Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Tom Horner - Independent Party

While many Minnesotans are clamoring to promote the GOP or the DFL political parties, there is another alternative that many overlook. It's the Independence Party. How much do you know about it? If you're like most people, you don't know much. You've been raised as a Democrat or as a Republican. You probably vote the way your parents did. Or else you're a rebel and vote the opposite way. Maybe you're tired of the same old party politics and are looking for something new. Maybe you're not far right or far left. Perhaps you're right in the middle. What party would best suit your needs?

Have you thought about looking into the Independence Party? What is their agenda? What tenants do they hold? Let's take a look.

The Minnesota Independence Party was established in 1992. It was started by a group of ordinary citizens who were tired of special interest influence in politics and were tired of ongoing budget deficits. They were also sick of extremes in politics. They didn't want to be far right or far left. They were mostly moderates and believed that government in moderation was best. 

These people wanted a government that would be accountable to the people and that would govern sensibly and within its means. This new political party wanted endorsed candidates and representatives who would serve the people first and foremost. This party would not be governed by extremists on either end of the spectrum, but rather by common sense.

In 1994, the Independence Party won major party status when Dean Barkley ran for the U. S. Senate. The IP has retained this status every year since then. It became even more well known when Independent Jesse Ventura became Governor of Minnesota.

The Independence Party and those who vote for them are fiscally conservative and socially tolerant. This political party is growing. People are turning to it because they're tired of extreme right wing and extreme left wing politics. More and more voters want a balance. The Independence Party gives this balance with a focused, limited scope of government services in which top priorities include education, transportation, healthcare, environment, and budget sanity. The IP believes that political power starts and ends with the people.

One IP candidate who is running for election this year is Tom Horner. Here's what he has to say about what Minnesota needs.

Polarized parties see Minnesota through a narrow lens. To solve big problems, widen the view.

Reprinted from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press April 4, 2010

Think about the challenges Minnesota faces in the next four years: Soaring state budget deficits, an economy that stubbornly leaves nearly a quarter-million Minnesotans unemployed and tens of thousands underemployed, an infrastructure that has us dodging crater-sized potholes, and policies that threaten to make the next generation of Minnesotans the first who will be poorer, less healthy and less educated than their parents.

Now ask yourself this: To solve these challenges, does it make sense to ignore half of all the good ideas that are available? Yet, that's what Democrats and Republicans would have us do. The deeply polarized politics of government today reject good ideas simply because they come from the "wrong" party or the "wrong" partisans.

If Minnesota is to move forward in the next four years, we need a governor who focuses on what's right, not on who's right. Minnesota needs an independent voice in the governor's office, a governor who is able to draw on the best ideas and the brightest talents in the state.

Minnesota needs leadership from someone who knows what it takes to run a business here — to create jobs — and to provide good salaries and good benefits. The red flags about Minnesota's lagging economy aren't new; they have been flying for years. Between the economic downturn at the beginning of this decade and today's recession, Minnesota was being lapped by other states:

•Between 2004 and 2007, personal income growth was 47th among the states.
•During this same period, the state's gross domestic product - our economy - grew at less than half the national average — an anemic 2.6 percent.
•And from 2000 to 2007, Minnesota's job growth ranked 30th in the country.

Minnesota is a great state. We have tremendous strengths and assets. Building on these strengths will require policies and leadership to fundamentally reform how we tax and spend.

First, I reject the DFL's notion that every problem needs a government program and every current government program is worth saving. Government - including state government - takes on too much, too often does it poorly and many times with little or no accountability.

Minnesota needs to set priorities as a state, and not just follow the narrow agenda of a single political party or of one governor. The next governor will have to balance a budget that will be $7 billion or more in the red. That will require hard and often painful decisions. It will mean that some programs - those that aren't delivering value - will have to be eliminated, not just trimmed. Making these tough decisions will take the collaboration of all Minnesotans.

We also need to agree on the things that government should do. I believe in a government that invests in the future, helps people when they are most vulnerable, stewards our shared assets, including our natural resources. But wherever we spend public dollars, we must hold managers, legislators and the governor accountable to specific performance measures.

My second priority is tax reform. This will require that Republicans embrace transformational change. For all the legitimate complaints about Minnesota's business climate, the often overlooked truth is that Minnesota isn't taxing away businesses, it's taxing away new jobs. Minnesota-based companies are growing; they just aren't doing it here. Minnesota entrepreneurs are as innovative as ever; but they are launching their ventures in states more hospitable to start-up businesses and to the capital they need. And instead of being able to invest in new jobs, new equipment or new technology, Minnesota small businesses are seeing more and more of their income taxed away.

We are failing in creating new jobs because Minnesota taxes investment, innovation and job creation - all the things we should be promoting. We need to compete with the world by eliminating the barriers to growth.

