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Name: MainStreetMN
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  1. Trump isn't killing Meals on Wheels. But that's not the point.

    If it’s true that Government grants made up just $248,347 of the Meals-on-Wheels funding, that is an easy number that Congress could offset … just tell Erik Paulsen to stop sending those mass mailings (FYI – 2016 taxpayers paid $77,177.33 for Franked Mail), tele-town hall meetings ( let’s put in another $20K), bonuses to his staff (another $20K) and were halfway there.

    Considering how Paulsen would rather spending YOUR taxdollars on mailers, the message to seniors is “Let ’em eat paper”.

  2. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 22

    Have any of the Minnesota Republicans in Congress stated their observations ?

    Don’t be surprised if they don’t object to Veterans spending too much — Trump’s 2018 Budget requests $78.9 billion in discretionary funding for VA, a
    $4.4 billion or 6 percent increase from the 2017 enacted level — but it should be noted that Obama didn’t get what he asked for ($75.2 billion but got close).

    There are some cuts that have no effect on Minnesota — like spending that benefits Alaska (i.e. the Denali Commission, which coordinates state-federal infrastructure project) or regions, such as, Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership focused on economic development in a region encompassing all of West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

    There are some national cuts that might impact Minnesota and thus putting Jason Lewis in the spotlight. Lewis sits on the Budget and Transportation Committees … and one of the programs being eliminated is Essential Air Service for smaller airports (last I heard, Bemidji, Brainerd, International Fall, Hibbing and Thief River Falls had EAS service). Yep, there is some taxpayer cost but a big portion of the bill is funded from overflight fees paid to FAA by foreign aircraft that transit U.S. airspace without landing in or taking off from the United States.

    Another one is the Great Lakes Lakes Restoration Initiative which is targeted to be defunded — Great so we are building a wall on the Mexican border while the Asian Carp takeover our waters. Smart thinking Trump.

    Hopefully, all cuts are reviewed … and not just the high-profile programs like Meals-On-Wheels.

    Yet, remember this is Trump’s Budget REQUEST … it is up to the House GOP lead by Emmer, Lewis and Paulsen that will really decide this.

  3. MN lege: Speaker Daudt grandstands on pay raise

    QUESTION : If they had voted to raise the pay from the current $31,140 to … let’s say … $100 a year since their last raise — 1999 … so for simple math, it be under $33,000 … would Daudt still bellyache ?
    You know the answer is yes.

    A couple of things to consider, this recommendation was approved by Council members by a vote of 13-1. Kenneth Wilmes was the lone vote against it … Ken Wilmes is a Republican from the Mankato area … and since the board was established with 8 Republicans, doesn’t that suggest at least some thought it was a fair wage ?

    OK … so we are gonna pay a “part-time” legislator $45,000 … and we know that they spend a lot of that “part-time” work outside of the legislative session in various working groups and committees throughout the year.
    Now, as a comparison, did you realize that Erik Paulsen is essentially a small business owner … he has a Congressional Staff of maybe 13 full-time people …. (plus others who are “shared” employees. Wanna guess how many of them have an annual salary more than $45,000 ? How about ten ! And we really won’t know about Christmas/YearEnd bonuses — because the #MathGuy does not issue a press release — but a number of them got $4,000 to $5,000 bumps in pay during the fourth quarter.

    I know that you cannot compare the a federal job with a state legislator job but when Paulsen is paying the person who answers the telephone to tell you that “Congressman Paulsen does not hold town hall meetings but if you would like me to schedule him to visit your child’s school, I can help you” — essentially same amount as a Minnesota legislator, there is a problem.

    Ok … a couple of thoughts here …
    1. Daudt and any other Member can simply send a check back to the state for increase … believe it or not but Tim Walz has returned the last salary increase that Congress awarded for years … retired Congressman Chris Gibson didn’t think it was right for him to get a military pension plus a Congressional salary, so he donated his pension pay … and Elise Stefanik pays back the “subsidy” she gets for her “Gold” level ACA plan (hey, it’s not much just $251.18/mo)
    2. If they are concerned about the compensation, simply reduce the size of the state legislature. Why not consider a unicameral legislature … take out 134 state reps at $31,140 and increase the pay for the State Senators.

  4. How this nightmare came to be, Part 2: voters

    Instead of focusing on Trump, why not look at the down ballot races.

    Why did Jason Lewis win ?
    Why did Tim Walz barely squeak by against un-financed opponent ?
    In Minnesota, the Republicans took over the state legislature completely … thus, ya gotta ask WHY are people not voting … and for those that vote, why Republican ?
    OK … they got a base that is reliable with the Guns God Gays and Gynecology issues, but it is also economic. They talk to the “CUB cashier” who hears the message that there is someone else getting a free pass and that taxes need to be cut.

