Items to Consider Regarding DFL Senate Leadership Discussion

Minnesota Report


The DFL Senate Caucus had a meeting set for tomorrow, which was postponed by Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-03, Cook) after an email announcement by Senate Assistant Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-53, Woodbury) of her intent to challenge for the leadership position. We understand there is a request for dates for the caucus requested from members and they already have a retreat scheduled for February 1, 2020. We have spoken with members of the caucus and are informed the leadership conversation is a “family matter” being discussed among the DFL Senate Family. If this is family matter then the decision will be whether or not to continue as a patrilineal group or become a matrilineal group.

The DFL Senate Caucus is in a serious position being three votes short of the majority. The 2020 election is majorly significant because with a DFL governor, the state House if held, being solidly in DFL hands, the Senate if turned means holding all levers of power the DFL decides the redistricting maps for both Congress and the state legislature. The 2020 state Senate elections are paramount and because they are only for a two-year term, these “Stub Elections” will have substantial impact for the next decade.

When Bakk first became minority leader in 2011 after the 2010 election, his caucus represented 30 of the 67 seats. They regained the majority in 2013 following the 2012 election with 39 votes. The DFL lost it again after the 2016 election resulting in a 33-vote minority starting in 2017. Then the loss in a Special Election after the appointment of Sen Tony Lourey (DFL-11, Kerrick) to head DHS resulted in the current three-vote differential of 32-35.

The dynamic changes in the Senate over the last decade are quite significant. We would like to highlight a couple of noteworthy items for people to consider.

  • 32 members will decide, but 17 members voting in the same manner will determine.
  • There are 5 rural members, 9 urban members, and 18 suburban members.
  • 10 of the members are women and 3 urban and 7 suburban.

Now, very few things are monolithic in politics especially DFL politics, which is often best described as herding cats. The fact remains the bulk of the political power in this caucus resides in the hands of the largest group the suburbanites and if they moved in a single direction as a block they can make the final call. Kent, as a member of the largest block, could have an advantage due to regional and gender demographics, but Bakk is a tough negotiator and the rise in suburban seats has taken place under his guidance. Kent did help bring about the DFL Majority with her election over Sen Ted Lillie (R-53, Woodbury) in 2012.

Kent as the challenger, appears to be like a regular suburban soccer mom, with a slight southern drawl, but with a Sally Field demeanor. Now, we don’t mean the Field of Flying Nun or Smokey and the Bandit fame, but rather the Academy Award-winning actress of the Norma Rae variety.

The question will be which leader will the caucus want to bring them into the majority and provide the voice of their caucus leading into the new decade.   

Revenue Forecast Shows a Significant Surplus

Minnesota Report

The Office of Management and Budget released the Revenue Forecast today showing a $1.332 billion surplus. When the legislature reconvenes on February 11th, they will wait for the February Forecast to set their legislative priorities.

The economic outlook is expected to take a downturn showing the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) idiocies in decline out to 2023. Minnesota is still seen to be outpacing the national average.

Much of the surplus is realized from the following:

Forecast expenditures for education aid programs are down $54 million (0.3 percent) from previous estimates but are partially offset by an additional appropriation for safe schools supplemental aid of $30 million that was activated when FY 2019 closed with a general fund balance that was higher than projected at the end of the legislative session. Total health and human services (HHS) spending is projected to be down $97 million from end of session estimates largely due to lower enrollment in Medical Assistance. These savings, along with $51 million (4.3 percent) lower projected debt service, are partially offset by increases in property tax aids and credits, the implementation of two additional contingency appropriations in FY 2020-21, and the carryforward of unspent appropriations

As is our tradition we inquired as to the size of the state’s debt capacity and learned we have a 3.5 billion availability, though we doubt the Senate Republicans will support anything over a billion.

Exposing a Fraud

Minnesota & National Report

The second week of Impeachment Hearings will continue to dominate our television stations, resulting in many conversations amongst pundits and continue to expose the political divides in our society. The series of testimonies from the various people willing to testify, some in direct violation of the counter orders from the White House, are all leading to proving Donald J Trump (R) is a fraud.

As the rhetoric shifts from investigations by a foreign country to charges of bribery, which is a term found in the Impeachment clause in the US Constitution, Article II, Section 4 “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” we gain more insight, but the question is when will Trump’s defenders see the evidence in the same light?

