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Weird happenings with DFL Convention and Filings

by Eric Ferguson on June 6, 2018 · 1 comment

Pelikan pelican from outside DFL state conventionSo by now, you’ve likely had your head spinning from the news from the DFL side regarding who is running for what, and lots of candidates coming out of the woodwork to run for this and switch to that, and run for something when they were running for something else. It’s interesting, at least to a politics junkie, and you’re reading this web site, so…

 
You were likely looking at the governor race, and this involves that to be sure. You may not have been following closely enough to know the candidate filing period just closed, or you heard but didn’t care what that meant. The weirdness has a whole lot to do with that however. It all starts, however, with the race for state attorney general (AG). Yes, an office a lot of people haven’t even heard of.
 
…READ MORE

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This is what democracy (parades) look like

by Eric Ferguson on May 6, 2014 · 1 comment

“This is what democracy looks like” has become a classic chant, but I’m not much of a chanter. Maybe that’s why I pull out the camera. “Sorry, can’t chant, I’m recording!” My motives being whatever they are, I marched with a big bunch of DFLers in the May Day Parade in Minneapolis on Sunday and recorded bits of it. The campaigns of Keith Ellison, Mark Dayton, Al Franken, and Betsy Hodges were there, and several other candidates and elected officials will appear below. If you want to participate in grassroots politics, but you’re not comfortable knocking on strangers’ doors or making cold calls to people who may not want to talk to you, join some candidate you support at a parade. Even just being there, you help your candidate tell parade watchers that you’re asking for their vote and not taking it for granted, which hopefully was a message conveyed Sunday.
 

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DFL Monday Night Madness

by Eric Ferguson on November 7, 2012 · 0 comments

UPDATE: It’s 2:30 PM on election day, so if the speakers moved you to get fired up and ready to go, get going RIGHT NOW! Go to barackobama.com and plug in your zip code to search for the nearest location. GOTV will be going until the polls close.

This is video from the 2012 Monday Night Madness (in other years called Midnight Madness), which is a DFL election eve tradition. It’s rally of state and local elected officials and candidates with a large number of volunteers ready for a nighttime lit drop. Speakers included DFL state chair Ken Martin, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, State Sen. Scott Dibble, State House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, Rep. Keith Ellison, Sen. Al Franken, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. This took place at the Minneapolis United Labor Centre.

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I saw the tweet yesterday, about the circus “event” —  CD5 GOP Debate – and thought: “I am SO there!!!”

And so I am!  Due to the modern marvels of future posting, and widgets/gadgets, you can follow along as I “Live Tweet” all the fun and excitement of three GOPers on a stage, being fed questions by Bob “Big Hair” Davis!

If I run into any fellow bloggers there that want to Live Tweet also, we’ll see about getting a widget/gadget/whatever for them in here, too!

Tonight’s performers, vying for the right to take on Keith Ellison, include former Mpls City Council candidate Michael Katch, Lynne Torgerson, who wants a rematch to better her last election’s 3% of the vote, and some other guy I’ve never heard of:  Chris Fields, who is an honorably discharged veteran – a Marine.  He’s going to have to do some serious crazy to keep up with the other two!