    Let us remember that Trump could have likely won if not for the minority candidates — Gary Johnson (112,972) and Evan McMullin (53,076) — as Clinton’s margin was less than 45,000.
    Thus ya gotta ask who did the Trump/Johnson/McMullin voter go for in the state legislature contests (Trump won the Second garnering more votes that Lewis).

    Yet, Minnesota may have had a problem from not having a US Senate race — remember that Stewart Mills III said he felt better about 2016 because Franken would not be on the ballot — and instead look to another state that you cite — Wisconsin.

    Wisconsin did have a Senate race … one that many thought would be a “for sure” Democrat pick-up … but in the end, Ron Johnson once again defeated Russ Feingold … by almost 100,000 votes.
    Think about it … Tammy Badwin won in a non-Presidential year garnering 1,547,104 votes versus ex-Gov Tommy Thompson with 1,380,126.
    Compare that to the presidential year (2016) Senate vote
    Johnson 1,478,170 Feingold 1,378,922
    So, somehow in a non-presidential year, more people voted … and went Republican.
    Yeah, in Wisconsin, Trump won … but the exit polls clearly showed that Obama was viewed favorably while Trump had unfavorable rating of 64%, 64% also said he was not qualified to be President and 59% worried that he did not have the temperament to be President … yet, he got more votes.

    My thought is that there are really two things going on here.
    1. People had Clinton fatigue and with the polls showing she would win, were willing to make a “statement” vote against her … thinking that Trump would never win … and if he did. so what, after all he was a businessman who would “create jobs” (LOL).
    2. There is a real problem for the DFL … they are not getting the people to the polls.

  5. MN-03 shocker! Paulsen skipped town hall

    My guess is that he was out “drinking up” praise for his hard work … after all, “Representative” Paulsen must have been tired after retweeting the praise he got from the Beer Institute — recognizing him as “a leader for the over 1.75 million Americans whose jobs rely on a dynamic #beer industry” … specifically for the “almost 43,000 Minnesotans whose jobs rely on a thriving beer industry.”

    OK … following the instructions of our Supreme Leader Donald Trump never to trust the media … is the “almost 43,000” figure correct ?
    Yes … it is … well actually the 2014 data from John Dunham and Associates puts the number at 42,912.
    But that number includes the retail and marketing employees … the number of people working at breweries is only 667.
    Heck, in 2014, Wal*Mart had 21,877 employees in Minnesota … and none of them brew beer or make any product.

    So, why is Erik Paulsen getting praised … because he is the prime sponsor of HR 747 Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 … a tax cut that the industry wants. It’s a tax cut on the Federal Excise Tax … which Paulsen says will result in more jobs. Now, he can make the argument on the Medical Device Excise Tax that the businesses would invest in R&D resulting in more employees (still haven’t seen any proof that is justified) yet, ya gotta wonder if the brewers got a cut in their excise tax, would they really invest in making the “next great beer” … or just keep if in profits.
    After all, the current tax which is passed onto consumers has not seemed to hamper business … With all 12 months of 2016 data now available, beer production grew by an estimated 700,000 barrels, or 0.3%, in 2016.
    That’s product … not price.

    Paulsen is a corporate shill … pushing every tax cut … and tricking people into believing that it will result in jobs.

    No wonder he does not want to meet with ordinary citizens.

  6. MN lege: When will the crazy end?

    FYI Letter on behalf of the 3,800 hard-working Minnesotans that are
    employed in the solar industry regarding HF235

    This legislation, if enacted, will not only kill an important component of
    Minnesota’s solar industry, it will also pull the rug out on solar businesses that have made investments and finalized contracts for solar projects this year. Repealing the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program (MiM) three years into its ten-year cycle will negatively impact the entire solar industry value chain resulting in the immediate loss of investments and jobs throughout the state.
    In 2013, the legislature – like most other legislatures around the country – developed a solar incentive program with a goal of establishing a Minnesota-based solar industry marketplace. The Made in Minnesota (MiM) program is succeeding in that endeavor. Since the enactment of MiM, Minnesota’s residential and small business sector of the solar industry has grown exponentially with over 1,100 installations. Businesses have opened their doors in big and small towns across the state and have offered employment opportunities to rural Minnesotans who had been economically displaced by the recession.
    In some instances, businesses have even relocated from other states to take advantage of Minnesota’s solar-friendly policies. MiM has increased Minnesota’s ability to compete nationally in securing businesses in this sector while delivering economic benefits statewide.
    According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, MiM has been responsible for the creation of 495 jobs in Minnesota’s solar sector and the majority of the industry utilizes this program to market their products and services. Because of the MiM program, Minnesota’s small businesses are better able to compete with larger, out-of-state companies.
    Just as other states are implementing new or stronger solar incentive programs, Minnesota is moving to eliminate its own. HF 235/SF 214 repeals the MiM program with immediate effect. Not only would this devastate our state’s strong and growing roof top solar industry, it instantly terminates funds set to be awarded on February 28, 2017—less than two weeks from today. What should our home-grown
    businesses tell their customers? How can these companies recoup the investments they have already made?
    How can Minnesota expect to continue to compete nationally in this fast-growing sector if we repeal this program and tell our solar business community we’ve changed our minds?
    We urge you to vote “No” on this legislation and to support the continued growth of solar in Minnesota.
    Thank you for your consideration.
    1. Alexandria Industries
    2. All Energy Solar
    3. Applied Energy Innovations
    4. Aquilla Solar
    5. Cedar Creek Energy
    6. Energy Concepts
    7. Ideal Energy
    8. Innovative Power Systems
    9. iTek Energy
    10. Powerfully Green
    11. RREAL
    12. Solar Connection
    13. Solar Farm
    14. SunDance Energy Solutions
    15. SunDial Solar
    16. SunRun
    17. TruNorth Solar
    18. Werner Electric
    19. Winona Renewable Energy, LLC
    20. Zenergy