The discussions on FOX are far different than those on PBS, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. It is curious how the same information is viewed so drastically different through a partisan lens. Republicans are nearly all in lockstep coming to the aid of Trump and we can see no other reason than blatant partisanship.

The loss of Trump means lost judicial appointments, more trade woes, and a destabilized foreign policy. The religious tenants being invoked seem to resemble the adage “hate the sin but love the sinner.” The moral turpitude lies a and misrepresentations of fact are far too easily overlooked by the sycophants.

Our nation is at odds because their side refuses to believe the truth as presented and discounts what is shown at each turn only to protect the particular person in the position. In order for the United States of America to become whole once again will require the loss of the narcissistic pretender and fraud. He has admitted his wrongdoings and flaunted it before people and he needs to pay the highest price as a traitor to this country.

Truth is taking a backseat to partisanship. Trump’s Mojo isn’t rising it’s headed in a southerly direction.

The Truth Behind Ranked Choice Voting

Minnesota Report

Now that the 2019 elections are over in St Paul, we sought information from interim Elections Director David Triplett on what actually transpired and received the following answers to our questions. Additionally, we have a spreadsheet of all of the votes cast in the precincts of Wards One and Six. We understand that if Question 4 were to be implemented it would slow the system down significantly.

Again, we will point out in Ward Six the high number of Inactive Votes, meaning these people did not vote for more than one person and because that person was not one of the final two candidates, they played no role in the end result and effectively were disenfranchised. One other reality, which we have learned anecdotally is a number of people did vote for the same person multiple times on the ballot, which is no different than bullet balloting.

2019 St Paul Election Results by Precinct (This is an Excel Spreadsheet)

In Ward One the total of Unassigned Votes was 9.067% and in Ward Six 18.43%. Why does anyone who believes in democracy support a system where as much as 18.43% of the voting population has their votes cast aside?

Triplett’s answers are in bold.

  1. Why aren’t the results of the city election readily available in a fashion so that a voter will know what the results of their own elections are after the application of vote distribution through Ranked Choice Voting on Election Day? They are. We post unofficial results on Election night. If a reallocation or recount is required, we schedule it promptly and provide those results as promptly as possible (Wednesday afternoon this year). For this election, we executed two reallocations and reported results following the transparent and public process described in the Saint Paul ordinance for ranked voting by the end of the same business week. The scheduled canvass of the vote was not affected by this. We follow all laws and ordinances that govern processing or ranked voting.
  2. Why doesn’t the machinery the county purchased have that capacity? No system – including the one used in used in Ramsey County – is currently certified by the MN OSS for Ranked Voting.
  3. What would it entail both financially and technologically to make the unofficial vote totals available ASAP? We are making the unofficial vote totals available as soon as possible. When the reallocation was complete on Friday, we posted the results to We posted results for 2nd-6th choice on the website on Wednesday.
  4. I understand these machines have the capacity to take a digital image of each ballot, which would potentially enable the ability to count the votes in the Ranked Choice Voting fashion, why wasn’t this done? State law only allows for ballot images to be used to count write-in votes (8230.1530). We have no legal authority to do anything else with the images.
  5. Three of the major arguments for Ranked Choice Voting were lower costs over a Primary, majority election results, and higher voter participation. Are these being met? In our experience, many factors come into play for every election. All past election results and data are available for viewing and research at &
    1. What are the costs of a Primary vs RCV? Each event is different. Generally speaking, administering a primary costs about $2,500 per polling place for a city election, this does not include AB or VR costs not associated with opening the polling places.
      1. Do these numbers include an ongoing education program? Ramsey County does not have any ongoing educational efforts for Ranked Voting. We continue to use the materials that were developed for the initial rollout of RCV which Saint Paul paid for. If so, what is that cost specifically? Is it budgeted to have an education program every election? If so is that a cost paid for by the city of St Paul?
      2. What is the cost of a hand count? Our staff’s time and election judges’ wages are the additional costs for the hand count reallocation. This varies based on the scale and time required to reallocate. An early estimate for the two reallocations from this past Friday is $2,600 to pay 18 election judges for 8.5hrs of work to conduct the reallocation.
  • Again, what is the cost of technology improvements and what will the ongoing costs be? We currently have no plans to change our technology based on RCV. Should the SoS certify our system, it’s something we could explore with officials from the City of Saint Paul.  
  1. Who should be expected to pay for the costs of RCV the county or the city? The City of Saint Paul covers the cost of their elections.