The reality is that meaningful and effective tax reform will mean that some taxes will have to go up so others can go down. Those politicians who suggest otherwise - who promise that we can resolve deficits larger even than anything we have seen in the last eight years - are either dishonest or dependent on gimmicks that shift the cost to local government, to the private sector, or worst of all, to our kids.

Only an independent voice in the governor's office can tap the ideas and people to make this balanced approach to spending and taxes work. Minnesotans are tired — not just of the partisan fights in St. Paul, but at the lack of accomplishments. The longer Democrats and Republicans continue to define every issue by their extreme positions or solve every challenge through the narrow frames of higher taxes from the left or deep reductions to government from the right, the opportunity for my candidacy grows.

In 2010, two choices aren't enough when the future of our state is on the line.

Meet Tom Horner
Why Tom Horner is Running for Governor

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Matt Entenza

Mark Dayton

Margaret Anderson Kelliher

Who do you want to be our next governor? Matt Entenza? Mark Dayton? Or perhaps Margaret Anderson Kelliher? What are the pros and cons of each candidate?

Most of the active DFL party members want the endorsed candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher. I imagine she'll get a lot of female DFL voters as well. Mark Dayton, of course, has a lot of supporters who have been following his career for a long, long time. Matt Entenza is relatively unknown outside of DFL circles. Not for long, though. He's moving up very quickly. Plus he has the money to advertise his name and what he stands for.

Who is most likely to win the DFL Primary? Gosh, I don't know. It all depends on how many people vote in the Primary. It there's a low voter turnout with mostly seniors voting, Dayton will probably win. If there's a big voter turnout that crosses all ages, Entenza or Kelliher will no doubt win.

Each of the three candidates appeals to a different type of voter. Kelliher will probably get a lot of female votes. There are quite a few females who say she does not appeal to them, though. Nevertheless, I think she's got a fantastic chance of winning the primary. Especially with progressive voters behind her, such as reNEW MN/TakeAction MN. If all of these progressives rally behind Margaret, she just might win.

Entenza is not well known yet, but he has an active campaign and he's getting more and more media exposure everyday. I expect him to be in the forefront of this race. He has the looks for it. He's tall and rugged. If you're looking for him, you certainly can't miss him. Plus he's got the looks that appeal to women across Minnesota. For the men, he's got a commanding presence. Tall and stately. Matt Entenza looks like a governor. He looks like a governor is expected to look. 

Dayton has 35 years of public service experience. It's hard to beat that. He knows all about politics. I should think he'd be tired of it by now. I would be if I had been in it for so many years. I suspect that it's so much a part of his life that he'll find it very difficult to shake off the shackle. He should write a book about his life. It would probably be a best seller. He'd become even more famous. Politicians are a dime a dozen, but a good writer is not that easy to find. Especially one who has led such an interesting life. Writers are far more unique than politicians. And they have so much more to offer the world. Once the campaigning is over and the election is won, not too many people pay attention to politicians. (I wonder if I convinced him yet?)

I'll continue to write about these three candidates until we have a winner or until two drop out of the race. Which I don't expect will happen. Starting this weekend, I'll take these three candidates and look at them one at a time with all the pros and cons of each. From my viewpoint, of course. 

Meanwhile, start thinking of questions you'd like to ask each of these three candidates.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Next up on this series of DFL gubernatorial candidates speaking on MPR MIDDAY is Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak. Again, I'll show what he said in bold print, then put my comments in normal print.

R. T. Rybak

Question #1: Why are you running for governor?

I'm R. T. Rybak. I'm the Mayor of Minneapolis. I came into office in the wake of a crisis. Right after 9-11, Minneapolis was in trouble. We brought people together; we got results. We lowered crime; we created thousands of jobs; we made the city work. That's the kind of executive leadership I've shown and that we need at the Capitol. Right now the Capitol's in trouble. This state is in trouble. We need to put people back to work. I've done that. We need to make government get results for people. I've done that. But more importantly, I've been a mayor who has been out in the community, I've been in schools. I've been in businesses. I've talked with people who are unemployed. I've talked with people who are victims of crime. I have got into the business of being not only a hands-on chief executive, but a hands-on leader out in the community, I think we need a new leader in Minnesota and I've shown I can get results.

All that R. T. Rybak says in response to this first question is true. As Mayor of Minneapolis, Rybak has done all of that and so much more. Whenever there was a crisis in Minneapolis, Mayor Rybak was there. He was there when the bridge fell. He was there when the fire occurred. He's always there in good times and bad. He will be there for Minnesota. He won't just walk away and quit after one term. He has shown us that he's dependable and responsible. He's the kind of politician I would be proud to call Governor. He's the only candidate who has executive experience. R. T. Rybak is an excellent communicator. He knows what issues Minnesota faces. He knows what the problems are and how to fix them. I can't think of a better candidate to be the next governor of Minnesota.

