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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

District 38: Maguire Has A Name- But Carlson A Proven Commodity

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 05/31/11 21:46

by Dave Mindeman

Here in the South Metro District 38 is essentially, Eagan, Minnesota. It takes in a small piece of Burnsville, but the vast majority of the district encompasses the city of Eagan.

This district is where Tim Pawlenty came from. It is his home district and it was ground zero in last year's battle for the legislature. In 2008, this district was represented by all Democrats -- Reps. Masin and Obermueller and Senator Jim Carlson.

In 2010, the entire district turned over. Republicans Anderson and Wardlow are the new representatives, and Sen. Ted Daley defeated Jim Carlson.

The vote totals were close and 2012 looks to be another tug of war.

Recently, the mayor of Eagan, Mike Maguire has set up a campaign committee as a Democrat. He seems to be sensing some dissatisfaction with the incumbents. Maguire is the type of candidate that state party officials like to recruit. A formerly non-partisan city official who has been a vote getter in the past.

But Maguire is not alone in wanting that seat. Former Senator Jim Carlson wants it back, too. Carlson has unfinished business at the Capitol and is ready to have another go at a campaign.

I'm not sure what is going to happen but here is what I know so far. I know OF Maguire....but Jim Carlson I really do know.

Senator Jim Carlson is a proven commodity. He stood with us on health care and transportation. And when others were letting the Governor slide by on the I-35 Bridge, Jim Carlson looked deeper and fought for answers.

Mike Maguire may be a fine candidate and if he can make a better case for his candidacy, then more power to him. But right now, other than being a successful Mayor of Eagan, Maguire is essentially an unknown commodity in progressive circles. He stood up for LGA in Minneapolis and St. Paul even though Eagan doesn't receive any of its own, but progressive credentials for Maguire are yet to be proven.

I hope things can be sorted out to everyone's satisfaction. Maybe Maguire would consider one of the Representative seats instead. Not many in the South Metro want an endorsement fight. But that's for future considerations.

This district will be on everybody's radar and until there is a compelling reason to make a change, Sen. Jim Carlson deserves his chance to take District 38's Senate seat back in 2012.
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The Great North Dakota Economy....Really?

Category: Economy
Posted: 05/31/11 00:01

by Dave Mindeman

I occasionally read some of the conservative blogs to get an idea of what talking point they are all agreeing upon for this particular moment. Most of what they say is just regurgitated Party memos, but sometimes they will take something real and put their own spin on it without justification.

Gary Gross, on True North, pulls one of these latter points out of the air.

His title is the first utter nonsense...Dayton's Agenda: Killing Minnesota's Economy, Chasing Jobs to North Dakota. He takes this notion from a job fair that North Dakota hosted in Minneapolis to recruit workers:

North Dakota's governor and commerce and tax commissioners, among other state officials, recently launched a full-scale recruiting mission in the North Star state. They are seeking engineers, electricians, IT pros, machine operators, health care experts and anyone else who wants a job, so long as they don't mind relocating.

"We are in such a wonderful position over here right now," said North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Alan Anderson. "But we have a 3.3 percent unemployment rate...So we have to either get some more folks coming back home or get more coming across the state line to share in the opportunities."

In the Twin Cities, North Dakota officials have dined with business leaders and brought in 40 businesses to interview 350 Minnesotans at a job fair in Minneapolis. They also have tapped Minnesota's colleges and universities for hiring leads.

Here's the truth. I grew up in North Dakota...my brother still lives there on our original farmstead. The difference between North Dakota and Minnesota, as far as economics are concerned, is that North Dakota has oil resources and Minnesota does not. That's the economic difference pure and simple.

What Minnesota has, that North Dakota does not is...1) People and 2) A superior education system.

