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DFL state convention live blog

by Eric Ferguson on June 1, 2014 · 9 comments

I’m at the DFL state convention, and I’ll be live blogging it, which means I’ll be posting updates below. The video above is an introduction similar to this, just for kicks. Feel free to subscribe to my channel. I may post video updates if opportunity arises, but I’ll generally be where people are trying to talk or people are trying to hear, so no promises, but I’ll see if I can show some of what goes on at a convention. Otherwise I’ll be posting what’s happening, maybe with an opinion since I’m allowed to do that. It’s a blog you know, and I’m not pretending to be a reporter or to be without biases. Jump to a preview of what’s going to happen.
Late Saturday update: The Saturday portion of this live blog got very long and made the front page a long scroll, and there are other posts worth reading. So I’m putting the “read more” below this paragraph, and the time stamped updates start on the jump. As expected, life required my presence at home, but I plan to live blog Sunday too, if I can get The Uptake’s stream working for me (quickie update: it worked). I suppose it depends on traffic, but I should have a better connection anyway. The mining resolution is expected to be the controversial part of the platform debates. Guess we’ll watch and see. Some things, like the constitution changes, might be inside baseball, but leave a question in the comments and I’ll try to answer.


Gary Anderson in MN 7A race

by Dan Burns on January 14, 2014 · 0 comments

1392826_10202132816992182_1886354101_nGary Anderson, a DFLer, is an activist who was closely involved in defeating Minnesota’s proposed marriage discrimination amendment in 2012. He has a campaign website.

I care about PEOPLE (living & learning & loving). I care about the PLANET (that gives us life). I care about our businesses making (sustainable) PROFIT. Working together – we can make Minnesota work for all of us.
Ever since I worked in the woods with my dad and brothers I have known when to collaborate and when to stand strong to get things done. I believe I can be a strong voice for district 7A, to make our needs heard in St Paul. I have been a retail manager, a small-business owner, a UPS driver, a wellness educator, and an organizer. Because of my varied experience, I can identify with the diversity of my friends and neighbors. As a leader in the movement to legalize marriage for same-sex couples, I listened to thousands of Duluthians on their doorsteps and on their phones. I know the issues that are most important to our community and I am committed to creating policies that work for all Minnesotans.


Chip, you sure talk a good game about supporting Duluth, but your dismal record says otherwise. You care about Duluth? Who’s Kidding Who, Chip?

You refused to open an office or even hold a town meeting in Duluth until you were publicly shamed to do so.

So much for constituent service.

You opposed investing $20 million of Federal Stimulus in a new airport terminal to keep Duluth competitive in the aviation market

It’s being built in spite of you.

You opposed investing $16 million in Federal Stimulus funds for Duluth’s Intermodal Center- a project that creates construction jobs and will make Duluth a model transportation center.

Thanks Chip.

You opposed a $6 million investment in stormwater/wastewater overflow holding facilities that created construction jobs, and protected Lake Superior during this summer’s huge storm.

Thanks Again Chip.

You tried to undermine the rescue of Cirrus Aviation by a Chinese investor, then wouldn’t tell the public that the U.S. Treasury found no fault, no risk to national or economic security from the transaction, which has saved aircraft production jobs in Duluth.

Cirrus survived, no thanks to you.

Chip, it’s time to stop kidding around and tell the people of Duluth exactly what you think of them. Who’s Kidding Who Chip? You don’t care about Duluth!

Cross posted from Iron Country Free Press


Back in August, the Koch Brothers promised that the company they own, Georgia Pacific, would close a plant in Duluth, MN. 141 people lost their jobs. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN/NH) was either in Washington, DC or New Hampshire and didn’t know about it. Or possibly the $2,500 he received from the Koch Brothers made him forget or ignore this plant closing.

Regardless of where Cravaack actually was, all we’ll be able to do is guess as Cravaack wouldn’t return emails or phone calls from community leaders and his constituents about the plant closing.

I’ve documented the great lengths Cravaack goes to to guarantee he never speaks with anyone with whom he disagrees. But the bottom line, is Cravaack doesn’t respond to constituents unless they are Republicans.