Question #2:  Should a candidate going directly to the Primary without going through the endorsement process matter to DFL voters?

I believe right now that this state has been deeply divided. The first thing we have to do is unite the Democratic party that has lost elections for a generation. My kids are in college and have never known a DFL governor. It's time to come together. We keep losing this governor's race, so what I've tried to do is to say I've got a winning record, I've got executive experience, and I want to unify the party. I think the best way to do that is to run for the endorsement, win the primary and win the general. I believe we have to do all three.

R. T. makes a very good point. I've heard all the arguments about going for the endorsement and not going for the endorsement. At first I thought, yes, it's more democratic to let all the voters decide at the Primary. Then it was pointed out to me that this is a representative government and the endorsement is a part of that. I now think that the endorsement process would work just fine if we didn't have upstarts who jump in and try to do it without the endorsement. I don't have a problem with someone who at least tried for it, but for the two candidates who are trying to win the primary without even attempting to win the endorsement are unfathomable and are going against their own party. R. T. Rybak is playing by the rules of the Democratic party. He has always been a fair and just person; this is just one more example of it. He has promised to abide by the endorsement. We know we can take him at his word. That's the kind of governor we want.

Question #3:  Do you have someone you're looking at to be your lt. governor? Who will be your running mate?

I think that the lt. governor should be doing the work. I think Governor Pawlenty got it right by trying to have a lt. governor do the work. I disagree with the choice he made with Carol Molnau running the Department of Transportation, certainly. I think more important, what I want, is someone to be there in the governor's office who can help me make decisions and broaden my experience. I realize that out of the governor's office, and I know this from having been a chief executive, that the job there is also to connect the dots, to move beyond just government, and bring communities together. For instance, when we were addressing youth violence in Minneapolis, one of the reasons we were able to drive violence down 40% is because we brought government together with nonprofits and citizens. That's the kind of work the lt. governor can do. When we had an acheivement gap, when we wanted to make sure we got kids into college, we put through ten thousand kids into summer jobs and college access programs and career centers. That was a city wide work. We need a statewide leader working with me who can say, I'm going to go out and help build those partnerships. A governor has to be a lot of different places. A lt. governor can help double the work.

R. T. Rybak knows what an executive position entails and he knows how to get the work done. He has already shown his expertise as an executive leader by the work he has done in Minneapolis. He has been very much involved in the community as well as in the inner workings of the government of a very large city. He's also got good ideas for what he wants the function of the lt. governor to be. Rybak points out that he's been an executive in business, he's been a journalist, and he's been in government. He has excelled in all of these. I think the journalism background gives him an edge and a different perspective than any of the other candidates have. He knows how to look at things to understand and assimilate the inner workings of any situation. R. T. Rybak will make an excellent and a viable governor.

Question #4:  Why would you be a better governor than Marty Seifert or Tom Emmer?

First, I have executive experience. There's a reason why they call one the legislative branch and the other the executive branch. I've been a chief executive. I'll come in with that experience. Second, I believe that I have experience outside the capitol. I've


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I'm doing a series on the gubernatorial candidates and what they said on Tuesday and Wednesday (today) on MPR MIDDAY regarding several issues. I'll take the candidates one at a time, one per blog. Mark Dayton was the first one to speak in this series, so I'll take him on first. For each candidate I'll show what he or she said in bold print, then put my comments in normal print.

Mark Dayton at a Meet and Greet

Question #1:  Why are you running for governor?

Minnesota needs to go in a fundamentally different direction. The theme of my campaign is A Better Minnesota. Having just travelled over 9,000 miles throughout our state in all 87 counties, I'd say that Minnesotans are looking for a better direction. They need jobs. We've seen massive unemployment under Governor Pawlenty. We've seen budget cuts for our schools of over $1400 per student. We need to reinvest in education. We need to reinvest in our infrastructure. We need to make taxes progressive once again in Minnesota to pay for these essential investments so we can create a better Minnesota.

He consistently overuses the word "fundamentally." I've heard "fundamentally profound," "fundamentally wrong," and now "fundamentally different." I've also heard "profoundly and fundamentally wrong." Would someone please send Mr. Dayton a thesaurus? As far as the context of his answer, it doesn't really tell me anything new. Mr. Dayton is very good at telling us what Minnesota needs to do in a vague way, but there is nothing definite and nothing to tell us how to get there. He raises more questions than he answers. What does he mean, exactly, when he says we have to reinvest in eduation and infrastructure? What does he mean, exactly, by progressive taxes? Does he have specific figures? Does he know how long it will take Minnesota to get back on its feet once taxes are raised on the wealthy? Tom Bakk used to say, and probably still does, that raising taxes alone just won't be enough. Also, "looking for a better direction" is just not specific enough. That's extremely vague.