  7. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 13

    Just checked the Minnesota ratio … and it is very specific … using three places after the decimal … at age 64 and over it is 3.000 versus age 63 which is 2.952 versus age 62 2.873 etc.

    Trump would have problems in other states besides Minnesota — Utah maxes out at 3.000 starting at age 59 … New Jersey maxes out at 2.28 at age 59 … while Massachusetts maxes out at 2.365 at age 60.

  8. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 13

    Actually, “rounding” to maintain the 3:1 ratio would be better for seniors than Susan Brooks (R-IN) proposal which would raise it to 5:1.
    Yep, they already have a bill in discussion stage.

    The idea of changing the ratio has been pushed by Norm Coleman’s American Action Network … yet it would cost seniors more in premiums than young people would save. And remember that under the current subsidy system, raising the premiums will also increase the subsidies … changing it to 5:1 would cost the taxpayers additional $9.3 billion a year in federal premium subsidies. Moreover, RAND estimates about 400,000 older adults who don’t qualify for subsidies would drop coverage.

    Regarding the Trump proposal to round, would lead to an interesting question in Minnesota … where our law required a 3:1 ratio … someone would have to advise whether that is a hard number or is rounding acceptable.
    That leads to the problem for advocates like Jason Lewis who promote the idea of buying policies across state lines … will insurance companies want to come into Minnesota where we have more (and different) mandates than other states. Lewis is pushing the idea of repealing the Essential Benefits provisions in the ACA … which would return destablize what is in the standard policy.

  9. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 12

    FYI : One of the few bills (actually it was number 10) that Obama vetoed was H.J. Resolution 88 … and they failed to override it. So this is not a surprise that SupremeLeaderDonaldTrump would instruct DOL differently.
    Yet, like a lot of things with this Trump administration, they are causing more confusion from poorly written Executive Orders as noted White House memo confuses Wall Street on fate of fiduciary rule story.

    Also, the House has H.R.355 – Protecting American Families’ Retirement Advice Act delaying the rule for two years.

    Do these guys have any clue what they are doing ?

  10. MN-03: Rep. Paulsen ducks his constituents

    FYI : There is a scheduled citizen-motivated town hall event with (or without) CD-3 Rep. Erik ​Paulsen at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 23, at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church (12235 Old Rockford Road, Plymouth). The House is not scheduled to be in session, so he better have a good reason for not attending.

    On January 30, Paulsen held another pseudo town hall event that he conducts via the telephone — offered with very little notice, with only a select group of individuals, and paid for by the taxpayer.

    Another chance to see Paulsen would be at his Congress on the Corner events that he has held regularly (frequently at the aptly named Consumer United Buying Foods aka CUB Foods). Constituents may want to call his office to see when and where he will be holding the next one.

  11. MN-02: Kline targets workers and seniors to the bitter end

    All workers should be concerned … Kline’s deceitful inclusion in 2014YearEnd must-pass lame-duck legislation that produced this problem is at it again.

    Kline has known about the problems for too long … heck, Republican David McKinley has said that he has worked on it for over four years. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation issued a report in June and in September, Kline put out a “draft” proposal but to my knowledge has not offered it as legislation.

    Kline’s proposal has a few problems (as well as some vocal critics) … such as the draft would allow plan actuaries to certify that a composite plan meets the 120-percent funded-ratio standard based upon assumptions that the actuary believes are reasonable.
    Operative word “believes” … if you ever got a call from an investment “advisor” telling you about some great stock (think Enron) that he really “believes” in, then you already know to be wary.
    Well, the concern is that the actuary could use unrealistic assumptions to conclude
    that the plan is in compliance with the funding standards even though it would not be in compliance if realistic assumptions were used.
    Kline’s legislation should be reworked to require the Treasury Department be charged with establishing standards for plan sponsors — with the ability to reject actuary’s conclusions if deemed unreasonable.