I graduated from North Dakota State University. NDSU would hardly challenge a MNSCU college in numbers (although they have a pretty good football team...), and as a research facility, they can only compete in the agricultural sector. North Dakota really only has two universities that can produce professional type positions - NDSU and UND (University of North Dakota in Grand Forks). Everything else in the education system deals with much more limited programs for specialty jobs.

So, it makes economic sense for North Dakota to look outside their state to find professionals to meet their needs. They have to. And do they head for South Dakota, Montana, or Iowa? No, they come to Minnesota.

North Dakota has an oil boom going on right now. Actually, they have had this before. It sparks a brief economic surge, but lasting population growth is always fleeting. The total population is about 650,000. It hasn't budged much for the last two census'. So in the midst of that oil boom, a low unemployment rate is also not surprising.

But even with these advantages, North Dakota is not seeing any mass immigration from Minnesota in people or companies. And why would that be? Because nobody really wants to permanently live there. I did live there so I can be honest about. It is miles of boring prairie with only one major population center, Fargo (about 100,000 people). It has a river on its eastern border that floods just about every year. It has a mediocre education system. It's transportation options are miles and miles of endless highways. It's winters are spent in blizzards (flat land with no wind breaks). And the most exciting thing that happens in the small towns is the possibility of a Walmart coming in.

North Dakota has about the lowest tax structure in the country and with all the oil revenue coming in, it will surely get even better. But it has been that way for some time. Where are all the companies?

Don't expect a surge in population anytime soon. North Dakotans are still leaving as fast as others come in.
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Rep. Tara Mack: "Proud" of This Session

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 05/30/11 21:08

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Tara Mack wrote a letter to the editor summing up her "pride" in this legislative session. Here is what appeared in the Apple Valley ThisWeek paper:

To the editor:

The Legislature adjourned late Monday, having passed a balanced state budget. Tuesday afternoon the governor vetoed the budget bills, setting us up for a special session.

The budget proposed by the Legislature lives within the state?s means by not exceeding our $34 billion in available revenue; this marks a 6 percent increase in spending over the current biennium.

Our budget spends what we have in the state checkbook without raising taxes and allows us to fund the state?s priorities and provide tax relief while holding classrooms, nursing homes and veterans harmless from funding reductions from what they currently receive.

In addition to the budget, we passed permit reform, alternative pathways to teacher licensure, photo ID, and significant reforms in health and human services.

I am proud of the work we did this session; we balanced the budget without raising taxes, cut red tape, and reformed education, health care and the way state government operates. It is disappointing to see this good work overshadowed by a special session that does not need to happen.

This session I was also active authoring several bills with local impact. One will help reduce congestion along Cedar Avenue and allow continued progress to be made as the state?s first Bus Rapid Transit rolls into Apple Valley. I also worked on issues to assist the Minnesota Zoo as it continues to develop in new ways and reach our community and those around the state.

Looking ahead, more work remains to resolve the budget. There is a stark difference between the governor?s proposal to raise taxes in order to spend $2 billion more than we expect to have in revenue and the Legislature?s proposal to live within our means. Despite our differences, we are committed to working with Gov. Dayton to resolve the state?s budget problem and hope to expedite negotiations to resolve the budget differences.

As we move forward, I will continue to represent working families, small-business owners and the future of Minnesota?s economy. Thank you for the privilege of serving our great community.

Tara Mack
House District 37A representative
Apple Valley

Notice the glaring omission? Not one mention of the marriage discrimination amendment. Not even a hint. I know she is aware of it because she was one of the Republicans that voted in committee to push it to the floor....a 13-12 vote. Arguably, she made the floor vote happen.

Yet, Ms. Mack is proud of the "accomplishments". There was no bonding bill for local projects. There was no budget in the end. And little that will help working families.

Mack is part of the uncompromising majority. Her characterization of the budget is shameless considering the fact that GAMC is gone and home nursing care was slashed. Local BRT is still short of funds and the Zoo funding is still a question mark.

The title of the letter was:

Proud of the work we did this session


That is not the word that comes to mind.
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