Question #2:  Should seeking the endorsement rather than going to the Primary without it matter to DFL voters?

I believe in democracy, and in a democracy all the people decide in a free election where the voters have choices of candidates. That means all the people. I'm running based on what I offer the state of Minnesota. I think it's much more important that 400,000 DFL primary voters get to decide who our party nominee is than 1300 party activists and leaders who I respect, but who should not be in a position to dictate to all the rest of the primary voters who their choice should be.

It seems to me that Mark Dayton is going to the Primary without even bothering with the endorsement because he doesn't think he can win the endorsement. I know many others who agree with me, including some of our candidates. The endorsement process is akin to representative government. Does Mr. Dayton believe that representative government should have no place in a democracy? Or is this just something he pretends to believe so that he can rationalize the avoidance of the DFL Primary? Why did he run for the U. S. Senate if he doesn't believe in representative democracy? (An even better question: why did he quit after only one term?) It appears that Mark Dayton is running to prove something to himself. He wants Minnesotans to like him again. Does he not know that his beloved Minnesotans can like him without him attempting to be governor? Does he not know that his chances of being the best candidate to run in November are slim to nil? Does he think that everyone is just going to forget about his fisasco in Washington? On the other hand, yes, Mark Dayton has 35 years of public service experience. Yet he never stayed in one position long at all. One term as State Auditor and one term as senator. Does he really think we're going to believe that he will spend eight years as Minnesota's governor even if he does by some remote chance win in November?  I want a DFL governor who can win the Primary and win in November. If the Universe is kind, it will give us R. T. Rybak, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Paul Thissen or one of the other DFL candidates. We would have an excellent chance of winning the governorship with any of these people. Mr. Dayton, please go home and enjoy your millions. It's time to retire. 

Question #3: Do you have someone in mind to be your Lt. Governor?

I want a partner; someone I can work with over the course of eight years; someone who brings expertise that I might not have in areas and also a balance in terms of persepective on the state because it is a big job and the Lt. Governor not only serves as the constitutional officer with the governor but also on the executive council and a member of the State Board of Invenstments. She or he has a major responsibility that is statutorily and constitutionally established. So I want someone who will be a co-equal and strong partner in this undertaking.

Okay, this was hard in spots to take down verbatim in writing since Dayton stumbles over his syntax sometimes. There are also incomplete sentences that just trail off into a new thought. Sometimes his sentences get a bit long and are held together with words such as "and, "but," and "or." It's nice that Dayton wants to work with a lt. governor over the course of eight years, but realistically, he has never held one office for that long. He ended his State Auditor duties after only one term; he ended his senator duties after only one term. Why should we trust him to be governor for more than one term? Especially since he's not getting any younger and has a couple of health issues.

Question #4: Why would you be a better governor than Marty Seifert or Tom Emmer?

Both the Republican candidates would push Minnesota even further to the extreme. They both said that they will not raise income taxes on the wealthiest people in this state, which means our taxes will continue to be terribly unfair. It also means that property taxes will continue to rise for middle income Minnesotans and senior citizens and farmers and small business owners as they have been over the last decade. Representative Seifert said the government is a parasite, which is ironic considering that he's now collecting two government paychecks. Representative Emmer said that he would abolish local government aids. Having been in all 87 counties in the last two months and met with county commissioners as well as mayors and city council members from all political persuasions, that would virtually eliminate local government in the rural and property tax poor areas of the state. So I think they demonstrate a very poor understanding of the realities that Minnesotans are facing all over the state, and they would just push us farther and farther to the right wing extreme. 

This is a pretty good answer, although Dayton does need to work on his sentence structure, his habit of connecting phrases with "and" far too often, and varous other grammatical stumblings. He did get his point across that Seifert and Emmer just don't care about poor Minnesotans nor the plight of many who live in rural areas. Dayton makes a big effort to point out the huge discrepency in revenue goals between the Democrats and the Republicans. It's unfortunate that the Republicans do not have a more moderate candidate to offer up rather than two extreme right wing candidates. On the other hand, that's probably a good thing for the DFL winning the governorship this time around.

Question #5: Why would you want to take this mess on? How will you appeal to those who don't affiliate with any party?  