“When we lost 141 jobs here, our congressman was nowhere to be found,” said his DFL opponent Rick Nolan. “Chip Cravaack has been all show and no go – when the working men and women in this district are looking for a champion to fight for their jobs – he’s no where to be found.”

“And now the Koch brothers are spending millions to protect Chip Cravaack and others because they know he will always be a vote for their interests, not the working men and women who rely on these jobs,” Nolan continued.

“These manufacturing jobs that we lost are in the heart of our city,” said Duluth City Council Member Sharla Gardner. “The 3rd district is the oldest part and the original part of Duluth, so what happens here impacts the entire city.  Manufacturing jobs are an essential part of the job diversity here.  We have the best workforce in the country here in the city of Duluth.  Where is Congressman Cravaack and where does he stand on the loss of these jobs?  We haven’t heard from him.”

“We are very disappointed that Congressman Cravaack has done nothing we know of to fight for these jobs,” stated Dan O’Neil, AFL-CIO Central Labor Council President.  “I know if Rick Nolan was our congressman he would have been here fighting for these jobs they day that he knew they were closing.”


Tea Party still loves Cravaack

by The Big E on September 27, 2012 · 0 comments

… but Cravaack trying to hide his love …

The Tea Party Express rolled into Duluth, MN yesterday. But Tea Party Republican Chip Cravaack was nowhere to be found. After riding the Tea Party wave into Congress, Cravaack is staying away from such gatherings — he is trying to convince everyone he’s a moderate.

But teabaggers are convinced he’s got their back.

About 60 people listened to speeches and waved signs. Numbers are way, way down at Tea Party rallies as the movement has been taken over by corporate entities like the Tea Party Express. The movement is so grassroots that nobody was allowed to bring their own signs, apparently, as their inability to spell often provides unintended comedy.

Cravaack is in the midst of a difficult reelection campaign. Moving to New Hampshire, never holding a promised free town-hall style meeting open to everyone in Duluth and supporting Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare haven’t helped.

The higher turnout of a presidential year just might be his downfall.


Will Chip Cravaack attend Tea Party rally?

by The Big E on September 25, 2012 · 0 comments

Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN/NH) rode into office as a Tea Party Republican. Proudly even. Now that he’s running for his first reelection, he’s trying to portray himself as a moderate.

Tomorrow, the Tea Party Express will roll through Duluth, MN.

Tuesday, September 25th
6:00 – 7:30 PM

Rally Location:
Bayfront Park Parking Lot
S. 5th Avenue West & Railroad Street
Duluth, MN 55802

Will Cravaack attend? Or will he dump “them that brought him?”


Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN/NH) avoids meeting any left-leaning constituents at all costs. He rarely gives advance notice of free, public meetings. He schedules them in the day so people with day jobs are less likely to attend. He holds them in tiny towns away from large concentrations of Democrats.

He has only held a single public event in Duluth, MN during his entire tenure. That was August 23, 2011. He only held the meeting because of intense pressure. When confronted this June, Cravaack said he had something special planned for Duluth.

Cravaack’s liberal constituents want to meet with him and realize how hard they’ll have to work to get his attention. So he is taking more and more severe measures to never, ever meet with them. As I wrote about last week, he called police to remove several quiet, non-confrontational constituents seeking a meeting.

Yesterday, constituents found out he was having a non-public event in Duluth. So they showed up to ask Cravaack when he would hold any well-publicized, free event in a large city (Duluth, maybe?) during the evening.

And what did Cravaack do? He turned his back on his constituents and had his staff call the cops.

“We came here peacefully and never showed a single act of aggression. Rep. Cravaack had his people call the police almost immediately,” said Emily Cusick. “All we wanted to do was ask him for a town hall that he promised almost two months ago, and instead, he turns his back to us and calls the police.”

Pictures below the fold.


Campaign Responds to Clark’s Call for Future FEMA Funding by Touting A Record Including Multiple Votes to Cut FEMA

Full Disclosure- I am a staffer with the Tarryl Clark Campaign

(Duluth, MN) – Last Thursday, after praising the recovery efforts under way in Duluth, Tarryl Clark called on Congressman Chip Cravaack to pledge to vote to fully fund disaster relief in the future.