@TwoPuttTommy
Congress role models? Fields: Paul Ryan & Newt Katch: Ron Paul. Torgerson: #Bachmann — straw poll now up! #MN #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
China? Fields: “OptOut of minimum wage can bring jobs back” Katch: factory jobs ARE coming back from China Torgerson: buy American #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Fields: I recently sat down with Arne Carlson, WI these days is no friend of Republicans…” scattered applause. #MN #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
sanctuary city ? to Katch; he goes with the Gingrich amnesty plan; Torgerson disagrees. #MN #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Torgerson calls DC Metro Transit “awesome” says we should tunnel or elevate light rail. Katch waffles “invest wisely” Fields: can’t afford
@TwoPuttTommy
All three #GOPers falling all over themselves in their support of Israel. #MN #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Withdraw from Iraq? Fields- today. Audience: applause. Katch – yes. Torgerson doesn’t get to answer. #MN #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Torgerson – doesn’t support invasion of Libya (yes, Libya) and shouldn’t have been involved in uprising. #MN #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Bail out Europe? Fields: no. Audience: applause. American banks? No x 3. #StribPol #GOP
@TwoPuttTommy
#Fed Reserve? Katch: eliminate it. Torgerson: waffle. Fields: Fed a revolving door w/WallStreet but also won’t eliminate #StribPol #GOP
@TwoPuttTommy
Fields – Boschwitz “honorary finance chair”, claims Wheelock Whitney & other big hitters behind him. #MN #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Katch – get rid of TSA; carry guns across state borders. Torgerson – TSA needed. Fields – privatize it & quit touching junk. #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Fields: #PellGrants are driving up the cost of #college” – trashes #OWS Would also vote to eliminate dept of education. #MN #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Davis: So gov’t makes investments? Katch: No, but it should. Is this guy GOPer/libertarian/RINO? Now wants to get rid of Energy&Ed #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
“everyone promises to go change D.C. but D.C. changes them – will it you?” Should ask Kline, Paulsen, etc… #mn #GOP CD5 #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Chris Fields promises to abide, Ketch says he’d run as IP candidate if endorsed; Torgerson won’t say what she do if not endorsed #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Lynne Torgerson campaign strategy? “Expose Keith Ellison” says it worked last cycle… Really? What she did get in % last cycle? #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
“Keith Ellison is an Islamacist!” – Lynne Torgeson gets into bashing right off the bat! “Ellison is Democrats weakest link” #GOP #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Torgerson claims she won a case at Supreme Court? MN #GOP CD5 debate #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
Bob Davis of @emmeranddavis introduces candidates at MN #GOP debate; Torgerson needs to work on her stump StribPol http://twitpic.com/7lughn
@TwoPuttTommy
Show getting started at MN #GOP debate; nose count over 50 #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
At the MN #GOP CD5 debate – let the show begin! #StribPol
@TwoPuttTommy
at the MN #GOP CD5 debate! Let the show begin!!!
@TwoPuttTommy
Interesting post about one o’ the #GOPers “debating” tonight at their CD5 event: http://2putt.it/vNlCen Keep it classy, Lady! #StribPol

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Dear CD 5 Friends:

This morning, I witnessed a shocking display of religious intolerance in the House Chamber.  The guest chaplain for today was Bradlee Dean, an Evangelical Republican.  As stated in a MPR News article, Dean is the pastor of Old Path Church of Minneapolis and founder of You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International Ministry.  Although he has been known to call for the execution of GLBT individuals, the GOP still allowed him to lead the House prayer this morning.  I would like to thank Representative Terry Morrow (DFL-Saint Peter) for addressing this injustice.  Click here to watch the “prayer” and read the full MPR News article.  http://minnesota.publicradio.o…
If you would like to know more about Mr. Dean, click here to hear his thoughts on the GLBT community: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

With the passage this week of several omnibus bills that are sure to be vetoed by the Governor, it seems as if the Republican majorities in the House and Senate are asking for a special session because they have been unable to get their work done.  They are aware of various shortcomings of these bills, yet have not made any efforts to compromise with Governor Dayton or the DFL.  The Governor will surely veto these bills as he has repeatedly articulated his legislative priorities to the Republican majority, and they do not include defending special interests and protecting the wealthy from paying their fair share.  With so little time remaining in the legislative session, it will be nearly impossible for these omnibus bills to be reworked into something Governor Dayton can sign.  

Due to the myriad of bad policies contained in the conference committee reports authored by the GOP, they have called session in the evening to avoid the public eye.  On Tuesday, we began session at 9 P.M. and finished at 6:30 A.M. on Wednesday morning.  Wednesday night’s session lasted until 2:30 A.M. Thursday.  It seems to me that because they are aware of how damaging these bills are to our state, they are attempting to hide this legislation from the people of Minnesota.

GOP Bill(s) of Week

The omnibus Transportation bill, House File 1140, slashes funding for our roads that are already in disrepair and our transit systems that have already been forced to make major cuts.  H.F. 1140 includes a $7.62 million reduction to Greater Minnesota transit.  

