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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.
comments (3) permalink

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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