What is necessary for you to do your job better and more efficiently? I’m proud of the job our experienced staff and dedicated election judges do. We use every election as an opportunity for continuous improvement to make the next one run more efficiently.

Supporting Position From NY: Ranked Choice Voting Hurts Minority Communities

As Election Day in St Paul commences and the Capitol City has the largest number of candidates on the ballot, we wanted to once again weigh-in with our utter disdain for the and opposition to the Ranked Choice Voting Process. This campaign is a hard slough because [eople have had the wool pulled over their eyes and misguidedly believe having a wide range of choices is a better system than selecting from a field of two candidates. Well, we will argue if there were only two choices in 2016, then Hillary Clinton would be President and our nation would be going through its current throes of a Constitutional Crisis.

Last week, a publication in New York came forward to make a similar statement that we have made repeatedly. In the Queens Daily Eagle, the following article appeared on November 1, 209. Ranked choice voting would fail immigrants and communities of color. There is a misguided viewpoint being circulated in communities of color that this system works for them, while it clearly does not. In our interview with Ward 6 candidate Terri Thao (DFL), which we ran yesterday, she made this very statement and wanted to see information to contrary, well here it is.

We will be watching the results and pointing out things that will occur. There will be a large number of voters who vote for a single candidate, but because that candidate is not one of the last two their vote will not be part of the final result. It will be label as Unassigned, meaning its as good as not having voted at all. Additionally, there may be people who fail to understand the process and vote for the same candidate multiple times, not understanding as long as their candidate remains viable their vote is going to that person.

All and all, we will have a new City Councilor in Ward 6, unless Kassim Bussari (DFL) retains the seat. Hopefully, other interesting occurrences transpire across the city.

Protecting Our Water Resource

Minnesota Report

We were shocked to hear to the boldness of a proposal to ship our water out-of-the state to western states. This resource, a climate change continues to rise, will make water an ever-increasingly demanded commodity, but the exploitation and exporting of our resource is just unconscionable.

We’re glad there is an administration and a Department of Natural Resources where such an idea is rejected at the onset. HT to DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen.

We are less confident the same would occur under a different political alignment. The idea of resource extraction of minerals and other resources that are not an embodiment of the essentials of life are one issue, but a fundamental resource like water is another issue altogether.

The Land O’ 10,000 Lakes is a significant steward of water resources and one only needs to look east to Wisconsin or Michigan to see a distinctive difference. Wisconsin is dealing with FoxConn and it’s the use of water resources and drawing from the Lake Michigan Basin and Michigan will let anyone harvest water, like Nestle and ship it around the globe.

The Great Lakes Compact, has some protects, but it is up to each state to manage the resource and clearly there is a difference in management techniques.

Ward Six Interviews (Thao)

Minnesota Report

C&B: All right, I’m interviewing Terry Thao for Ward 6 and Terry, can you tell me when did you move to St. Paul?

Thao: Um, I was seven years old, um, so it was ’87, ‘86 with my family. We were part of the secondary migration of the Hmong folks. My family first came to this country in Chicago and my mom’s family was here in St Paul but on top of that they said there were jobs and housing here. So we moved up here to be with my mom’s family.  his family was here in St Paul. But on top of that they said they were jobs in here. So, we moved up here to give him all his family was so happy.

C&B: So, when did you move to Ward 6?

Thao: 2007, so I have to, 2007, I had just gotten engaged so my in-laws lived on Case and Arcade and so I married an Eastsider and then about

C&B: Oh, wait a minute.

Thao: I married an Eastsider and we moved into our house about six weeks later, we bought our house that we live in now.

C&B: In the first 100 days, what would you expect you would be able to do if you were elected?