H.F. 1101, the omnibus Higher Education bill, also passed this week, and is detrimental to our state.  The University of Minnesota Law School is preparing for a loss of all state funding and could shortly become one of just a handful of public law schools in the country that receives no state aid.  The nonpartisan publication Session Daily reported that officials from the University of Minnesota schools and the Minnesota State Colleges and University systems stated that H.F. 1101 “funding levels are comparable to those from 1998 while they are serving approximately 40,000 more students. They say the cuts would lead to hundreds of faculty layoffs, thousands of reduced course offerings, program closures, millions of dollars in lost research opportunities and would hurt Minnesota’s competitiveness in future years because of fewer qualified workers.”  This means fewer jobs for Minnesotans, an erosion of our comparative advantage in education, increased financial burdens on our students, and hindering one of our state’s best engines for economic growth. Click here to read the Session Daily story:http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/sessiondaily.asp?storyid=2753

The State Government Finance bill, H.F. 577, was re-passed early Thursday morning. Despite the fact that our state government already has fewer employees today than ten years ago, a provision in this legislation would require that the total number of state employees be reduced 15 percent by 2015.  This means unemployment for hard working Minnesotans.  Because of the Republican attack on public workers, the GOP stopped allowing public testimony from department commissioners to discuss how damaging these cuts are to the ability of departments to serve Minnesotans.  

In the Health and Human Services omnibus bill, H.F. 927, the GOP continues their war on our state’s most vulnerable communities in order to protect the wealthy.  This legislation kicks 138,000 Minnesotans off insurance because of the repeal of Early Medicaid and the transition of the voucher plan laid out in this in H.F. 927.  Several studies on this bill indicate that the real number of uninsured could actually be 150,000.  H.F. 927 also cuts General Assistance (GA), a program designed to help individuals who are unable to work due to an illness or disabilities.  GA pays up to $203 dollars a month to people who are often homeless or waiting for approval for Social Security. This small sum is not enough for people to meet their basic needs and cutting the little assistance we are able to provide them so that the wealthiest Minnesotans do not have to pay the same proportion of taxes as the middle class is unconscionable.  Not even passing this bill at 2:30 in the morning can mask its damaging impact on Minnesotans.

I apologize for the gloomy tone of this update, but it disheartening to continuously see political ideology come before good policy.  As always, thank you for your continued support during this difficult legislative session.  My DFL colleagues and I are prepared to stand with Governor Dayton to ensure that we are doing what is best for our state, despite the uphill nature of our challenges.

My Best,

Jeff  

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Hello CD 5 DFLers:

I was motivated by the story of South Minneapolis resident, Gabe Rodreick, who has been paralyzed for three years as the result of a diving accident. Gabe is a quadriplegic who works diligently to regain his ability to walk. Far too often, serious car accidents are caused by drunk, distracted, or reckless drivers. The careless actions of these individuals can often impact the lives of their innocent victims in tragic ways. I am the chief author of House File 1690; a bill that ensures bad drivers causing serious accidents will pay more to have their licenses restored. The additional fee will go directly to spinal cord research to provide restorative justice for victims. Click here to learn more about Gabe’s story: http://kstp.com/article/storie…


More Distractions, Still No Budget with 10 Days Left

In their continued efforts of the GOP to distract Minnesotans from our pressing fiscal issues, Representative Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) decided to offer a feminist argument as to why women should have no right to make decisions regarding their own bodies. While I am a strong supporter of women’s rights, abortion issues are not what we should be focusing on as we quickly approach the end of the legislative session. Click here to view Rep. Gruenhagen’s speech: http://www.plannedparenthoodad…

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans again put divisive social issues ahead of fixing the $5 billion deficit.  Senator Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) is the chief author of Senate File 1308, the bill that seeks to amend the Minnesota Constitution to ban same sex marriage.  I would like to commend the DFL Senators who proudly stood up for equality in the face of legislation that enshrines bigotry, hate, and discrimination into our constitution. I think Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) made an excellent point when he asked “What problem does this solve? What family is this helping? Not a single family in Minnesota is helped by this effort, but a lot of families will be hurt by this.” If you support equality for Minnesotans and want to see a balanced budget come before this issue, let Senator Limmer know at 651.296.2159 or sen.warren.limmer@senate.mn. Click here to view Senator Dibble’s remarks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?f…

GOP Bill(s) of the Week:

The assault on public schools by the Republican majorities in the House and Senate continues in their K-12 Education Bill, House File 934. The Education Conference Committee is comprised of only Republican legislators. It is no surprise public education in first class cities (Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth) has become a political target for the GOP as DFLers hold 41 out of the 42 seats for these areas in the House of Representatives. As the Star Tribune article on this bill reports, “Data compiled by the Governor’s office show the bill sends Minneapolis $174 less per pupil than projected costs for the fiscal year beginning July 2012. In St. Paul the difference is $145, while in Duluth it is $80.” Because our children are not Democrats or Republicans, we must invest in public education for all students in this state.  Click here for the full Star Tribune article: http://www.startribune.com/pol…

The joint House and Senate Health and Human Services Conference Committee, which consists of 10 Republicans and just 1 DFL member, issued their report, House File 2614. The total cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services total $1.7 billion.

Early estimates indicate that 200,000 people will lose health care under the plan detailed in HF 2614. This is enough to fill the Metrodome more than three times.  This loss of coverage will result in an increase in insurance premiums for middle class families.  Repeal of Early Medical Assistance (MA) provisions included in the report will lead to a loss of 20,000 private sector health care jobs and about 150,000 people losing coverage.  Specifically under the GOP Health Care Voucher Program, well over 2,000 people will lose coverage and force working Minnesotans into unaffordable, irresponsible high deductible health insurance plans that fails cover basic items such as labor and delivery costs.

The Childcare Delivery System (CCDS) the GOP creates to replace Early MA is unworkable and gravely underfunded; the old CCDS system provided about $10,000 per year per enrollee, the Republican CCDS’ offers just $933 per year.  The GOP cuts 5% — almost $14 million — from early childhood child care assistance rates.  Countless studies show that quality early childhood care is one of the best investments a state can make for its future; the GOP plan ignores these facts.  Another important consequence of cuts to CCDS and Early MA is that they will further widen the achievement gap between our minority students and their Caucasian peers.

The continued GOP attack on women’s rights is also included in this report. The bill eliminates family planning grants.  Furthermore, it bans doctors from advising patients about their constitutional rights by making any institution that makes referrals for abortion services ineligible for state grants. Again these are just “highlights” of this bill.

During this difficult legislative session, my DFL colleagues and I are thankful for your support and encouragement. Additionally, please continue to send me invitations in regards to events in our community. Have a great weekend and enjoy Minnesota’s fishing opener!

Sincerely,

Jeff

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Hello CD 5 Friends:

Where is the Budget? 15 Days and Counting…

As we are swiftly approaching the end of the legislative session, the Republicans still have not presented a balanced budget proposal.  An April 12th letter from Revenue Commissioner Myron Franz and Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter stated that nonpartisan fiscal research shows GOP “budget bills are out of balance by $1.203 billion in the House, and $1.164 billion in the Senate.”  

GOP’s Real Priority: Dividing Minnesotans on Social Issues
Instead of working with the Governor and DFL legislators to get Minnesota’s economy back on track and create more jobs in our state, Republicans have decided to turn their attention to divisive social issues.  Star Tribune columnist Lori Sturdevant does an excellent job discussing the budget stalling methods Republicans have been utilizing. In an article she writes: “The slowdown has the Capitol rife with rumors of internal discord within Republican caucuses, as Tea Party-inspired legislators resist compromise with the DFL governor.” Like legislative sessions of the past, we see GOP members putting ideology before doing what is best for Minnesotans. Click here to read Lori Sturdevant’s column.

By turning to controversial social issues to distract Minnesotans from their lack of a balanced budget, Republicans have sought to further marginalize certain populations. The voter identification bill (HF210) which has received a great deal of attention this session is one such example. Representative Kiffmeyer has led the charge in greatly exaggerating the degree of actual voter fraud that takes place in our state. If this bill is signed by the Governor, it will result in the disenfranchisement of many of our most vulnerable populations such as the elderly, students, low income individuals. Although Republicans are trying to force voter identification on Minnesotans, they will not provide free ID’s to Minnesotans who lack photo identification solely for voting purposes. As Representative Hortman mentioned yesterday on the House floor, requiring Minnesotans to pay for an ID necessary to vote is effectively a poll tax, which is in violation of the 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The “Shoot First” bill (HF1467) authored by Representative Cornish is another high profile bill that does nothing to solve our current budget crisis.  Minnesota already has the “Castle Doctrine” in place, which legally justifies individuals to use deadly force as a means of self defense in the event of a home invasion or other violent crime occurring on their property.  However, Representative Cornish wants to further loosen our gun restrictions over the objections of political officers, county attorneys, and countless others who have testified against this bill.