    The PBGC report is pretty scary … especially when you consider the premium increases that are already established (Kline supported the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which raised the premium from $2.60 to $8 per participant … then Kline supported The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act which raised in to $13) … now they will have to be raised again … biggly …. and the concern should be that some companies will terminate their plans … leaving workers and retirees at risk.

    No doubt that this is a problem … and a main component of the Kline Legacy … he wanted to be Chairman … he didn’t follow Boehner’s promise of open and empowered committee, instead opting to hold the power in the chairman’s gavel … in the end, he has done nothing to make things better for workers … while leaving problems for the future.

    Worse yet … the future will be lead by President Trump and Chairwoman Virginia Foxx.

  12. Atrocious ruling blocks new overtime rule

    The judge’s order put Obama’s Executive Order on hold … which would have been eliminated as part of Trump’s Day One Agenda. So what was going to take place on December 1st does not have to happen … the judge’s decision appeared to signal that he’ll soon toss the rule altogether with a summary judgment and permanent injunction. That would leave it up to the Trump administration whether to appeal (to a conservative Ninth Circuit that would likely oppose the rule)

    To Republicans this is just another example of The Imperial Presidency of Obama … taking action without Congressional approval.

    Which should lead to the question … why hasn’t Congress taken action ?

    They don’t like it that Obama acted to double the salary limit (to $47,476 before OT is required to be paid) … it must be mentioned that he announced his intent to do this in 2014 and it took this long to go through the review and approval phrase when Congress could have done something different.

    Their inaction has included a proposal to phase in the increase amount (maybe in steps over 3 or 5 years and in wage steps like from $23,660 to $35,984) … with the effort being led by … wanna guess …. Blue Dog Democrats including Collin Peterson who joined with Kurt Schrader D-OR to <a href=""offer H.R. 5813 Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act which has been assigned to John Kline’s committee … signing on as a co-sponsor is Tom Emmer.

    BTW … In September, House Republicans passed H.R. 6094, the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act (246-177. Five Democrats were among those voting for it) which would delay the implementation of the Obama rule for six months

    So, you get the picture … Republicans have friendly Democrats who are willing to allow business to take advantage of workers.

    The one good thing that has happened is that since some businesses knew this was coming they have already changed some policies and pay … so they may be hard pressed to reverse course now … for example, Wal*Mart had raised mangers pay to $48,000 to keep them above the limit and have said they will not revert back.

    Regarding your overall comment on judges … it really is true what Trump said — “Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice” — if you want conservative judges on the courts, they had to vote for him. That was true … and now, WE will pay for those judges being packed in the lower courts for decades.

  13. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 1

    Some did not get suckered … they got what they wanted.

    Take for example, Trump’s candidate for Secretary or Education — Betsy DeVos.

    You can bet that the member schools at the Minnesota Independent School Forum, which has received funding through DeVos’ Alliance For School Choice knew that Trump would deliver school voucher programs that would allow students to attend private schools at public expense.

    BTW … is it too early to print the “Pence/Haley” bumper stickers ? Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump quickly realizes that we are “tired of winning” and opts for one term leaving Mike Pence and Nikki Haley to replace him.

  14. The way forward

    Good, uplifting post … yet, may I offer a couple caveats ?

    Eight years ago America heard the President-Elect say, “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.”
    Yeah, it is true that Clinton won the popular vote, just like Gore did, but the consequences of the Bush elections are still being felt today (from the “reform” of tax policy to the PTSD/suicides related to the Iraq war.)
    Saying “Clinton won” is not what I would recommend, but instead start asking the Reagan question : Are you better off now under President Trump ?
    Then follow it up with : Did the Trump tax cuts change your family fortune like they did his ?
    Did the ObamaCare repeal produce lower prescription drug prices and lower insurance costs ?
    Did “tearing up NAFTA” bring jobs back to America ?
    IMO, we have no idea what scandal will befall the Trump Administration and what in-fighting there will be, or the number of Administration turnovers there will be … but feel confident that they will happen. Yet, those things like “the wall” and “extreme vetting” do not have the impact on day-to-day family life — thus the focus should be on “your finances”.

    Second, the hope for young voters hearing their “inner Democrat” may be a challenge. I scoffed at the way some were interpreting Steve Simon’s MN school mock presidential vote as a reflection of how Minnesota would vote … but maybe they were correct. The mock election results showed strong support for Trump in rural and charter schools suggesting that parents had influenced their children and as students vote, so would their parents. The results also indicated that some city schools did not participate … hmmm … do you see a pattern ?