Thao: The first 100 days, well the first 100 days I would definitely it would be a lot of learning right and so I’m sit down with the department heads to kind of figure out what’s you know, what their priorities are find out especially with their interests are in Ward 6. I would sit down with, you know, I come back to a lot of residents and get a get a way communications up and running right? I know there are other electeds have been doing kind of coffee in the community or kind of, you know, it’s not, not a town hall but just opportunities to where I can go and engage with folks and so I’d want to get that structure set-up. I think you have to hire an assistant get that up and running or a policy aide, so it just, you know, get a lay of the, get a lay of the lands. So, doing a lot of listening the first hundred days to but bring you forth what Ward 6er’s elected me to come do and really come bring some of those issues forth

C&B: What do you think is the most important issues pending the city right now?

Thao: The whole city? Oh geez, there’s a lot of issues. We’re going to be managing our growth because apparently keep adding 10,000 people to the city each year and which is, you know, when you think about overall that’s a good thing but given the shortage of housing. The wear and tear on our roads? You know, we really have to think about what that means and for the current residents here to that while their new residents coming let’s not displace the current residents get way to have a huge homelessness problem, right? So, so I think that’s that’s a couple different big issues. But I think that you know, and then how do we design a city so that people there are going to be driving, biking, walking? You know, how do we have businesses such as this that accommodate, you know, these new residents a lot of folks when I was at doors talked about coffee shops. I don’t think they know that this is here. Yeah.

C&B: (Regarding the coffee shop Sante Fe in which the interview occurred) It’s been a quiet opening. It’s been open since January. Now, I guess the question is where do you see the balance between renters and owners where do you see that in the housing mix?

Thao: You know, we need to have both right? And so for some people they, you know, they just they can’t or don’t want to don’t want to own and so, you know, it’s about you know, I think, when we know sometimes people paint it as an either or that there’s a particularly bad perception of, of renter’s and so it it’s like actually 99% of people have been renters right. So, don’t forget that folks, but it’s about striking a balance, like for owners, you know, everybody cares, you know, a lot of owners, because their invested, they want to make sure their properties are you know, values are kept up. They want to make sure they have good neighborhoods but, you know, a lot of the times renters want that too. So, however they would suffer the effects that homeowners suffer, right, which if your property value goes up the owner is just going to pass the cost, if you are a renter if you are an owner you absorb it directly. So I think there is a lot we can to do to kind of bridge some of those divides thinking that perception and some of that is racialized, let’s be honest right, so.

C&B: So, do you actually have some thoughts about what to do with absentee landlords and the way that they treat the property is just an investment?

Thao: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with investors with landlords. I think it is about finding good ones and I will say in the course of talking with folks there are people want to be good local landlords and there’s a guy actually not too far from here owns a duplex with love to own more property. Lives in the neighborhood that those you know, I mean, you know investors who do good upkeep, you know there are absentee ones that do-good upkeep too right of the homes. It’s the ones that you know, kind of let their properties go bad don’t respond or there’s a lot of you know any incidences at their units. I think those need to be kept more on a watch list. More than you know and in which you know, Department of Safety and Inspections I know one of the new things despite being adding new people. I think they’re a busy department. I think they you know, respond to a lot of calls but does that’s where we would start for reporting nuisance properties.

C&B: What about situations on evictions? Its pretty much all very strongly for the owner but the renter really has no real opportunity other than maybe one week   

Thao: I have done a lot of work on the housing and looked at the impact and devastation that evictions have on families. Housing is a big predictor of student achievement and we look at you know, I’ve got kids in public school in the schools and I grew up in the school system too write so, so I know housing has a huge impact on it. So, I know right now there a lot of efforts working towards reducing evictions. I was part of an organization that was providing funding to it’s one of the legal aids that’s trying to help people actually at Eviction Court, cuz that’s the best time to reach people. And so, you know, it’s a little bit of both, right? So, how do we do it as you don’t work with landlords to have talked about? You know, I know for some folks, eviction is a last resort and then for residents to as well like to get steps beforehand, so that doesn’t quite get eviction you know the most. Another thing I’ve seen is a lot of 90% of the request of the emergency Grant Fund that we have here in St. Paul which people can access every 24 months is for rent 90% of the time so clearly, you know, people are. There is a need and I think you know trying to prevent evictions is going to be key it’s a last resort kind of a piece. It never leaves your record and its really devastating right, and so not even eviction if you have a UA right, so, (clarified it as UD Unlawful Detainer) sorry, UA is wo, wo it’s Monday. I hear you didn’t even that’s really, really hard to get off your record. But I know their efforts trying to really reduce that because you know, there’s been have you heard of this book called Evicted by Matthew Desmond. So, it’s like the taking the housing world by storm in al lot of economics and he did the study where he looked at the impact of evictions and African American women in Milwaukee. And so, but yeah people really so.