I don't wat to be part of the first generation in our nation's history to leave our state and our nation worse off to our chidren and grandchildren than we inherited it, and that would be my judgement today. These are challenging times; very difficult times. These are going to be difficult and probaably many very unpopular decisions that the next governor has to make. The political leaders I admire, and I don't put myself in their category, are people like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, who led during difficult and perilous times. I think that's when it matters even more who the leader is and what direction he or she wants to lead. I just see that if we continue in the direction we're going today, if we're going to continue to cut back funding for education - Governor Pawlenty has cut per people aid formula by over $1400 per student - we have overcrowded classrooms all over the state. We have school districts in Minnesota that operate four day school weeks like rural Louisiana - so great, now our education policy is going to follow in the footsteps of rural Louisiana? Minnesota? As the state demographer and state economist have been saying to anyone who will listen, we are sacrificing the strengths of this state by disinvesting in education, infrastructure and essential services, health care, quality of life, and we're sacrificing the future of the state. I don't wanna see that happen. I wanna change direction and make it better. I think that's a broad appeal that applies to the vast majority of Minnesotans who recognize that things are getting worse. They don't have a job, they worry about property taxes going up, they want to see a better Minnesota.

Ok, this answer is very good. The problem is that this is from Dayton's repertoire of canned speeches. This is one he's got memorized. It's when he's asked a question that he's unprepared for that he has problems. Mark Dayton is not known for his ability to think on his feet. Don't get me wrong, he's very quick witted, but the words don't come out right if he doesn't have them prepared in advance. This particular answer is one he's told to audiences many, many times before. These are good ideas, but not all that original. I wonder who his speechwriter is. On the other hand, we all know that Minnesota is in deep trouble. Now the main question becomes who is the best suited candidate to put Minnesota back on track? I honestly don't think it is Mark Dayton. Word is out that he's of the old school of politics. We need someone younger; maybe someone with executive experience like R. T. Rybak. Maybe someone with new and fresh ideas, like Paul Thissen. Maybe someone who understands both rural and urban issues, like Margaret Anderson Kelliher. So maybe not Mark Dayton.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Matt Entenza

Isn't this a great picture of Matt Entenza? I stole it off his website. I hope he doesn't mind. Naah, he won't.

I just love the Entenza campaign. Those staffers treat me like gold. They tell me that's how supporters ought to be treated. I had forgotten. They reminded me. It's a win-win situation.

Matt is a pretty cool guy too. He's not in the campaign office as much as his staffers are, and I'm not there every day by any means. Still, the way they treat me makes me want to keep coming back.

Not only that, but it's a great campaign and Matt is a great candidate. Sure, it took me awhile to warm up to them, but once I actually went to the campaign office to volunteer, I was hooked. People tend to go where they know they'll be well received. People tend to go where they're liked. And people tend to go where they're needed. At Entenza's campaign headquarters, I get all three. I'm liked, I'm well received and I'm needed. Woo hoo!!!

Plus, Matt's got excellent ideas for Minnesota. Probably the best I've heard in many ways. I can now visualize a Minnesota that's a new Silicon Valley of Energy. Wind energy, solar energy and whatever other kinds of energy are floating about. It's all clean, too. Clean energy, that is. As opposed to, for example, energy from burning coal. (I'm no physicist; can you tell?)

The Entenza campaign is full of energy too. Energized people for energized products. It makes sense, doesn't it? My new Entenza campaign friends have so much energy that I feel better and healthier just being around them. Come on down and see for yourselves.

I have fun everytime I step foot in Entenza's campaign offices. Take today, for example. I was trying to download and then upload a couple of pictures that my youngest son Marcus sent me. I was having a bit of trouble because it was in a zip file. Finally I was able to send them to someone as an attachment to an email. I wasn't sure who I should send them to. I knew I was going to the Entenza offices soon. So I sent them to Jason Hitchcock. Guess what they were pictures of? My grandfetus! Yup, two ultrasound pictures of my grandson. (At least they think it's a boy because of the heartbeat.)

Imagine Jason's surprise when he got these pictures in his email! When I got there I had to explain what they were. Then all the girls (Bridgette, Gretchen, etc.) crowded around and ooohed and ahhed over my grandbaby's picture. It was so sweet!

(Hey, look at all the cool stuff the Dayton people are missing out on! Their loss; the Entenza people's gain! Just like the election will be!!!)

Wanna see the ultrasound pictures? Ok, here they are.

Those are two separate pictures of my grandson, Alexander William Champlin. My son is Marcus Alexander Champlin. Here's a couple of pictures of him.

                         Marcus Alexander Champlin

                                 Baby Marcus

                                  Marcus on Amtrak

                          Marcus in Shoreview, Minnesota

                 An Older Marcus in Shoreview, MN

Marcus Champlin and his dad Mark Champlin in Southern Missouri

Marcus with his cousin's baby

Oh hey, I forgot, this blog is supposed to be about Matt Entenza and his campaign. Sorry about that. This son of mine, though, is just as cute as a bug's ear. Right? So you'll forgive me for digressing. There's a baby on the way, you know.

Ok, here's some more pictures of Matt. Remember, this blog is about him.