The Republican attack on the GLBT community is yet another distraction from our pressing fiscal issues and $5 billion deficit.  Because Minnesotans have elected a Governor who supports equality for all people regardless of their sexual orientation, GOP members of the House and Senate are pushing through bills that would call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage (HF1613).  In bringing a proposed constitutional amendment to the ballot, the legislature can bypass the Governor’s authority altogether.  The only purpose of this legislation is to enshrine discrimination into our Constitution.  I would like to commend Representative Simon for standing up to the GOP attacks and fighting for equality for all. Listen to his remarks here.

Cinco de Mayo Parade

Please join me at the Cinco de Mayo parade sponsored by the DFL Latino Caucus.  Senator Klobuchar, Congresswoman McCollum, and a great group of DFLers will be marching in the parade on Saturday May 7th.   The parade starts at 10 A.M. at Plato Blvd. and Wabasha St.  It ends at Ada St. and Cesar Chavez St.  Let’s hope for warmer weather than last week’s May Day parade.

I would like to continue to express my gratitude for your support of the work my DFL friends and I are doing at the Capitol.  Additionally, please continue to invite me to events in your community so I can speak with about what is really going on at the Capitol.  Have a great weekend!

My Best,

Jeff

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5th Congressional District Legislative Update

by Jeff Hayden on April 21, 2011 · 0 comments

Hello CD 5 Friends:

This week I have been enjoying spending extra time in my district as the legislature is on break for the Passover and Easter holidays.  When we return to work next Tuesday, we will hit the ground running to wrap up this session, as we have policy deadlines approaching on April 29th and May 6th.  The 2011 Legislative Session is set to conclude May 23rd, and I am hopeful that my GOP friends in the House and Senate will be ready to work together with Governor Dayton to prevent wasting taxpayer dollars on a special session.  Our Governor has already made great strides in cooperating with Republicans to develop solutions that work for all Minnesotans.

Education Town Hall with Commissioner Cassellius

Yesterday, several of my legislative colleagues were joined by Education Commissioner Dr. Brenda Cassellius at a Town Hall in Saint Paul to discuss the impacts of cuts to crucial integration funding for our first class cities.  Our guests Mayor Rybak, Minneapolis Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, Saint Paul Superintendent Valeria Silva, and school board members provided great insight into the challenges they face with shrinking budgets.  My colleagues and community partners greatly valued hearing input from students, teachers, and parents about the funding cuts to our schools.  Nearly 200 community members attended the Town Hall which is a clear indicator of the widespread concern for what is happening in our public schools.

As Minneapolis Superidentent Bernadeia Johnson proudly stated, “our children are speaking over 90 different languages throughout the school district.”  Clearly we must celebrate and embrace the growing diversity of the Metro.  Additionally, we must demand that all children, regardless of their ethnic background, receive a first rate education from our public schools. As if we needed another incentive to invest in education, research has consistently shown that good schools drive economic growth.

Upcoming Minneapolis Town Hall Meetings

As I mentioned in my last update, my fellow Minneapolis legislators and I will be holding Town Hall Meetings to discuss the budget.  The South Minneapolis Town Hall will be on Wednesday April 27th from 6 to 8 P.M. at the Sabathani Community Center (310 East 38th St # 200 Minneapolis 55409).  Please note that the Northeast Town Hall time has been changed from 10 A.M. to noon to 1:30 to 3:30 P.M. on Saturday April 30th. The Town Hall will still take place at the Logan Community Center (690 13th Avenue Northeast Minneapolis 55413).

Thank you to my constituents who have written, emailed, and called me this session to share their views on legislative issues.  I greatly value your opinions and it helps me to be a better representative of our district.  Also, thank you for the invitations to community events and please continue to send them.  Hope you have a lovely Passover, Easter, and Earth Day!

My Best,

Jeff

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Hello CD 5 Friends:

I hope you got a chance to enjoy the sunshine last weekend! At the Capitol, we have been working hard on conference committees to reconcile bill differences between the House and Senate to be presented to Governor Dayton. At the beginning of this session, both parties were united on balancing the budget and putting Minnesotans back to work. However, as the session progresses, it is clear that the majority party is targeting divisive social issues and cutting jobs in both the public and private sectors.