C&B: Let’s talk about the real the really nasty issue trash policy.

Thao: Okay, yes, so I will say this and I have gone on the record. I do support the municipal system there are a couple of reasons why I like that there’s less trucks on the street. I know when my when the bus with my kids that’s helpful. I like that some people told me that is this something that they like it because there’s less noise and people here work different shifts. So, they can measure me woken up like six-seven times a day. That would be very annoying. However, when I talked with Eastsiders, the issue is issue of cost and we can control for those issue of cost really because 40% of people still live in poverty. I talk to a lot of seniors who maybe had a bag a week and they would give it to their children who live like maybe you know the next neighborhood over or in the neighborhood. And so, we definitely need to have options that look at sharing and incentivizing zero waste because I think that’s you know, that’s you know making people pay for system you know, when they’re trying to reduce, you know, their trash is important. I do, ah, ya. So, I think I do. Yeah, so that’s the record. I mean, that’s what I have been saying.

C&B: Mainly, one of the issues is one size fits all is bad.

Thao: Well, You know, it’s.

C&B:  It’s literally the size of the trash.

Thao: You can have three sizes, so you can have options there, but, that’s an interesting question because having been a policy student, there’s pluses, good and bad side to those pieces so, yeah.

C&B: When we look at the broader question in the city of St Paul, what type o relationship would you like to have with the mayor?

Thao: I mean I’d like to have a positive working relationship, right. I think for the last several years we didn’t you know, we didn’t have very much leadership that really was, you know, or visible leadership that that really champion to the Eastside as well as really, you know to to make a case down at City Hall right is still a council of seven. So, in the strong-mayor system and so but I’m not certainly not a new kid on the block and so in terms of building relationship and the work that I’ve done and for the past 15 years. I feel like you know, it’s a lot of advocacy work and building up, you know, you know advocating for the neighborhood getting funds to come here. You know on the ground doing the work here, so but it is and the mayor knows.

Right? So I think that’s the thing to, is how do you know when to say it’s going to be you know, you know, I might you know, me from my work and then I’ll be honest with folks, you know, and particularly about the hard choices we have to make, and so maybe that’s the mom in me. But, ya so I want to be honest too. But even now at doors I am hearing things that are pushing me to think a little differently to, so.

C&B: You may know or you may not know, I am a staunch opponent to Ranked Choice Voting. You’re running in Ranked Choice voting system and how are you going to win it?

Thao: Oh, I think it’s, well I mean it’s, I think what Ranked Choice allow you to do is not close the door on you entirely right. So, somebody else has somebody else has a candidate is their number one, we just say, we would love to be considered your second spot. Right? And so, and I think particularly in a race like this where it’s an open seat and there are six people running. How do you distinguish yourself and people may like you or maybe like I really like you but you know XYZ I think is your gives you an opportunity and there’s actually I know how you feel about Ranked Choice if there’s actually has been some work that’s said it’s been really helpful particularly to women and candidates of color to help elevate them.

C&B: It’s not true.

Thao: Oh, interesting.

C&B: It’s not true.

Thao: I’ll have to go back and find those studies.

C&B: I will show you…

Thao: Alright, alright Shawn.

C&B: …plenty of studies that show it has been disenfranchising of people of color and specifically seniors.

Thao: Oh, interesting.

C&B: Because when a woman who has voted the same way for 50 years, and then she’s expected to do something different in the ballot and she gets confused and that I’m not talking about intelligence I am talking any of that, I just talking about history versus activity now. That actually causes an issue.

Thao: All right, fair enough.