                             Matt Entenza

                  Matt Entenza, Gubernatorial Candidate

Matt Entenza is a candidate who many people are overlooking. That's all about to change. Matt is a candidate who represents the future, not the past. He's got great ideas. He's got an abundance of energy. To find out more, go to his website.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Gene Nichols, reNEW Minnesota

Grace Kelly

Matt Bostrom

Paul Thissen Signs

Ramsey County Convention

SD53 at Ramsey County Convention


Team Pinto (after the Convention, at Grumpy's)

Team Pinto, Consolation Dinner for a Job Well Done

After the CD4 endorsements concluded yesterday, the Ramsey County endorsements took place. Most, although not all, of Ramsey County is in CD4.

The winners of the Ramsey County endorsements were John Choi for Ramsey County Attorney and Matt Bostrom for Ramsey County Sheriff. Kudos to those who didn't win for a job well done.

Here's what happened during the endorsement process:

Laura Goodman, candidate for Ramsey County Sheriff, stated that she will abide by the endorsement. She started with a grassroots campaign. She attended Meet and Greets to build relationships. She put people together in committees to plan and prepare. She invited delegates to go with her offroad.

Matt Bostrom, another candidate for Ramsey County Sheriff, also stated that he will abide by the endorsement. He told the CD4 delegates that he understands how Fletcher campaigns and will meet him there, then campaign against him. Bostrom's campaign is highly organized and diverse. He can beat Fletcher on election day. (Matt Bostrom won the endorsement.)

Rebecca Otto then spoke. She's our State Auditor. She's been doing an excellent job. Her office makes wise investments to reduce energy costs. We can go back wards to hundereds of millions of dollars in errors or we can go forward with the good record that Rebecca Otto has.

David Schultz is an excellent speaker. He started The Innocent Project. He put his own safety on the line to rebuild a legal system in Kosovo. He will not abide by the endorsement. He has experience, leadership, and commitment to justice. He will be a working county attorney.

John Choi was introduced by Chris Coleman, who is an excellent speaker. Councilman Carter spoke up for Choi as well. I was disappointed that Dave Pinto didn't win.

Dave Pinto gave the most heartfelf speech. He has a vision which includes justice. Dave would have made an excellent Ramsey County Attorney. He had the vision for the position and he had the heart for it.

The candidates for Ramsey County Attorney were given a set of questions.

What will you do to win?

Dave Pinto - Grassroots support; excellent record as a domestic violence prosecutor; credibility; good record of preventing crime from happening in the first place.

David Schultz - Practices law across the entire spectrum in Ramsey County; has argued cases to juries for 25 years; makes decisions based on evidence and facts; listens and can tell when people are speaking from their hearts.

John Choi - He said that he will be the winner. He has more cash on hand than all three candidates combined. (This is an impossibility, since he is one of the three candidates. Did no one else catch this error?)

How will you prioritize your cases to meet justice in a depressed economy?

David Schultz - Evidence-based practices; child protection; institute practices that lower child abuse.

John Choi - Work with prosecutors in the criminal justice system.

Dave Pinto - Focus on violent and repeat offenders. Also focus on public safety.

Surprise Question for John Choi - A new group of immigrants is violating assembly laws but not maliciously. What to do?

John Choi - Charging anyone with unlawful assembly is hard to prove. We are not the INS.

Surprise Question for Dave Pinto - Elderly nuns have been occupying an abandoned warehouse on the riverfront for ten years. What to do?

Dave Pinto - Understand. Prosecute only if absolutely necessary.

Surprise Question for David Schultz - A dog frequently does his business in a service area. What to do about it?

David Schultz - Find a practical solution to a real world problem. Post signs so people don't step there. Very humorous response.

In the ballot for Ramsey County Attorney, John Choi received 185 of the 285 ballots cast. He is the winner.

In the ballot for Ramsey County Sheriff, Matt Bostrom was the winner.

This concluded the Ramsey County endorsement process. The day was adjourned.


Saturday, April 17, 2010


Rybak, Thissen and Marty Staffers at CD4 Convention

Team Rybak at CD4 Convention

CD4 Convention, Roseville Area High School

CD4 Convention

I attended the CD4 Convention today at Roseville Area High School. Immediately afterward was the Ramsey County Convention. A high percentage of delegates were a part of both groups, as most of CD4 is in Ramsey County.

As usual, I arrived very early. I got there at 7:30. I mingled with Thissen and Rybak staffers until more people showed up. J. P. Barone was there getting everything in order and giving orders, as a CD chair must do. He's very good at it, though, so that's okay. He always adds humor, too, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Soon more people arrived. I was glad to see my new Pinto staff friends, a few blogger friends and Matt Bostrom and his supporters. I had a couple of hours to mingle before the convention began. It was great to see Tom Rukavina and Orrie Salper, as it always is. They are always so cheerful. The same with R. T. Rybak. Always positive, motivated and incredibly energized. No deep dark depression from that quarter.