Cravaack has voted at least three times to reduce disaster relief, including his 2011 vote to slash $1.49 billion in FEMA funding and his vote just days before the disaster against a measure designed to improve disaster response.

“The fact is, Congressman Cravaack has consistently voted against protecting individuals after floods and disasters. While Congressman Cravaack has said he will help Duluth seek federal assistance after the flood, he has repeatedly voted to cut funding for exactly the type of disaster relief that Duluth residents and business owners need so desperately,” said Clark on Thursday.

In response, Cravaack’s campaign told Duluth’s WDIO Eyewitness News he voted against his party three times in favor of disaster aid funding.

“It is disconcerting that we have a Congressman who thinks he should be applauded for putting the needs of the people in his district ahead of his partisan agenda half of the time he votes,” said Clark in response.

In a later statement to the Duluth News Tribune, Cravaack’s campaign said that the February 2011 vote was for cuts to FEMA that would have sent that money to military personnel and veterans benefits.

“Congressman Cravaack is trying to set up a false choice between the families and communities in northeast Minnesota, who are recovering from this flood, and our service members, veterans, and their families, while he is out pushing to extend and increase massive tax cuts for those making over a million dollars a year,” Clark continued. “It’s alarming that Congressman Cravaack continues to put millionaires’ tax breaks ahead of disaster relief that will assure that our communities get back to business as soon as possible.”

Tarryl Clark continues to campaign throughout Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District to unseat Freshman Tea Party Congressman Chip Cravaack. Tarryl was born in Norfolk, VA while her dad served in the U.S. Navy. She and her husband Doug raised their two sons in central Minnesota. Tarryl has worked and volunteered throughout central and northeastern Minnesota over the last 24 years including as a high school youth minister, founding director of central MN Habitat for Humanity, nonprofit senior citizen attorney, executive director of MN’s Community Action Partnership, legislative leader, and most recently as national co-chair of the Jobs21! Campaign for the BlueGreen Alliance which brought her to Duluth in early 2011.


Record breaking has become the new normal for our weather and our climate.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said, “There is nothing firefighters could do when you get this kind of weather.” Surveying the fires from air on Tuesday, the governor was stunned. “It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine. It’s almost surreal. You look at that, and it’s like nothing I’ve seen before.”


And if not for rain, we too would be on fire like Colorado.

This is living in climate change.
And maybe we are lucky that we get the rain version of this instead of the fire version, even though that is also devastating.

Engineers planned the storm water system to handle a 100-year storm, a common practice for cities around the country. But last week’s deluge was a 500-year storm, Duluth’s chief engineer Eric Shaffer said. “This was a huge storm,” he said. “We would never be able to handle this storm, we would never design for such a huge magnitude of rain because it’s not something that’s going to happen often enough to justify the extra cost.”


This extreme events are backed up by consistent recorded temperatures and changes.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the ClimateWorks Foundation…”Higher spring and summer temperatures, along with an earlier spring melt, are also the primary factors driving the increasing frequency of large wildfires and lengthening the fire season in the western U.S. over recent decades.



First it was Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty refusing to sign any bill that adequately funded education in Minnesota. Now its the Republican-controlled legislature. They went so far last session as to steal the money they’d already promised, but they renamed the theft a “shift.”

The bottom line is our education system has been slashed year after year. Its like a diet plan that has resulted in limb amputations.

We see the effects of the chronic underfunding of our education system each election year. School districts put levies on the ballot not to pay for a new facilities but to cover basic operating costs. The Duluth School Board wants to keep classroom sizes down so their kids get a better education.

The Duluth School Board will move ahead with plans to ask taxpayers for more money for classroom operations next fall.

Superintendent Bill Gronseth said 85 percent of Minnesota school districts have declining enrollment, and this year’s $50 per pupil increase from the state was mostly canceled by the expiration of a $39 state levy to taxpayers.
(Duluth News Tribune)