C&B: Also, when you can vote for a single person. You still can and actually it’s an active position that you may be going by doing a single mode. But if you don’t pick one of the final two candidates, you are disenfranchised because your vote doesn’t count in the ultimate. As much as much is 29% of a voting population can have their votes disenfranchised so they might as well not even gone to the polls. That’s just the last two that is a structural disenfranchisement, but I’m not going to demagogue this but you need to think about a different system have to go and they cheated.

Thao: Oh, geez.

C&B: When it was on the referendum, they put out forty thousand pieces of literature that said that Barack Obama John McCain Ralph Nader the DFL Party in the League of Women Voters in endorsed it and they were falling in court guilty of that was a lie, but they didn’t have enough evidence to say that you could have changed the book but they won by four thousand votes and they put out when the new President Barack Obama was in his first year and if he is endorsed something and everybody liked him. Gee, I think it might have influenced 4,000 votes. Don’t ya? Again, I’m not going to demagogue.

C&B: Let’s talk about the process you’re going to use in this instance. Give me your picture on how you pitch for second choice at the door?

Thao: I would say you might have another candidate in mind, who you particularly favorite who’s you know whose value is aligned closer to you? But let me tell you what am I experiencing what I’ve been able to do right after nine years in the Planning Commission. I’ve also done again my body, my body of work over my career in community development has been helping folks here on the east side where it was housing work in the foreclosure crisis, whether it was, you know, helping organizations that work with small businesses along Payne Avenue here. I’m pretty sure Anne DeJoy had a had a hand in helping this restaurant get started up and then I sat on that board. And so, whether it’s been leveraging Investments Phalen Corridor, you know, my organization I actually work for actually funded a lot of projects here. That’s what I bring to the table. And so, you may have someone whose values align with you more but you know, but consider me as a second choice because of the experience and able to bring.

C&B: We have two Hmong candidates in this race. Is there any aspects and conversation happening between the two? Is there any intermediary? What role will Sen Foung Hawj play?

Thao: You know, I think, I think you know what, it’s funny when people say this cuz you don’t say this when there’s two white candidates in the race. I think the more people running. I mean that’s fine. You know, we had three at some point, right? And so, as a matter fact, I think it has people in our community paying attention and I also would like to point out that when we’ve had just one more person run in this Ward, they didn’t win. We’ve had races where to many people have run and a Hmong person has won. So I have to tell you in my own Community these facts and then they’re like, oh, you know I get that, you know, aspirationally we want to be united behind one person, you know, because then it doesn’t cause, conflict because you know very well very, you know, a very collective community where we going to we try to be in as much, you know, harmony or you know live peacefully with a lots less strife but you know, it is what it is. We’re here in this country the god of people understand and so on and I tell people this time like we should I be worried, you know about splitting the Hmong vote we shouldn’t have be worried about you know, and so that’s what I say.

C&B: Can you discuss the concept of Uncle in your community?

Thao: You know, it’s not just Uncle it’s the concept of families that you know, essentially everybody is a family member or related at some point. Whether, especially through marriage and so, so anybody, um, and you go by generations right. So if I am of this generation, anyone in my parent generation um I would call them an Aunty or an Uncle. Um, anyone younger than me you know even of my generation, if they were older or younger than me you would call them by their proper name. I was, it is, just a sign of respect. So, so, there’s a lot of, of goals and also the clan name, right.  So, if you have the same clan name, some of the believe is somewhere along the line you were related. Right, so.

C&B: So, again mentioning Sen Foung Hawj, he’s a distinguished individual in fact I was in California, and I ran into a, a gentleman, a Hmong gentleman and when I was talking with him he said do you know Sen Foung Hawj and I’m like ya, I just went for a walk with him around Lake Phalen, yesterday, and he said that’s my Uncle, or my cousin actually he said. And so I pick up my phone and call Foung and said, “Hey, Foung I’m in Sacramento and I got lost I’ve got this, I’ve got this guy here, he’s Hmong and I don’t understand him. Here can you talk to him?” And I handed him the phone and he’s talking to his cousin.

C&B: What role will Sen Foung, if he were to provide an endorsement, how important is that> What role will he play?

Thao: I think any elected public official provides certain weight, certain legitimacy to any candidate, and so, and, and especially in the Hmong community, I think, you know, he’s been doing a lot of work with Veterans for a while. And so, um, I think there’d be some weight to it. And I have asked for an endorsement so, ya.

