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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Rural MN:Dems Problem Is Not What They Do-It's Telling The Story

Category: Society
Posted: 11/16/16 00:28, Edited: 11/16/16 00:30

by Dave Mindeman

There is an enormous amount of talk regarding the Democratic Party's inability to meet the needs of rural America. To talk to the white working class.

I say that this is only partly true.

Maybe the Democratic Party has failed to articulate what they have done for rural America, but they are the only Party that has actually helped.

Let's take Minnesota for example.

Here the Democrats had to push broadband service in rural areas over the obstruction of the MN GOP. The Democrats fought to fund and maintain the funding of Local Government Aid, which often gave rural communities a chance to meet local budgets without raising property taxes too high.

And in regards to health care. While it is true that individual premiums spiked via the ACA, we seem to have forgotten that many rural farmers have been able to access Minnesota Care due to the asset changes brought about with the MNSure law.

And while the MN GOP House did help rural Minnesota in regards to nursing home costs and staffing - their past (and probably future) budgets always target Health and Human Services for draconian cuts. HHS is a rural staple in regards to rural health services; rural communities need more, not less in health benefits.

And then there is infrastructure. Rural communities rely on state bonding to fund their water projects, their community centers, their outsized road and bridge problems, and their emergency service projects. Democrats have always been as generous as possible in bonding projects that meet those needs. Republicans only fund a minimum of these essential projects. Making the argument that it costs too much per capita - or that bonding must be used only for a state wide interest.

Democrats do...while Republicans take credit.

These past elections have seen the GOP in both Houses pretend that they and they alone watch out for the needs of rural Minnesota. But they end up spending way more on attack ads, then funding actual services that meet rural needs.

Democrats have had issues with greater Minnesota - but it is not about what they have done for them. No, the problem is with telling the real story. They assume that their deeds are self evident. But when drowned out by targeted message rhetoric, the story gets changed.

Republicans will control both Houses of the legislature in 2017. Kurt Daudt has already shown us that he talks a lot about individual premiums issues but has done nothing in the way of acting on the problem.

I suspect that more of the same will be happening in January.
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Vote Yes On The Legislative Pay Amendment

Category: Society
Posted: 11/05/16 09:22

by Dave Mindeman

Although it is not a perfect solution, I am going to vote YES on the Constitutional ballot question regarding legislative pay.

One of the main reasons is that the legislature is too polarized to evaluate legislative pay appropriately. Every time the subject is broached, one side or the other stakes out a political position and uses it to advance their own party in an election year.

It has become such a radioactive topic that they cannot even talk about it in a non-election year.

Legislative pay is abysmally low. We call it "part time" work because the legislature only meets a few months a year. But constituent service is ongoing - legislators are "on call", if you will, all the time.

My Senator retired early when he was elected because he did not feel he could adequately do his job as Senator, if he was still working his regular job. Now, he could afford to do that - others cannot.

Oversight and management of the machinery of government is a complex and time consuming endeavor. And we are not paying these people anywhere near what it is worth.

A job as a legislator requires good people, intelligent people, people who could command top salaries in the private sector. But we are doing this on the cheap and make it harder for good people to make that commitment. Forcing them to justify setting their own compensation is simply not fair.

A citizens commission to tackle this problem is the right way to go. How the members are chosen could use some tweaking, but we need to move toward this method and the opportunity is now.

Our legislators are due for a big raise - we can't ask them to do that themselves, but we now have an opportunity to change this to an outside source that can be accountable for that discussion alone - without political gamesmanship.

Vote Yes on this ballot measure. If it is defeated, we may never get another chance to right this wrong.
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Reset Everything - The Cubs Have Won The World Series

Category: Society
Posted: 11/03/16 10:03

I used to live in Illinois a long time ago - made it to Wrigley Field several times. Sat in the famous bleachers. And Bleacher Bums was one of my favorite plays....still is...."Never bet on the Cubs after the 4th of July."

I have always been a Twins fan first, but in the National League, my heart belonged to the Cubbies.

It is fitting that in a very troubling election year, the Chicago Cubs would break through all of that noise and produce a moment of unspeakable joy. Watching those young Cubs players, who obviously don't buy into curses, have tears streaming down their eyes was emotional.

And it isn't like fate wasn't going to give us one last reminder of how tentative Cubs can be at winning - when Rajai Davis hit that home run to complete an improbable comeback, my heart said - here we go again, back to reality.

But the baseball gods poured in the rain. The world reset. And the Cubs came back out and righted all the wrongs of over a century.

The 1969 collapse. The 1984 debacle. The 2003 heartbreaker.

The current roster of Cubbies only have a vague remembrance of 2003 - probably as kids - and the rest is ancient history to them. But long time Cubs fans...we remember. We still feel some of those gut wrenching moments.

But today, it feels like everything has hit a reset button. Politics can take a backseat today. Wars and greed are out of place. There is hope that the impossible can be achieved.

Because the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series.
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