County Attorney office. I like Pinto. He's the only one of the three candidates who actually pursued my good will. Plus he's a darn good attorney.
John Marty - He told us that it's not okay to try to compromise with the Republicans when their agenda is already so watered down. Go John! He's the candidate who stands out as the most progressive and the most ethical. He's the only gubernatorial candidate who does not take PAC or lobby money. He's the author of the MN Health Plan. If John Marty got elected governor, there would be big and immediate changes in Minnesota. We would see vast improvements in the lives of most of our citizens.
Laura Goodman - She has thirty years of experience in law enforcement. She has fought Bob Fletcher through her entire career and she is still standing. I liked her enthusiasm.
Paul Thissen - He started out by telling us that our state is going in the wrong direction. Everyone in the audience agreed with that. He compared Pawlenty to the bully on our playground. That's definitely an apt description. The bully always goes after those who are smaller and defenseless. What Pawlenty did to GAMC makes Thissen angry. It makes all of us angry. It's righteous anger. Paul Thissen believes that it's not okay that any child in Minnesota should go without health care. He's the one who made sure that 20,000 more Minnesota children were covered. Paul always makes good points. He's an excellent communicator.
R. T. Rybak - Rybak got the most applause going in. This was before he even started speaking. There's just something about R. T. He's definitely got charisma. You can tell he loves a crowd so much that they can't help loving him back. Rybak is the only gubernatorial candidate with executive management experience. He's done a great job in Minneapolis. And he said something that really struck me because I've been thinking the same thing lately. He said, "Stop apologizing for being Democrats!" Yes! Why should we engage in Democrat Apologetics? We should get out there and campaign with enthusiasm and cheerfulness. We've had enough of Republican administrations. They've done nothing but bring Minnesota to a standstill. Rybak has enthusiasm. The rest of us should have it too. Can we win the governorship? Yes we can! Can we take back our state? Yes we can! Can we be proud to be Democrats? Yes we can! No more apologetics. No more downcast faces. We're out to win! We'll all work together on this and next January a DFL governor will be sworn into office in Minnesota. Gosh, Rybak is so inspiring!
R. T. Rybak
R. T. and Me
Tom Bakk - He couldn't make it to this convention so he had a proxy speaker. The proxy should have spoken louder. Lots of people couldn't hear him very well. On the other hand, lots of people weren't paying attention.
Matt Bostrom - He's running for Ramsey County Sheriff. He's currently the assistant chief. I like Matt. He's got what it takes to win. He's got a good personality, he's got experience and he's got common sense.
Mark Dayton - Of course Mark Dayton never shows up at any of these conventions because he's not seeking the DFL endorsement. He decided, when he was running for Senator, that the endorsement process is not very democratic. He insists that the most democratic way is to just go straight to the Primary and let ALL the voters decide. This is very commendable in my opinion. On the other hand, I've heard lots of opposing comments. Some say it's not very fair for him to do this because most of the other candidates just don't have the money to go straight to the primary. Some say he's trying to buy another election. My personal jury is out on that one. I suspect that if Dayton didn't spend one cent on advertising, he could still very conceivably win by name recognition alone. Another comment I'm hearing is that the only reason Dayton doesn't want anything to do with the endorsement is because he knows he wouldn't win it. Is there a falling out between Dayton and the DFL party? Any comments on this? How many readers will vote for Dayton at the Primary? How many will vote for the endorsed candidate? Of course the vast majority of voters in Minnesota don't read political blogs. They remember someone who was very good to seniors. On the other hand, Rybak is getting his name out to the voters all across Minnesota too. Entenza will do the same. I wonder which candidate will have the best campaign song? I wonder which candidate will ask me what I think? I notice some are reading my blogs and implementing tips I've shared. Kudos to them! Toastmasters tips are good tips.
Mark Dayton on his 87 x 87 tour.
SD64 endorsed the following state candidates:
Erin Murphy - up for reelection for House Representative for District 64A
Michael Paymar - up for reelection for House Representative for District 64B
Dick Cohen - up for reelection for State Senator