    IMO, a Trump Minnesota victory did not happen because of Terri Bonoff.
    First, let’s look at the First District … Tim Walz barely beat Jim Hagedorn in a repeat match where Hagedorn got zero RNCC support. The concern here is that Walz has steadily seen a denigration of support from rural counties. It was not that long ago that Walz won every county … now, he is dependent upon winning Rochester and Mankato. Take Brown County (New Ulm, neighboring Mankato) where Hagedorn won in 2014 4870 to 4423 — okay, a non-Presidential year where MNGOP typically does well. But this year, Hagedorn won 8182 to 5376. Yeah, a lot more people voted … and they sided with Hagedorn — big time.
    Here’s the challenge for Walz, once you lost voters — once they have agreed to fire you– how do you win them back ?
    Actually, it wasn’t only the First District that should be a concern … Trump won the Second and Eighth also … these were won by Obama in 2012.
    So, with Trump winning three districts that Obama had won before, why didn’t he win the state ? Simple answer … Terri Bonoff. The Third went for Clinton … and in a “bigly” fashion. While Obama edged Romney by about 4,000 votes, Clinton won by more than 37,000 even though less people voted. Bonoff created a high profile election … making people want to vote. Now, what would have happened if Jon Tollefson was the challenger … would the DNCC and House Majority PAC spent any money … thus would the turnout have been less ?
    Trump was not a great candidate … but if you presume that every McMullin voter was a likely Republican voter, Trump would have won Minnesota … plus the Libertarian Party garnered an increase in support.
    Sorry, but I see a trend.

    2018 will be a different year. Klobuchar should be on the ballot … and Lewis will have two years collecting checks in Washington while Peterson and Nolan will both be 74 — will they want another two years flying back and forth to sit in President Trump/Pence minority opposition ? Walz will get another challenge … but this time, expect Norm Coleman and the RNCC to target him. The MNGOP will be laser focused on the gubernatorial contest.

    The way forward is based on the candidates … and how they focus on getting elected. For years, I have heard of the great door-knocking programs yet on Election Day, the DFL comes up short. I attribute Hagedorn’s success to repeated visits to all parts of the district and an effective social media outreach program during which he was able to bash Obama and Walz. Well, this time Democrats can bash Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress … plus asking what the MNGOP-controlled legislature would do with a Republican governor in place.

  15. Governor Dayton and the MN lege GOP

    Wall Street has it’s own jargon — “the trend is your friend” and “don’t trust your own opinion and back your judgment until the action of the market itself confirms your opinion” — which can be applied to politics.

    There is no doubt a “trend” is in the GOP favor … case in point, look at Tim Walz in Minnesota’s First District. It wasn’t too many years ago that Congressman Walz won re-election by winning every single county in the District … now, look at what happened this week … if it wasn’t for Olmsted County (Rochester) and his home county, Blue Earth, Walz would be telling the school board that he was ready to return from his sabbatical. Heck, in Brown County, which is adjacent to Blue Earth, not only did Jim Hagedorn expand his margin from 2014 but he won 21 out of 22 city/townships.
    For an incumbent to see that heavy of a rejection against a candidate whose campaign rested on ObamaCare, ISIS and failure of Walz to fight for veterans mental health (hmmm … no mention that the Republicans refused to provide any additional dollars for Walz’s Clay Hunt suicide legislation) may be shocking.
    Yet, I have to ask isn’t this a trend to accepting the GOP talking points ?
    The follow-up question is, once voters have rejected you, can Walz win them back ?

    OK … so you say, so what the rural counties are small … but then look at Olmsted County which Clinton won by just 598 votes out of 80,126 cast. The Minnesota legislature vote favored Republicans in four of six races. Remember it was Olmsted County that delivered the governorship to Tim Pawlenty.

    Considering Dayton’s comment “They sent a divided government here in St. Paul and they’re going to get divided government for better and for worse” well that is his opinion for which I say “Don’t trust your own opinion” … he can do something about it.
    His choices are simple :
    1. Work with the GOP to find acceptable legislative actions
    2. Veto

    IMO, Dayton’s inability to agree on a special session for legislation on public works spending and tax relief provided voters a view of how ineffective our legislative process has become … and add to that the MNsure stories (David and Ann Buck’s premium increase not only was featured in television ads but got cited in The Chicago Tribune.
    Do Minnesotans want someone promoting the concept of a “government for better or for worse” ?

    The choice may be : do we fire the team or the coach? And everyone knows, you cannot fire the team … and whomever the DFL nominates will be brandished as another Dayton. Certain districts are virtually cast in concrete … so the team cannot be fired. It’s the coach that is on the hot seat … and also who follows him.

    2018 is a long way off … the likelihood of Klobuchar on the ballot will benefit Dems (ya gotta think that not having a US Senate race hurt DFL candidates this cycle), but if Erik Paulsen decided to run for Governor, that would make the race very difficult … of course, Keith Downey or Kurt Daudt would make things easier.

    My early forecast is for another trend election … not a backlash election.

  16. Keith Ellison for DNC chair looks serious

    Question : Has Keith Ellison indicated that if he becomes DNC chair, he would resign from Congress ?

