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2018 DFL State Convention Day 2

by Eric Ferguson on June 2, 2018 · 7 comments

Yesterday’s live blog got really long, so I decided to start a fresh post for today. See yesterday for an intro to what a live blog is, disclosure of biases, yesterday’s events, and I’m unlikely to explain procedural stuff or regurgitate opinions explained in yesterday’s live blog.
If you want to watch the live stream, go to The Uptake web site. If you want to glance over at the MNGOP convention also going this weekend, go here.
Today is governor and attorney general. My wife snapped a photo of the Matt Pelikan pelican in the concourse outside the convention hall. That’s fun.
Pelikan pelican from outside DFL state convention
The convention has reconvened. Lots of delegates missed yesterday, unsurprisingly since governor is the big attraction, so rules and procedures are being explained again. The noise level on the floor is more obvious here than watching on the live stream. So if you’re streaming, feel smug that you can hear better than people here. Though those of us here can hear the videos since we’re not under Youtube’s thumb. So there.


DFL State Convention Live Blog

by Eric Ferguson on May 31, 2018 · 3 comments

The DFL state convention starts tomorrow (or today if you’re reading this on June 1). A “live blog” means that I’ll be blogging about it as it happens rather than writing up something later. I’ll be explaining what’s going on, and maybe opining on some things. We’ll see what provokes me to opinionating. The current plan is to watch the livestream on The Uptake Friday, which obviously you can watch yourself and I’ll post a link so you can do that. Saturday, I’m hoping to be there watching in person, so hopefully I’ll pick up some stuff that’s not apparent on the livestream. Sunday will likely be another livestream day. Yes, I maybe could have gotten a hotel if I hadn’t been so cheap and tried to reserve a room early enough and blah de blah. Fortunately I live in daytripping distance.

Convening time Friday is 4. The rest of the schedule I assume will be adjusted according to circumstances. The proposed agenda is posted here. Emphasis on proposed, since delegates can move to change the agenda when the rules and agenda are debated, and you never know for sure what will be proposed and what will pass. I’ve run some conventions as a local party chair, and worked on some as a committee member or with a campaign, and can attest that unexpected changes get made. I’ll spare you the “expect the unexpected” cliche — except I guess I just didn’t. You should have expected that. What you can expect is I will explain some of the “what on earth are they talking about” parts that conventions have.
Probably, you care more about the state office endorsements and not committee reports or party office elections or rules debates. So, according to the proposed agenda, Friday will see the endorsements for the US Senate seats and Secretary of State. Attorney General and Governor are scheduled for Saturday, and Auditor is scheduled for Sunday.
Actual updates and reportage start below. Keep refreshing during the convention for updates. If you’re curious about the 2014 or 2016 convention, check out those live blogs. See if you can catch me griping the same gripes (yes, you can).



A Muslim Guy and a Jewish Guy talk about things.

by JeffStrate on February 21, 2016 · 0 comments

The current edition of Democratic Visions considers two distinct themes: Islamaphobia and Minnesota’s candidate selection and voting processes.  Minnetonka-based commentator and TV host Ahmed Tharwart and St. Louis Park DFL activist Michael Hindin discuss the similar dynamics of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic currents in America.
The three of us had gathered in December for chai and chat at Common Roots Café.  At the suggestion, reportedly, of a Somali customer, the Uptown area deli had recently posted a window sign that quietly confirms that, “hate has no business here … we stand with our MUSLIM COMMUNITY MEMBERS … we stand with REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS in our community … ALL ARE WELCOME HERE … “

Common Rootes Cafe sign

This sign began greeting customers of Common Roots Cafe in December 2015.

A Channel 11 news crew was grabbing sound bites and diner/customer shots when I arrived. The story about the sign and reaction to it made the six o’clock.  The copies of the sign had begun to show up at other Twin Cities restaurants and businesses and were going nation wide thanks to the website of Main Street Alliance, a network of small businesses.   City Pages and MSNBC reports helped give the sign trend momentum.
Common Roots restaurateurs Elana and Danny Schwartzmann say that the signs are a signal to all minorities that they are welcome in these places.


Steve Simon on Democratic Visions

by JeffStrate on January 24, 2016 · 0 comments

Steve Simon at Democratic Visions

MN Secretary of State Steve Simon with Democratic Visions host Tim O’Brien

As the second year begins of Steve Simon’s tenure as Minnesota’s Secretary of State, he shares his perspectives about voting in Minnesota, elections and several non-political services provided by his office on the January edition of Democratic Visions. Safe at Home, for example, is a program that provides safe and anonymous email, postal and residential addresses for victims of domestic violence and victims of stalking who continue to fear for their safety.
Democratic Visions host Tim O’Brien and Simon also weigh in on a U.S. Supreme Court Case (Evenwel vs. Abbott) which could soon reject the “one person one vote” principle that has long been applied in the drawing-up of congressional and state legislative districts.  If the principle is rejected, millions of urban voters will be under represented.
But O’Brien and Simon mostly consider voting reforms and challenges in Minnesota; a state which year in and year out boasts one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation.A segment of President Barack Obama’s emotional, January 5th announcement of executive orders intended to make it difficult for risky people to acquire guns rounds out the program.
Democratic Visions is a community access program produced by volunteers at the Bloomington Community Access TV studio by arrangement with Southwest Community Television.  Democratic Visions is not funded, endorsed or supported by any political party, campaign, political action committee or guest.
This program is on YouTube here.
Democratic Visions Cable TV Schedule –

EP, Mtka, Edina, Hopkins, Richfield, Comcast Channel 15 — Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m., Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Bloomington – BCAT Channel 16 — Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.

Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 — Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. Program is streamed at the MTN website during cablecasts.

Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Channel 15 — Fridays 8 a.m.,Saturdays 6:00 a.m., 10,30 a.m.,10:30 p.m.

Segments and full half hours of Democratic Visions are archived on YouTube –



Hopkins City Council member Cheryl Youakim announces today that she’ll run for the DFL endorsement for the 46B State House seat, covering Hopkins and St. Louis Park. The southwest metro seat is currently held by fellow DFLer Steve Simon, who is running for Secretary of State (conditional endorsements ftw!)


I think Youakim has the potential to clear what might otherwise be a crowded field.(Eric Margolis is also running; I had completely forgotten that he was already in the race!) 46B is a fairly safe DFL seat, and the party’s bench in these cities is fairly deep, but Youakim has a long resume of work in non-profit education advocacy and in the political realm, having worked for several years at the State Capitol. For a technically suburban seat, this should be a great opportunity to wrap up any intramural contests early and concentrate on cranking up progressive issue ID and GOTV efforts throughout next year’s election season. The seat was previously held by Steve Kelley, who later moved on to the State Senate and an unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 2006, and who is now chairing Youakim’s campaign.


Full text of Youakim’s announcement can be found under the break.




Steve Simon for Minnesota Secretary of State

by The Big E on December 3, 2013 · 4 comments

Lives in St. Louis Park
Tufts University (Political Science)
University of Minnesota Law School
Wife and kid
Legislator since 2004
Chair of House Elections Committee
Assistant Majority Leader under Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Treasurer of DFL House Caucus
“I’ve been in the trenches fighting for voting rights for years,” said Rep. Steve Simon. “The heart and soul of the Secretary of State’s job is protecting voting rights.”
“When I had my first debate with Mary Kiffmeyer (current State Senator, former MN Secretary of State) over the so-called “Voter ID” constitutional amendment, it was going to pass with 70% support,” Simon continued. “But as we talked about the amendment, we got people thinking. In the end the support was a mile wide but an inch deep.”
“Just like the marriage amendment, we went from being on the defensive to winning to going on the offensive,” he said. “If I never accomplish anything else, on my tombstone, it could read ‘he passed the No Excuses Absentee Voting law.’ I really think that voting at your kitchen table is that much of a step forward.”
The DFL-controlled legislature passed a bi-partisan No Excuses Absentee Voting bill. Gov. Dayton has set a requirement that he’ll only sign election bills that have bi-partisan support. Simon was the bill’s chief author.
“We dodged a bullet,” Simon explained returning to the so-called “Voter ID” amendment. “Most conservative states passed laws instituting their restrictive Voter ID requirements. But we would have been forced to pass the harshest laws in the country. No exceptions. For example, there was no exception for people living in assisted living. Even the conservative states’ laws allowed for assisted living exceptions. We were going to write it in permanent ink.”


Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) perfectly summed up all Republican constitutional amendment ballot measures last Thursday. Whether a gay marriage ban, balanced budget, anti-union “Right-To-Work“, “Repeal-Obamacare-in-MN” or a “Right-to-Arm-Bears” constitutional amendment, Simon nails it. He was talking specifically about the Photo ID amendment, but they are all about enshrining simple policy differences into our constitution:

Even conservative states with conservative legislators, thoughtful, serious people like we have here, who are trying to do something they feel strongly about, even they showed the self-discipline and the self-restraint not to put a simple policy preference in the constitution.

That’s not what we’re seeing here. We are seeing really the opposite of conservatism. The opposite of self-discipline, of self-restraint and of not doing what feels good. What we are seeing here is constitutionalizing policy differences. And by doing that we are, basically, writing in permanent ink.

Simon notes that the only other state to have a constitutional amendment to mandate Voter ID is Mississippi.

Not only do Republicans want MN to have the same economy as Mississippi, they want us to have the same voting system. When we’re as bad off as folks in Mississippi, then we’ll all have unlimited liberty and freedom … or something.

We does our constitution need to reflect the same far right policies that make Mississippi one of the poorest states and one of the strongest Republican states in the country?

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Hornstein and Simon on Allen West’s nazi gaffe

by The Big E on December 16, 2011 · 0 comments

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) has become notorious for making some really, truly horrific statements. He’s at it again. He can’t help himself, if a reporter sticks a mic in his face and asks a question, he unleashes.

