Long Time State Senator and Dayton advisor Ellen Anderson speaks of G.O.P. obstructionists in the Minnesota Senate. Ms. Anderson has been campaigning for DFLers Melisa Franzen (SD 49) and Laurie McKendry (SD 48) to knock out right wingers Keith Downey and David Hann from their St. Paul temp jobs. This Democratic Visions segment was handcrafted by volunteers through DFL Senate District 48.
Moderate DFLer Yvonne Selcer is running a smart, full-blooded and effective campaign in her bid to recapture the Minnesota House seat now held by right wing Republican Kirk Stensrud. That’s in my pocket of suburban paradise, northern Eden Prairie and southern Minnetonka.
Selcer, a former Hopkins School District board chair, explains the differences between herself and her opponent on Democratic Visions. The DFL Senate District 48 cable TV series is arguably the best political issues program in Minnesota.
Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak scored himself a speaking slot at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. He worked hard for him in ’08 and has been working hard for him this time around, too. If you were watching MSNBC or CNN, they talked over his speech. I was watching PBS and saw it all.
RT brought up the I-35W bridge collapse under Gov. Tim Pawlenty and how America’s infrastructure crumbled under the Republicans.
After describing how Obama rescued the economy while the Republicans sole goal was to stop him from accomplishing anything and blaming anything that didn’t go well on him, RT had this zinger:
These Democratic Vision segments with Keith Ellison were recorded earlier this year … before Mrs. Bachmann began her paranoid speculations about the Muslim Brotherhood.
Congressman Ellison gets a lot of airplay but here he is on the political and public issues program I get to produce through DFL Senate District 48 out of a soon to be shut down public access studio in the SW ‘burbs. Compare to Mrs. Bachmann’s hundreds of YouTube appearances.
Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) joined many other progressives calling for the Freedom to Marry plank be added to the national Democratic Party platform. This is important because, if adopted, it means that Minnesotans will see/hear yet one more source calling on Minnesotans to defeat the gay marriage ban constitutional amendment. And the national party will have plenty of money to spend.
From the Freedom to Marry campaign’s press release email:
Today more than half a dozen Democratic Congressional leaders signed onto Freedom to Marry’s Democrats: Say I Do campaign calling for a freedom to marry plank in the 2012 national platform of the Democratic Party. The signers include three key contenders for the US Senate from swing states: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Shelly Berkley (D-NV); and Martin Heinrich (D-NM). Additional new signers include Ranking Democrat of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (D-MI); Judiciary Committee member Mike Quigley (D-IL); former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO).
These latest members of Congress to call for a freedom to marry plank join House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Obama campaign co-chairs Charles Gonzalez (D-TX) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and many others.
The proposed plank reads:
The Democratic Party supports the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.
Congressional Caucus Co-Chair and 5th District Representative Keith Ellison explains what must be done to marginalize the bad effects of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” Decision and right wing legislative initiatives of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. The point person for the Minnesota cell of ALEC is Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake.
This is one of 4 video segments with Congressman Ellison that form the current February edition of Democratic Visions, the public affairs monthly produced through DFL Senate District 42 (Minnetonka/Eden Prairie).
Can Minnesota Democrats muster a smile and laugh in the face of the situation in our Republican dominated House and Senate? Timid Video Theater and Democratic Visions asks you to be the judge. The segment is featured in the February edition of the DFL public issues cable and internet program.
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) presidential dreams are fading fast. But that won’t stop her. She’s the energizer bunny of fear-mongering and conspiracy theories … nothing can stop her! At last night’s debate she attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for … gasp … once being a Democrat.
Michele Bachmann, seeking to regain lost momentum in the Republican presidential race, tried Tuesday evening at the GOP debate in Hanover, N.H., to hit rival conservative where she thought he may be weakest: his past as a Democrat.
During a portion of the Bloomberg/Washington Post debate in which the candidates could ask one another questions, Bachmann spun the way-back dial to the 1980s, when, she said, President Reagan created an “economic miracle.”
Bachmann apparently forgot her own story in which she worked to elect Jimmy Carter and only “converted” afterward.
I recently had the privilege to sit down with Senator Berglin and talk about Minnesota’s health care programs. Sen. Berglin’s passion for health care stems from both her experience with medical care as a child and struggling to pay for health insurance for her child. Minnesota has two programs to help provide care for low income Minnesotans: Medical Assistance (MA) and Minnesota Care (MNCare). MA is Minnesota’s Medicaid program that is funding through state and federal dollars. MNCare is Minnesota’s insurance for low-income families and provides a sliding-scale premium. MNCare is funded by a tax paid by health insurance companies.