    Didn’t the Debbie Wasserman-Schultz experience prove that there needs to be separation from elective office and party operations ?
    As a taxpayer, it bugs me that I see taxdollars being expended for legislative staff who “moonlight” on congressional campaigns (i.e. John-Paul Yates, Troy Young) … should an elective Congressman also have direct responsibilities for party operations ? IF Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis or Erik Paulsen took this type of job, should taxpayers complain … especially when they are out of session for days/weeks/months throughout the year ?
    How quickly will TwitterTrump and Rush Limbaugh make “Keith E. Hakim” the face of the Democrat Party ? (Let’s be frank, how much did Ali C. Ali’s name hurt his election chances (SD 55 votes = 13,282 while the HD55A&B DFL candidates got 15,706.)

    I am an outsider, but it seems that since Ray Buckley, Howard Dean, Martin O’Malley, and Tom Perez are not in elective office, they would be better suited.

    OK … now the real questions that should be asked : What policy or strategy proposals distinguish Keith Ellison from other potential candidates ?

    If Ellison has the right proposals, give him the job but tell him to resign from Congress … after all, it won’t change the control of the House.
    Besides, if he didn’t get the job, he would be one more voice that could advocate for Party positions.

  17. 2016 election results blog

    There’s something in the water.

    Ya gotta think that if just half the McMullin and Libertarians decided to vote for Republican, Trump would have won Minnesota. Trump lost by 43k and McMullin got 53k … and McMullin wouldn’t have been on the ballot if not for the NeverTrump movement.

    No shock that Paulsen won … with all that cash and Strib endorsement … but a 13 point win is rather decisive when the turnout is pretty good (393k).

    But a surprise in MN07 where Peterson won again … a little bit closer this time – 5 points versus 8 points in 2014. OK, you remember 2014 when RNCC spent all that money, yet still lost. This time, David Hughes – did anyone ever hear anything about his campaign … raised $17,085 this cycle … that’s less that what Paulsen would take in about three days. Turnout was okay at 330k. On a dollar/vote basis was about 11 cents per Hughes vote.

    But the real shocker was in MN01 where after winning comfortable for years, Tim Walz barely beat Jim Hagedorn in a repeat contest. Walz got most of the newspaper endorsements but in the end 2,513 votes separated them … but the money difference was vast. Hagedorn did not get any help from the RNCC and a meager $1000 from John Kline, raising somewhat more that $341,000 … meaning his $/vote was about $2. BTW, I live in the district and got no mailers from either candidate although I did see a couple Walz commercials but never saw/heard Hagedorn’s ads)

    Lewis beating Craig was also another race where the outcome did not depend on dollars being spent. It appears that having Independence Party candidate on the ballot allowed an option for some people. (FYI : Lewis’ fundraising was north of $873,000 … and will probably be in the range of what Mike Obermueller raised last cycle. Craig far outraised him and both candidates had a lot of money being spent by outside groups. Lewis dollar per vote would be roughly $5).

    What MN01, MN02 and MN07 have in common is the rural area where Minnesota legislative candidates are predominantly GOP.
    Not sure if its guns, God, Obamacare, or the EPA, but there appears to be something in the water that just brings people out to vote Republican. All three of these contests are ones where people could have presumed the DFLer was gonna win and just not bothered coming out to vote … but they did.
    That might be the takeaway from this election … people did come out … and voted Republican … where now they control the state house.

    This does not bode well for 2018 gubernatorial contest … if the MNGOP puts up a reasonable candidate, it could be lights out for the DFL.
    ( BTW, it seems that sitting Congressmen have many times tried to seek Governor’s slots … makes you think that if Erik Paulsen finds TrumpWorld and the Freedom Caucus too aggravating, would he bring his campaign war chest home (his cash on hand after this election could still be in the million dollar range).

  18. This election will probably not be what it should

    How can we hold corporate media responsible for candidate’s constant appeals for more money ?

    Case-in-point … I just got an email from the Angie Craig campaign
    “Jason Lewis just dumped $75,OOO into his campaign in a final effort to pull ahead!


    Of course as anyone who has followed this contest knows, Angie Craig has “dumped” $975,000 of her own money into the campaign while Lewis had not contributed a dime of his own money.
    And no mention that in six days, Angie Craig got more than $78,000 from larger donors (more than $1000 donation) — ranging from locals like the Pohlads and Entenza to out of state film producers and PAC.

    It is kinda odd that Rick Nolan and David Jolly offered a bipartisan bill to address incumbent fundraising … and now are both in competitive re-election campaigns … and both may lose. You know about Nolan, but David Jolly FL13 has brought in over $1.9 million for his contest and polls show that although Trump should win the district, Charlie Crist will beat Jolly (Crist raised in excess of $1.5 million.)
    Add to the dollars the Nolan, Mills, Jolly and Crist campaigns may spend to the dollars from outside groups HouseMajorityPAC and Norm Coleman’s Congressional Leadership Fund, the winner will not be the public but media that produces and runs the commercials.