In an interview with several reporters today, the Florida Republican blamed Democratic messaging for a recent poll that showed Americans blame the GOP more for Capitol Hill gridlock.

“If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine,” he said, according to the Washington Post. Goebbels was minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany.

This was not the first Nazi reference for West, who at times seems to be the Congressional example of Godwin’s law, an Internet adage that says that any conversation will eventually end with a reference to Adolf Hitler.
(Roll Call)

Minnesota Reps. Franken Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) and Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) released the following statement:

Sometimes, even in politics, someone says something in public that is so hurtful and offensive that it takes your breath away.  That just happened today, when we heard Congressman Allen West’s comparison of the Democratic Party to Nazis.  His specific comment, that infamous Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels would be “proud” of Democrats, is an outrage.  It diminishes Congressman West, it diminishes the political debate in our country, and it diminishes those who suffered at the hand of the Nazis.  The real-life Josef Goebbels aided and abetted the most most monstrous crimes in human history; the systematic slaughter of millions of people.  To attach the name of someone so evil to political opponents, even when you disagree with them, is shameful and irresponsible.  Congressman West owes an apology to all Americans, not just Democrats or Jews, for further poisoning our politics with mean-spirited comparisons.  We call on him to apologize, and we call on public figures everywhere to stop using Nazi analogies that cheapen the suffering of real people.


Steve Simon Endorses Brian Barnes In MN-03

by TwoPuttTommy on November 15, 2011 · 0 comments

 Last weekend, Brian hosted a One Day United For All House Party to defeat the ugly, hateful and bigoted marriage discrimination constitutional amendment GOPers stuck on the ballot next November.  

Today State Rep Steve Simon endorsed Brian Barnes to defeat Erik Paulsen for Congress in Minnesota’s 3rd District.  This is a BIG endorsement for several reasons – and one has to do with equal rights/equality under the law, which is why I started this post reminding about that House Party hosted by Brian a week ago.

Steve Simon made national news for his comments about the GOP’s bigoted constitutional amendment – the YouTube of those comments is currently over 540,000 views.  Let’s look!!

Erik Paulsen tries to avoid news about where he stands on the issues – especially this one.  But he’s not afraid to go behind closed doors to take a “Friend of the Family” “award” not too long ago from Jack Abramoff’s old pal, Ralph Reed.

Let’s be clear on where Paulsen stands — he’s a “friend” of SOME families, and NOT those families with LBGT family members.

The contrast cannot be clearer:  Brian Barnes and Steve Simon standing for ALL families; Erik Paulsen and Ralph Reed standing for SOME families.

Compete text of Rep Steve Simon’s endorsement letter below the fold.
# # #

Dear Friends,

It’s a great honor for me to write to you today about my friend Brian Barnes, who’s running for Congress against Republican Erik Paulsen.

Brian’s a great Democrat. He’s someone I’ve always been able to count on and he’s always been there for our party. In good times and bad, Brian has stood with Democrats throughout the West Metro.

He’s also a great progressive. While Washington Republicans do their best to roll back half a century of progress, Brian hasn’t backed away from standing up for the values that make America great.

You can trust Brian to stand up for the Middle Class, for marriage equality, and for a tax code that rewards hard work instead of those who can afford the best accountants.

Brian’s running a great campaign based on the issues that matter most.

He’s the best choice among the candidates running in the 3rd Congressional District.

Please visit Brian’s website today to find out how you can help.

Thanks for all you do. Together, Democrats will win in 2012.


State Rep. Steve Simon

Donate Now

# # #


Hatemongers respond to Steve Simon video

by The Big E on May 11, 2011 · 0 comments

As predictable as the sun rising in the morning, the right wing hatemongers have responded to Rep. Steve Simon’s viral video on tolerance.  Simon asked “”How many gays must God create before we accept that he wants them around?”  As of today, nearly 500,000 people have watched the vid.

So, obviously the right wing nutjobs felt obligated to respond and respond as only they know how:

“Give me a stinkin’ break. That is blasphemy, Mr. Simon,” said Bradlee Dean of You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. In response to Simon’s remarks saying he believes God created gays and lesbians, Dean compared LGBT people to thieves, liars, adulterers and fornicators.

He mocked the idea that homosexuality may be an innate quality. “‘Oh, I was born this way. I can’t help myself.’ Really? Then you belong in jail.”
(Minnesota Independent)

Dean also claimed that Simon violated his oath of office and should be removed from office.  In addition to Dean, Pat Roberton’s Christian Broadcasting Network and James White of the Alpha and Omega Ministries chimed in with their own rants.  White had this gem:

“Those that are evil generally don’t sound evil.”

Here’s a young right wing moron conflating homsexuality with rapists and child molesters and that by using Simon’s logic we must accept them, too:

I’m sure that more hate will being flowing from the right on this.