As a part of the federal Health Care Reform law, providers will need to switch from paper-based records to electronic records. Sen Berglin has fought to ensure local community clinics are included in this switch over so that all a patients records are available no matter where they go for care. HCR also requires a state insurance exchange system. An insurance exchange will help Minnesotans find the right type of health insurance plan for them. Those Minnesotan’s with a chronic disease, like diabetes, could find information about which plans have the best outcomes when managing diabetes care. This will be a powerful tool for consumers. While uncoupling jobs and health care coverage is ideal, one major way to improve health outcomes is to educate people about their coverage. Sen Berglin gave the example of Minnesotans with diabetic family members that have lost their vision or become an amputee – they expect these outcomes but that shouldn’t be the case. Education and outreach can help change lives and health of Minnesotans.
A survey last month by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that a quarter of the people who responded had skipped seeing the doctor as a result of economic uncertainty and higher out-of-pocket costs. About one in eight said they’d significantly reduced their health care spending. … The trend is fattening the profits of health insurers. They set premiums this year on the theory that Americans who put off care during the worst of the recession would return to more normal patterns. But increased deductibles and other insurance provisions that require people to sometimes still pay thousands for procedures is depressing the use of medical services.
With the continued budget battle, many legislators may be looking to gut MNCare all together. While this may seem like a viable option with the upcoming changes in Medicaid (increasing eligibility to 400% of poverty); those Minnesotans who were already eligible for MA, but not insured, will not be covered by the increase in federal funds. Federal funds also won’t cover dental insurance. There are over 20,000 emergency room visits every year due to dental pain. Sen Berglin recalled one MN man who waited so long to get care that, once he did, doctors had to operate on his jaw, face, neck and shoulder to remove the infected tissue. This ran at a cost of $35K. Berglin suggests that MN Care funding be continued to include dental coverage that would save MN money in the long run. Continuing to fund MN Care is critical to for portion of health insurance not funded through federal dollars.
What the budget framework compromise really was is pretty simple. It was an agreement between Dayton and the GOP leadership that major disagreements between the parties that resulted in the Minnesota state shutdown could not be resolved by the current parties and that both side would have to kick the can down the road and let future state governments resolve the remaining ideological disputes, if the state government was to be restarted. I did not think Koch especially was capable of it and it looks like she will have more than just a little trouble selling that to her Senate caucus.
More in Extended Text. That is not being sold very efficiently to the rank and file of the legislators in either party. Once the shutdown occurred neither side seems to release what their leaderships came to understand that resuming the function of the state government has to equally trump both ideological positions. The requirements of the budget negotiations have taken on a new and much more important function right now. What the budget framework agreement did more than anything is to recognize that there are irreconcilable differences that must now be set aside for the good of all Minnesotans. They realized they couldn’t bridge the gaps so they deferred the issues.
At this point if the GOP cannot muster the necessary votes to flesh out the agreement, the DFL has to step in and make up the difference, despite the hard feelings left over from being totally shut out during the formal legislative session. Ideology and hurt feelings are things we cannot afford at this point, not from either side.
We have come to the point that ideological conflict has to be pushed into the future in favor of a hard nosed, practical, immediate fix, one that nobody is going to like very well, one that is possible without compromising future ideology, which is the big can that must be kicked down the road at this point.
The state government must be restarted as soon as absolutely possible. That should now be the bottom line for the entire state government. The DFL must not sit this process out, because some of the stupider IRs will and that will only extend this emergency. The DFL can cut those idiots out of the process, but it must not just sit back and let this continue to bleed out. If the DFL can work out a way to reach across the aisle to those it can work with, that may well provide huge dividends in the future. Many of those most hard nosed only squeaked into office in the first place, and there are more moderate IRs that need all the encouragement they can get to put up a functional state government again. They have to have some reason to come out of the closet.
The State House has passed a bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $9.50/hour and index it to inflation so $9.50 in today's dollars is worth an equivalent amount in next year's. The State Senate is dragging its feet, insisting on legislator pay raises *first*. Tell them to get off the sidelines, stop dragging their feet, and help raise up the working poor!