MINNESOTA POLITICS: Gov hopefuls could affect session ... Nurses back Thissen ... DFL attacks ... moreMany predict that the Minnesota governor candidates in the Legislature, including House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher who more than anyone can affect the tone of the session, will want to get out early and hit the campaign trail. On the other hand, some Capitol insiders claim that the candidates will feel they can get more free publicity by filibustering at the Legislature, so the crowded race actually could prolong the session.
By: Don Davis, State Capitol Bureau
Governor candidates could affect session
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota 2010 governor’s race is unique.
For one thing, the race is gearing up big time now, while it still is just 2009. It depends on how you count, but there are about 20 Republican and Democratic candidates already in the race, and more are bound to belly up to the bar.
With half of the candidates serving in the Legislature, next year’s session is sure to be affected.
Many predict that the candidates, including House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher who more than anyone can affect the tone of the session, will want to get out early and hit the campaign trail.
On the other hand, some Capitol insiders claim that the candidates will feel they can get more free publicity by filibustering at the Legislature, so the crowded race actually could prolong the session.
Eleven candidates — eight whom are legislators — gathered for a rare forum involving candidates of both parties this past week, a forum that produced mostly small differences among candidates of each party.
Some tidbits from the Hunger Solutions Minnesota forum:
- GOP Sen. Michael Jungbauer said one of the problems that creates poor Minnesotans is the state puts too many requirements on building, or living in, a house. That makes homes too expensive for the poor, he said.
- DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said many Minnesotans are f alling through the safety net. “Unfortunately, to a lot of Minnesotans, the safety net looks like a basketball net.”
- Rep. Tom Rukavina said a big part of improving people’s lives would be raising the minimum wage as inflation goes up. He also emphasized educating Minnesotans as a way to allow them to earn more money.
- Former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton explained his decision not to abide by next April’s DFL convention endorsement and his plans to run in a primary election. “In a democracy, the people should decide.”
- Republican Leslie Davis may be a political outcast, but he came up with one of the best quotes. “You can’t pay debt with debt and get out of debt.”
Nurses for Thissen
The Minnesota Nurses Association has endorsed Rep. Paul Thissen for governor.
The president-elect of the 20,000-member organization said Democrat Thissen is a champion for registered nurses.
“From his work to make sure all children have health insurance to his advocacy of adequate R.N. staffing for patient safety, he exemplifies the characteristics we expect of a governor,” Linda Hamilton said.
DFL on attack
Minnesota Democrats are increasing their attacks on Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his apparent presidential bid.
Take, for instance, this statement from Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Brian Melendez:
“Gov. Pawlenty’s ever-changing relationship with Minnesotans reached a new level this week, going from part-time governor to stereotypical mother-in-law. I wish we could say that it was nice of him to drop by, but all we got from him before he headed back out of town was harsh criticism devoid of solutions and a rehashing of old issues. The governor’s inability to compromise and his unwillingness to stick around are just a few reasons why Minnesotans are facing the problems that he’s so fond of criticizing. Perhaps, the governor should clean up the mess in his own house before heading out to yet again worship at the feet of the right-wing elites.”
Each Wednesday that the U.S. Senate is in session, Sen. Al Franken hosts a brunch for Minnesotans who happen to be in Washington.
In a letter to supporters the other day, he praised the meal’s highlight: “Mahnomen porridge — a Minnesota treat made from wild rice. If you haven’t had it, trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing. So I’ll tell you — you’re missing something delicious.”
Earlier in the week, at a University of Minnesota stop, he said that he tries to serve healthy food at his weekly gatherings. But the porridge, well, it has syrup and cream, among other goodies, and Franken just licked his lips in a sign that appeared to say that the treat was there to stay.
Independence Party change?
One of the Minnesota Independence Party’s major beliefs is up for debate.
The party long has rejected political action committee money, the mainstay of many other campaigns. But on Nov. 21, party delegates will meet to decide whether to break with that tradition.
The party also will consider whether to continue endorse candidates of other parties.
Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.
Lawmakers from Minnesota and Wisconsin asked the states’ governors Thursday to “immediately resume negotiations” on a potentially doomed income tax reciprocity agreement.
In a joint letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, legislators said some 80,000 people who work across state lines will be affected if no agreement is reached.
Without a deal, workers with taxable income from the other state will have to file two tax returns, not one return as allowed under the decades-old agreement.
The Pawlenty administration said last month it would end the agreement because it could not negotiate to receive earlier tax reimbursement payments from Wisconsin. There are more Wisconsin residents working in Minnesota than Minnesotans in Wisconsin.
The lawmakers propose a two-part solution allowing the agreement to continue into 2010 with earlier reimbursement payments. They also suggest updating other parts of the agreement that have been sticking points in past negotiations.
“Working together on this issue will deliver far more long-term benefits than any gains associated with the agreement’s termination,” they wrote.
Minnesota state Sen. Kathy Saltzman of Woodbury and Wisconsin state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls drafted the letter, co-signed by 19 other lawmakers.
— Scott Wente
Woodbury (Minn.) Bulletin
Dem runs in 6th
One of two Democrats seeking to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off her campaign Saturday by saying that she’s a “made-in-Minnesota moderate.”
Dr. Maureen Reed held an event to open her campaign headquarters in Anoka. She’s touting her credentials as a physician, former university regent and head of a nonprofit.
“The support I have received from across the district and the state is truly humbling and gratifying,” she said. “When I’m in Washington, I will bring common-sense solutions to Congress and will work across party lines to deliver results for the district, state and nation.”
Reed said she wants to emphasize economic growth, home ownership and health care cost cuts.
She is vying with state Sen. Tarryl Clark for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nomination to take on Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th District.
Reed got into the race in May. She ran for lieutenant governor in 2006 on the Independence Party ticket and hasn’t decided whether she will run in a primary election if the DFL endorsement goes to Clark.
Bachmann is in her second term in Congress, but faced stiff opposition in the most recent election and may face another difficult campaign next year.
Bachmann, Clark and Reed already have a combined $1.2 million campaign stockpile, bigger than it was at this stage in the last election. Bachmann leads the way in fundraising with $617,000.
The large amount of money means voters can expect a barrage of television ads, mailers and phone calls in what could be the most vibrant of Minnesota’s eight congressional campaigns.
The 6th District includes a swath of outlying Twin Cities suburbs and rapidly developing rural areas that stretch into St. Cloud.
— Associated Press
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