Details the fold …
The House budget proposal authored by my GOP colleagues will not close our $5 billion deficit; it merely reduces it by $1.5 billion as stated in a recent Politics In Minnesota article. This will leave us with a $3.5 billion deficit in the 2014-2015 biennium. The Republicans have finally realized that balancing a statewide budget is impossible with cuts alone. However their caucus remains staunchly opposed to raising revenue to defend our standard of living. Yet when it comes to tax increases, the proposed Vikings stadium is a different story. Some Republicans favor setting aside funds for the construction of a new stadium for the privately owned, multi-billion dollar athletic franchise.  However, they are introducing and passing pieces of legislation that make it harder for us to adequately protect our schools, ensure quality healthcare to all Minnesotans, allow our most vulnerable citizens to live the quality of life they deserve. As evidenced in the GOP agenda, the new protected classes are the rich and corporate America.

The nonpartisan Public Services Information reported in Tuesday’s Session Daily that the “Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter and Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans, state that current [GOP majority] House and Senate budget proposals are out of balance by $1.2 billion and $1.16 billion, respectively.” Here is a link to the full story:
http://www.house.leg.state.mn….

This Thursday was Out Front Lobby Day. The father of the first openly gay soldier in the military, who was killed just six weeks ago in Afghanistan, shared his story and addressed the continued inequality of the LGBT community in the military, despite the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Governor Dayton was also on hand to deliver a speech in favor of equality for all Minnesotans. My fellow DFL legislators and I will continue fighting for LGBT rights and will work to prevent a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage that some members of the House and Senate Republican caucus are pushing for.

GOP Bill of the Week:

The Higher Education Omnibus Bill is an example of the prioritization of social issues above economic growth and scientific innovation. This bill includes provisions from House File 998, an act to prohibit stem cell research and ban human cloning. Because the University of Minnesota is a national leader in research and has been doing studies involving stem cells to discover cures for diabetes, regeneration of skin for burn victims, and numerous other life threatening diseases, Representative King Banaian (R- St. Cloud) felt it was appropriate to attach this bill to the Higher Education Omnibus bill. The exaggerated fears over human cloning will punish the University of Minnesota for their ground breaking innovation and hinder our ability to cure diseases. I feel this move will set Minnesota back as other states invest in new technologies to help their economies grow.

Minneapolis Budget Town Halls:
I would like to invite you to join my fellow DFL legislators and me for town hall meetings to discuss the state budget. We will be having a town hall meeting in South Minneapolis on Wednesday April 27th from 6 to 8 P.M. at the Sabathani Community Center (310 East 38th St # 200). Our Northeast town hall will take place on Saturday April 30th from 10 A.M. to 12 P.M. at the Logan (690 13th Avenue Northeast). I hope you can join us and share your views on ways we can balance the budget.

Again, thank you for the support you have shown me and my DFL colleagues during this session. Please continue to invite me to community events in the Fifth District so we can communicate with people what is really happening at the Capitol and let them know we are fighting for Minnesotans.

Sincerely,

Jeff

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Trying My Hand At Redistricting!

by tonyyarusso on March 18, 2011 · 2 comments

So, now that we have the census data saying how many people each congressional district needs to gain or lose, I took a shot at it and think I came up with something darn near workable.  Redistricting experts, let me know how close I came to something the courts would accept!  :)

First, the basic principles I tried to follow, based on what I’ve read about previous guidance from the courts:

  • Prefer contiguous, reasonable shaped districts
  • Avoid splitting counties & cities where possible
  • Value coherent regional / cultural groupings
  • St. Paul and Minneapolis must be in separate districts
  • The Iron Range / Arrowhead and Red River valley must be in separate districts
  • Minimize change from previous configuration
  • Impact on current incumbents is not a consideration, separate from principle of least change

Here’s what I came up with:


Full state map

And a Metro detail:


Zoomed in view of Twin Cities

Now, an explanation of my changes from the current configuration:

Currently CD4 includes all of Ramsey County and three tiny slivers of Washington and Dakota Counties, and needs to grow by 48,367 people.  It seemed immediately clear that any sensible solution was likely to include expansion into Washington County.  This makes sense from a grouping perspective now, as places like Mahtomedi, Oakdale, and Stillwater have taken on the feel of suburbs, rather than removed outposts separate from the Twin Cities.  I removed those existing bits from Washington and Dakota Counties, and instead extended CD4 eastward into Washinton County to the St. Croix River, using I-94 as the southern boundary, and basically just extending the northern border of Ramsey County on the north end.  (You could also use Wa. Co. Hwy. 10 and then either the railroad track south of Big Carnelian Lake or Square Lake Trail north of Big Carnelian Lake to the state border, to use a physical divider that follows basically the same line.)  That northern boundary within Washington County would be the leading contender for where fine-tuning adjustments should happen here.

For CD5, it’s currently Minneapolis proper and some stuff around it, including the weird dangling piece of Anoka County, and needs to grow by 46,509.  I accomplished this by keeping all of the existing areas, and simply extending the westernmost border north and south to the edges of Hennepin County.  Those northwest and southwest areas would be where fine-tuning would happen, just as in the previous arrangement.

For CD3, it’s currently the part of Hennepin County that’s not in CD5 and a bit of Anoka County, and needs to gain 12,806.  I did this by dropping the part in Anoka County and adding the entirety of Carver County.  Fine-tuning would primarily take place along the border with CD5, which in turn also allows you to move the split in Anoka County as needed.  If really necessary, an incursion into CD2’s territory in Scott County could be done, although that should be avoided if possible.

In CD2, it’s currently a bunch of counties along the southern side of the Twin Cities, and needs to lose 69,524.  I did this by first gaining the piece that was in CD4 in Dakota County and some of what was in CD6 in Washington County, and then losing all of Carver County to CD3.  The border with CD4 in either Ramsey or Washington County (but preferably not both) would be the fine-tuning line here.

CD1 is the strip along the southernmost part of the state, and needs to gain 18,204.  I did this by adding all of Sibley County (15k) and then the little piece of McCleod County that juts down into Sibley County, basically drawing a straight line across the top of Sibley County instead of its current U shape.  That division of McCleod County would be the fine-tuning line.

CD6 is currently serving the role of the one oddly shaped district that nobody knows quite how to group, encompassing the city of St. Cloud and various areas north of the Twin Cities, and needs to change the most, shedding 96,487.  St. Cloud complicates matters, as the court doesn’t like splitting up cities much, it’s the main population center for this district, and it also happens to straddle three separate counties.  Currently the border is a split down Stearns County.  I started trimming here with the stuff in Washington County, giving some to CD2 and some to CD4.  Once that was done I was able to cut off roughly the right amount more by moving the division of Stearns County eastward, such that it lined up with an extension of the western edge of Wright County, and just grazes the western city limits of St. Cloud.  This means that I was able to keep all of St. Cloud in one district, trim off some of the awkward sticking out bit of Stearns County, and make the district less sprawling by cutting off the south-central portions of Washington County, and still maintaining CD6 as a buffer between the Twin Cities districts of CD4 and CD5 and the Iron Range’s district, CD8 (because having those bordering directly would just be wrong).  The Washington County split with CD4 and the Stearns County split with CD7 are the obvious adjustment points here.

For CD7, that’s the northwestern district with the Red River valley, and needs to gain 37,479.  I did this by first losing a small number to CD1 in Sibley and McLeod Counties and to CD8 in Red Lake County, and then gaining the large chunk from CD6 in Stearns County.  Again, the adjustment points are in McLeod and Stearns Counties where there is a county split.

In CD8, it covers the northeastern part of the state, with the Iron Range and Arrowhead, and needs to gain 2,649.  it looked like I could get about the right number simply by gaining the rest of Red Lake County from CD7.  If this is too much, Red Lake County can remain split and only acquire part of it for CD8.

Here’s what it looks like overlayed on the current districts:


Comparison to current districts

Like I said at the beginning, the courts don’t consider protection of incumbents to be a valid value for drawing lines, but we can still analyze the impact of what I came up with.