    Heck, even Republican Representative Erik Paulsen who has raised in excess of $4,680,906, may not be enough as NRCC is not taking any chances and is up with another ad against Democratic challenger Terri Bonoff in this final week.

    If America really wants to discuss real issues, then there must be a cap on how much can be spent in any elective office.
    Case-in-point, a candidate for Macomb County Michigan public works commissioner has received $150,000 for her campaign.

    Yep, any elective office.

  19. This election will probably not be what it should

    What it should be about is the amount of money raised (and spent) in this election.
    And yes, much of that money comes from corporations buying — err — donating to politicians.

    Let’s take Erik Paulsen … who is the winner here … well, I say DMM Media who will bill him over a million dollars (actually north of $1.4M)
    And look at how much money he has been given … over $4,680,906.
    And he has spent it too … over $4,247,018.

    And did any media outlet ask him to defend his need to seek that much money or spend that much money ?

    No, the big question was : Will you vote for Donald Trump after his “nasty” comments?

    When the question should have been :
    Will you vote for Donald Trump who says the trade deals that you have supported have cost American jobs ?
    Will you vote for Donald Trump who says America needs a new national family leave policy that would provide six weeks of paid leave and you have failed to sponsor H.R.1439 – Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act ?
    Will you vote for Donald Trump who acknowledges that he has not paid federal taxes — “That makes me smart” and chided Congress “Now, if you want to change the laws, you’ve been there a long time”… and you have failed to close the Trump loopholes ?
    Will you vote for Donald Trump who says “you know is one thing to have twenty trillion debt and our roads are good and are bridges are good everything is in great shape. Our airports are like from a Third World country. You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible — you come in from China — you see these incredible airports and you land… we become a Third World country. So the worst of all things has happened. We owe twenty trillion dollars and we are a mess.” … and you have voted for more tax cuts and failed to invest in our infrastructure ?

    The media was helped by the challengers who have focused on Trump’s antics instead of some of the issues that he has raised which show a failure of the Washington establishment.

  20. Why can't Minnesota legalize marijuana?

    As voters consider this issue, remember what Congress has done … and what it has not.
    On May 19, when the U.S. House of Representatives considered the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, it passed Representative Blumenauer’s Veterans Equal Access Amendment making it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana — 233-189 … a bipartisan vote … but not in the Minnesota delegation where it was a party line vote … yep, John Kline, Erik Paulsen and Tom Emmer voted against helping vets.
    But in the final bill, House Republicans stripped language from the bill.

  21. MN lege: DFL pickup opportunities hither and yon, Part 3

    Is it Party First or district needs ?

    Well, let’s look at how Jeremy Miller (SD28) voted in this year’s bonding bill. The Senate’s first draft failed, largely along party lines. If Miller had joined fellow Republican Carla Nelson in breaking with his minority party, the bill would have passed … the bill included funding for the Lanesboro dam — which is in the district that he is supposed to represent.
    So, if you are a Party First voter, Jeremy Miller is your man … but if you care about Winona, Lanesboro, etc., well you may want to give Jon Pieper a chance.

  22. MN-08: Hooting at that KSTP poll

    How much money should a candidate spend to get elected ?

    The most recent FEC filing for the Stewart Mills III campaign is a little eye-popping.
    $3,003,317.97 in operating expenses … and only $93,319 cash-on-hand.
    THAT’s a ton of money to spend for a job that pays only $174,000 … and that’s just what his campaign has spent … not counting the outside groups (Norm Coleman, RNCC, NRA etc.)
    Since the last filing (report date October 19th activity), there is another $110,000 from Stewart Mills PO BOX 1039 BRAINERD, Minnesota 56401 on October 25th.

    Ya gotta ask yourself, if they are willing to spend so much to defeat Nolan, what do they think they will be able to get in legislation ?
    BTW, there is more money coming in from Leadership PACs now … including some of Kline’s buddies — Virginia Foxx and Tom Cole.

  23. MN-08: Hooting at that KSTP poll

    Hmmm … did you see the Strib endorsement ?

    Yeah, you remember the one from Oct 27, 2014 – “Mills is fresh voice”

    Well, now, the Editorial Board endorsement: Rick Nolan has earned a third term in Eighth District —
    “The Editorial Board has never endorsed previously Nolan for Congress, either in his last two terms or when he served in the 1970s. But he has done well by his district and the state, and has earned re-election.”

  24. Both sides on the legislative pay amendment

    Let’s be honest … first off, the passage of a MN Constitutional amendment is daunting … a majority of the participants in the election must vote Yes for it to pass … a No vote or a blank vote count the same. So how many people will go to vote for President/legislative/county candidates and then find out there is this amendment question and leave without casting a vote on the amendment ?
    Since 1900, 63 (roughly 82 percent) were not ratified because, despite receiving majority approval among those voting on the question itself, they failed to receive majority approval of all voters voting at the election.