Speaking of which, guess who the cat dragged in? That's right. You guessed it. It was none other than Mark Dayton himself. Yes, folks, he actually had the nerve to drop by the CD4 Convention. I heard many people asking each other what he was doing there, since he refuses to participate in the endorsement process. No one seemed to know his reason for coming except that he wanted to steal votes from legitimate candidates. Most of the delegates are mad at him about it. Far be it from me to blame them.

Speaking of Dayton, all he had to do was walk right up to me and say, "Hi! How are you?" Maybe offer a nice hug, and all would have been forgiven. Mark Dayton is apparently deficient in the diplomacy department. Instead of offering up the olive branch, he took one look at me and cut and ran again.

As you may recall, Mark Dayton gave himself an F for his senate years because he felt he was ineffective. I thought he was being too hard on himself at the time. I now defer to his better judgement.

Mark Dayton in the same shirt he was wearing today.
For a rich guy, he doesn't seem to have a very extensive
wardrobe. I think he wants people to think that he's just
a regular guy. It's a political trick!!! What on earth is he
thinking? Something profoundly and fundamentally
wrong, no doubt!!!

After Dayton left in a hurry, I wandered around for awhile. Soon it was time for the convention to convene. We started out with the flag ceremony and the Pledge of Allegiance. Next, J. P. Barone gave a short welcome speech. The entire day was well worth it just to listen to J. P.

Franni Franken was the first speaker on the agenda. She said, "Oh! What a difference an election makes!" She also told us that Al was elected by only 312 votes. His message to us is unity, unity, unity. Franni's message is that the DFL needs to elect the endorsed candidate and only the endoresed candidate. (In other words, don't vote for Mark Dayton.)

Next, someone read a statement from Senator Amy Klobuchar, who recognized Congresswoman Betty McCollum for all her hard work and achievements. Klobuchar also stated that corporations are not people; people are people. She also gave a kudos to health care.

J. P. Barone was up again. He stated that we are now all party insiders because we walked in the door on caucus night.

After that we had reports from the Rules Committee and the Affirmative Action Committee. The Credentials Committee Chair, Fred Perez, gave that report.

At this point some of the alternates were upgraded to delegates. I was one of them. This was my very first experience as a delegate.

Diana Longrie then spoke. She's the former mayor of Maplewood. In 2009 she was defeated in that city's race for mayor. She decided to try to defeat Betty McCollum this year. Betty, of course, just got the DFL endorsement by a very wide margin today at the CD4 Convention. Go Betty!

Longrie was rather a boring speaker. She's an attorney in General Practice and Real Estate as well as in Family Law. She's apparently a legal jack of all trades. She told the delegates that she advocates for citizens and wants to put Americans back to work. (Don't we all!) She's a proponent of renewable energy and biofuels. (She's also a user of crutch words.)

Finally it was Betty McCollum's turn to speak. I could listen to her all day. What a great speaker! Wonderful personality, too! Two others spoke up for her first; then it was her turn. She will give us a transportation system that works for us. She wants to help President Obama move our country forward. Betty has a high energy level and lots of enthusiasm. I get energized listening to her.

Next, four questions were asked of Betty and Diana. Here they are:

1.  Will you abide by the endorsement?
     Betty McCollum: Yes
     Diana Longrie: No

2.  What will you do to ensure a win in November?
     Diana: Promote peace; get out of Afghanistan
     Betty:  Help reelect DFL legislators; help elect a DFL governor

3.  How would you balance the viewpoint of your constituents with doing what's right?
     Betty: Vote for families
     Diana: Responsibility is to constituents. Bring troops home from Afghanistan.

4.  Surprise Question for Diana: Get rid of Federal income tax
     Diana: Listen to what the questioner is actually asking; where are they coming from?
     Surprise Question for Betty: A group came into the office to dispute logging.
     Betty: Agrees with the group. She believes that logging criteria needs to change.

The vote was then taken. There were 274 delegates voting, including upgraded alternates. Betty McCollum won by a landslide. She got about 98% of the votes. That's because Betty rocks!!!

The next speaker was Mark Ritchie. He said that we made everyone remember why we're #1! He talked about his opponent and reiterated that he would be honoring his opponent's military service and his public service record. He would debate him on the issues. Ritchie emphasized that we need to stand up in praise of public servants. We need to make our voices heard.

Let's look at a few more pictures before we listen to what the gubernatorial candidates had to say.

Victoria Reinhardt, Ramsey County Board of Commissioners Chair

Senator Sandy Rummel, SD53

Representative Paul Gardner, SD53A

Okay, let's listen to the gubernatorial candidates who were in attendance this morning. It's always a pleasure to listen to them speak. 