First, Betty McCollom (D-4, St. Paul/Ramsey) and Keith Ellison (D-5, Minneapolis/Hennepin) are obviously still in their same districts.  Similarly, Erik Paulson (R-3, Eden Prairie/Hennepin) is still good – my line between CD5 and CD3 would be on Eden Prairie’s eastern border.  John Kline (R-2, Lakeville/Dakota) is also still in his district – we avoid some drama here by him not living in Carver County, which would have shoved him in with Paulson had it been the case.  But, he’s in Lakeville, so nothing to see here either.  Tim Walz (D-1, Mankato/Blue Earth) is smack in the middle of his district still as well.  Collin Peterson (D-7, Detroit Lakes/Becker) is also still safely in his district.  While he is on the southern edge of his, Chip Cravaack (R-8, Lindstrom/Chisago) is also still in his district, as it didn’t change there.

The one obvious exception here, and thing that may ruffle feathers about this map, is that Michele Bachmann (R-6, Stillwater/Washington) would NOT still be in her district.  As I alluded to earlier, this seems very difficult to avoid, so I suspect we’ll see a number of proposals that include this situation.  Frankly, it always was pretty strange to have Stillwater grouped in with St. Cloud, and CD6 has had a far less than ideal shape which will undoubtedly become more regular with any proposal that cuts off the almost 100,000 people it needs to lose.  My map then has Bachmann’s current residence in the same district as McCollum, and while Bachmann could challenge her there, I would consider that unlikely, as CD4 would likely remain safe for Democrats (although marginally less so than before), making it a long shot, and because Bachmann’s main support lies in the parts of CD6 far from Stillwater anyway.  The more likely scenario I think would be for Bachmann to move just a little ways north/northwest to still be able to run in the smaller district.  I’m sure she’s been thinking about this possibility for some time, as the likelihood of Stillwater being removed from CD6 in one manner or another has been quite apparent for some time.  (This is of course unless she ditches that idea altogether to focus on a presidential run.)

So, while incumbent protection is not supposed to be part of drawing districts, my plan still ended up keeping 7 out of 8 in their current districts, with the last one being rather unavoidable (and being more of a question of whether Stillwater would be joining CD4 or CD8).  The significance of this is that since we still have districts drawn by partisan figures in the legislature rather than a non-partisan panel, there’s a higher probability of this map being agreeable to many of the people trying to draw one.

I certainly do not know the precinct-by-precinct details, but in terms of political makeup I’ll try to hazard a few generalizations as well.

CD4 and CD5 both have to grow out away from the cities proper of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  This means they should become slightly less of a DFL stranglehold, but given how enormous DFL margins are in those districts currently don’t take that to mean they’ll suddenly be competitive – merely less not-competitive, if that makes sense.  CD3 is a Republican district gaining more Republican territory in Carver County, so I don’t expect it to get any more competitive.  CD2, like CD4 and CD5, likely will become closer to competitive, but not actually approaching toss-up territory.  The reason for this is that it’s losing solid Republican support to CD3, and gaining back pieces of CD4 and CD6 that are probably more Democractic-leaning than the district as a whole.  Sibley County appears to be a bit of a toss-up area, meaning things are likely to remain close in CD1, so at least we have one district that we can count on getting good show out of consistently.  CD6 I’m not sure I can quite predict.  It’s losing more Democratic-leaning voters in Stillwater, but also more Republican-leaning voters in central Stearns County, and in roughly similar numbers.  My suspicion is that this will remain solid Republican territory almost all the time, but there’s a chance that if the DFL put up a better campaign here than they’ve been doing in a year where there was a significant shift in their favor nationally they could take it for a term or two.  My map does not have CD8 making the drastic southerly incursions people have suggested it could do, since with a gain of 2,649 that’s just not necessary.  That means that it’s not going to suddenly become more conservative, so while Cravaack’s still there for now, I would suggest that he can expect a tough re-election campaign still.  CD7 is gaining Republican voters from CD6, strengthening the same story it’s been for a while – it’s probably still safely Democrat for now, but I’d expect it to flip once Collin Peterson retires.

Conclusion:

All in all, I’m feeling pretty happy with what I came up with.  I’m not sure if the world of partisan bickering would like something that was done only considering the simple math and cartography of it all, rather than weighing the political opportunities and risks, but hey – this is how it should be done.  Now, if there’s someone with a bit of spare time, I’d love to hear how close I came on the actual numbers, since I had to make a few somewhat educated guesses here and there.

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