    So, why did the legislature take this step when they could have just voted to change the pay of future legislators ? Well, just look at the number of commercials and mailers being sent saying “He/She has voted to raise his/her own salary by more than 35% costing Minnesota families”. Thus rather than face the misleading campaign ads, they punted.

    Now, let’s ask the question … is the salary fair ?
    $31,140 sounds like a lot … if they truly only worked when in session. Thus if the session is 66 days at 8 hours/day, they would earn roughly $60/hour. Less than what an attorney would charge per hour, and probably less than a plumber but still a good salary … if that’s all they worked.
    BUT we know they do a lot of work outside of the legislative session … heck, sometimes they are force to convene in individual sessions in county parks to “exchange” healthcare proposals/documents.
    OK, seriously, they do a lot of work outside of the session … meeting with various commissions, county and regional groups to evaluate infrastructure proposals, healthcare facilities, etc. When there is an natural disaster, they are there.

    By comparison, is it a fair salary ?
    Heck, let’s remember that there are nearly 3,000 University of Minnesota employees statewide make more than $100,000 in salary per year.
    Now, think about this, the U of M football staff is paid $2,932,000, that is roughly the salary for all State Senators. Considering that Head Coach Tracy Claeys gets $1.4 mill, that says his assistant coaches are getting some pretty hefty paychecks. Men’s Basketball Head Coach Rick Pitino received a $400,000 annual raise last summer, increasing his salary to $1.6 million, while Women’s Head Basketball Coach Marlene Stollings will be paid in excess of $350,000 per year, with an annual increase of at least five percent. Heck, Women’s Softball coach Jessica Allister’s salary is $115,000.

    Nobody is running commercials complaining about these taxpayer’s funds (as the MNDaily (reports the Athletic Department has repeatedly relied on taxpayers to fund their spending.

    OK … so let’s ignore the Athletic Department and just look some other government employees.
    Do you realize that there is a Board of Barber Examiners ?
    Yep, a four Member board backed up with a staff of three full time employees manage the business of the board: An Executive Secretary, an Inspector, and a Customer Service Specialist.
    Max salary is $73,268.
    BTW … the fees the Board collects pays for their salaries and actually is profitable.

    There are other Boards — some get higher salaries and some lower. Horse Racing is better paid ($88,488) than Private Detective ($57,065).

    Heck, look at the salaries of County Commissioners … over the years, several have left the Capitol to seek County Commissioner seats … commissioners in at least 15 of Minnesota’s 87 counties earn more than their legislative counterparts.

    Nobody thinks about other salaries … but given a chance to attack legislators for increasing their pay for the first time this century, is too easy of a target.

    So the point is obvious … the Minnesota legislature is underpaid by comparison … but too many are afraid to do anything about it.

    For the record, I voted Yes as it is just seems wrong that people are leaving the legislature to seek other governmental jobs … but don’t think it has a pray of passing.

  25. MN-08: Hooting at that KSTP poll

    Time out … isn’t this an improvement from last cycle — KSTP/Survey USA poll: Stewart Mills leads Rep. Rick Nolan by 8 points (October 17,2014) — hey, it’s now down to a 4 point margin.

    Now, help me out here … but wasn’t Mills premise that this being a non-Senate year that Franken would not be on the ballot and Trump being there would help him … so if the poll is correct, then he’s timing is prefect.

    I was struck by a couple of things …
    — the fact that this pool has a male slant … 52% respondents are men whereas in 2014 it was 50% or 48% depending on which SurveyUSA Minnesota poll used. Is this area now, male dominated ?
    — the significant number of “independent” voters … who happened to back Trump 45-16 over Clinton … really ? 30% of those voters are going to vote for Nolan but only 16% are going for Clinton … does that sound logical?
    — the pool has a “Conservative” slant … 39% Conservative, 36% Moderate and 19% Liberal. This is an uptick in Conservatives from previous SurveyUSA Minnesota polls.
    — the pool has a “Republican” slant … 47% of the respondents
    15% Strong Republican
    15% Republican
    17% Lean Republican
    Add to that 14% independents, leaves a small DFL contingency.

    OK … here’s my question, actually, it is really the question of incumbency.
    Aren’t we asking : Should we fire Rick Nolan ?
    And the poll says Maybe … 42% approve of the job he is doing, 41% disapprove and 17% have no idea (which begs the question, if you asked these people who their Congressman was last July, would they be able to name him.)
    Considering the composition in the pools, this is actually a pretty good number.

    So, what could prove the SurveyUSA projection of a Mills victory ?
    MNsure and ObamaCare … that is a driving issue that will be dominating the Minnesota airwaves.

    IF Mills wins, it will be because he followed the Cravaack model — bash ObamaCare and ride a protest vote to Washington.