R. T. Rybak - He doesn't want to wait even one more minute for a DFL Governor. It's also time to invest in schools and close the achievement gap. And it's time to invest in transportation. He wants to balance the budget and make Minnesota work. He'll win by creating a grassroots campaign from the bottom up. Rybak is a candidate who has an abundance of energy and a way with people. He's a very caring person. He's also enthusiastic and motivated. He's a natural people person and has a youthful exuberance. Almost everyone likes R. T. Rybak. He'd be a very popular governor.

John Marty - "Look deep in your heart and see why you first got involved in politics. Reread the DFL platform. You wrote it and we'll all make it happen. We will pass the Minnesota Health Plan. We will take the governor's office back." John is good on ethics and morals. He doesn't take PAC money or lobby money. He's the author of the best health care bill this state has ever seen. A vote for John Marty is a vote for everything that's good and everything that's right.

Peter Idusogie - He gave a tribute to John Marty. Peter is running so we can preserve all the good things that Minnesota has done. He is for righteousness and justice. He's also an excellent public speaker.

There were a couple of other candidates in attendance who I understand gave a speech. Unfortunately, I missed them because I was in line to upgrade my alternate status to delegate status. These candidates were:

Paul Thissen - I didn't get to hear him speak today, but I've heard him many other times. He's always excellent. He's got fresh new ideas for Minnesota. He's highly intelligent yet has a great deal of common sense. He cares about others, as I can personally vouch for because of all the times he asked me how I am. (He knows I'm fighting a devastating and potentially fatal chronic disease.) What a difference between all the candidates who inquire after my health and the few who don't seem to care at all. Paul is one of the candidates who always takes the time to ask. Also, it's clear that Paul can win. He has moved up very fast. We're very proud of him.

Tom Rukavina - I saw Rukavina earlier but unfortunately for me, I also missed his speech. Tom always adds humor to his speeches which livens up the day and makes everything appear brighter. He's of the old Farmer Labor Party, which later merged with the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party. He's blue collar. He's been a representative from the Iron Range for 24 years. He's got a large following of people who would love to see him as the next governor of Minnesota.

Ole Savior - He's the perennial candidate. He always runs in elections, although of course he never comes close to winning. Why does he run all the time? I forget. I heard it's to promote his art. Today he was seen outside the school. I was told that he didn't come in.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher - I saw her inside the school earlier in the day but I did not hear her speak. I believe she left before she spoke. Don't quote me on that though. 

A couple of candidates did not attend today. They include Susan Gaertner, who is no longer seeking the endorsement but will run in the Primary, and Matt Entenza, who has courted the endorsement, is not likely to win it, but will run in the Primary anyway. Of those three candidates who will run in the Primary regardless of the endorsement, Matt Entenza is the most viable. He can definitely win!!! 

Correction: Susan Gaertner did drop in at the CD4 Convention. I somehow missed her.

The CD4 Convention wound up with some business. We had a short break before the Ramsey County Convention convened. I'll blog that tomorrow. I'm going to bed now. My eyes are growing very very sleepy...

Meanwhile, here's some more pictures.

J. P. Barone

Matt Bostrom

Orrie Salper (in vest)


Friday, April 16, 2010


R. T. Rybak for Governor

Rybak Staff Preparing for the Rally

Team Rybak

The Rally Begins

Rybak Rally in Full Swing

Dwayne King

R. T. Rybak for Governor

R. T. Rybak with David Schultz

Howard Dean at R. T. Rybak Rally

Howard Dean

Howard Dean

Marc Drummond, TakeAction MN

I attended R. T. Rybak's rally tonight. I expected it to be very high energy. I was not disappointed. The energy increased even more when Howard Dean arrived. So much applause. So many cheers. This was a moment to remember.

First there was an introduction of R. T. Rybak. Then he spoke to the standing audience. He was enthusiastic, of course, as always. Motivating the crowd is one of his specialties. He excels at it. By the time he was done speaking I wanted to fully support him and his campaign. I wanted to run out and shout to the world, "R. T. for Governor! R. T. for Governor!"

R. T. then introduced Howard Dean. That was the first time I had ever heard him in person. He's wonderful! He told us exactly why we need R. T. to be our governor and why R. T. can win. I was definitely convinced. There's just something about R. T. Rybak that almost everybody loves. He's the only candidate with executive experience and it shows.

Howard Dean then spoke about some of the issues, the biggest of which is health care. He said that our new bill that we passed is a start but we're not done with it yet. He told exactly why it needed to be passed now.

We all agreed that Bachmann needs to go. Cheers and applause at this. I believe that she will be ousted this time. She's getting to be too much even for Republicans. She has lost any ounce of credibility that she may have once had.

Howard Dean coming to Rybak's Rally was a stroke of genius. It was just the motivating factor to create even more excitement in this campaign and hopefully to tip the scales toward R. T.