C&B: Last question.  So in regards to this race, where do you think you are going to be at first ballot?

Chao: You know I think it will be, you know, I’m going to give it a high number because we’ve been, I’ve been at doors almost every day, right. And so, um it has been, and people have seen me multiple times and so, I think, that’s going to get, we’re doing some other strategies that’s going to get in front of people. And so, um, I think it will be a high number, I think it will be you know um, and I think Eastsiders deserve it so.

C&B What’s that high number?

Thao: I don’t know, you have to get what 50% plus one, so I think in will be in the high forties. And so, you know, it’s really, you know, you said the four contenders, I really think the race is down to Nelsie and myself too. And so, but I think, just my experience and reputation when I go out and talk to folks um, just having been here in the community longer. I mean I’m a St Paul girl right and so um I get the particularly Ward Six and Eastside dynamics very well, so.

C&B: I said last question, but what endorsements have you picked up?

Thao: So, my official organizational endorsements are um, in order, which in order of how I received them, Stonewall DFL Caucus, African-American DFL Caucus, um, ah, The St Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, from

DeMay’s Name on the Ballot

Minnesota Report

Jim DeMay will be watching election returns tomorrow night and watching for his own name in the tabulation. The Pfizer Lobbyist is a candidate for School Board in ISD #621 in the communities of Moundsview and North Oaks.

DeMay is a known Democrat having run the Clinton/Gore Campaign here in 1992, and in Ohio in 1996 and Gore/Lieberman in Pennsylvania 2000 and then Kerry/Edwards in Ohio in 2004.

If all indications are good, he should pick-up support from both sides of the aisle, because he Is a corporate lobbyist, but prides himself as a straight shooter, who will tell you how it is. Because he is not an incumbent, he avoids the hit being applied to the three incumbents who are running for reelection Heidi Danielson, Sandra Westerman and Jonathan Weinhagen, who are accused of putting a levy referendum on an off-year ballot at the last minute.

If sign locations are any indicator, he has scored some solid placements and a number of those are at Republican households.

Peterson Votes Against Impeachment

Rep Collin Peterson (D-07MN) was one of two votes against the impeachment of Donald J Trump. This maintains his consistency on the issue since he has been vocally against the position since the conversation began. Because his district is very conservative this makes be a politically prudent decision. Trump carried the 7th with 61.37%.

The vote fell on mostly partisan lines 232 ayes to 196 Nays with 3 members Not Voting.

Walz Statewide Tour is Challenging Republican Philosophy

Minnesota Report

When Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) began his campaign for governor he advanced the theme of One Minnesota. Now, as a concept this is a worthy effort, it presupposes a similar theme of the University of Minnesota football team’s Row the Boat idea of the need for everyone to pull in the same direction. Tying the state together is an arduous task because it runs counter to the philosophy advanced by Republicans for decades.

We think Governor Tim Walz should consider one of his missions as he travels around the state is to restore the public trust in government and get people to buy-in.

Now, granted Walz is not originally from here, but the regionalism seen throughout the state is something evident for generations. The GOP has worked just as hard to maintain regional identity and separation. It is an easy sell to someone in Greater Minnesota to look askance at the Twin Cities, because of the different life it denotes, congestion, lack of hunting and fishing, and yes will say it diverse ethnic and racial communities. The “cities” are often said will pure disdain in other parts of the state.

With this reality coupled with an active distrust for things that emanate from there both in Minneapolis with the most left-leaning city council and in St Paul, where state laws are made it’s easy to see how people from somewhere else can view the Cities as a place they chose not to reside. If you feel regulations are foisted upon you from there then you harbor no goodwill toward these governmental centers.

Of course, the distrust of government didn’t start recently, in fact in the modern era it actually began with Democrats. Not the DFL but with national Democrats, because they were in charge during the Vietnam War, but it was enhanced after Watergate because Republicans we drummed out of office in the 1974 and 1976 elections and when out of power, they found a concurrent refrain focused on the evils of government. While out of power they honed their skills in the business world market and selling goods in a simple fashion. The sloganeering we find in today’s simple messaging is a direct embodiment of this idea.

After his election in 1980, Ronald Reagan’s presidency brought us the slogan “Government is not the solution to your problem, the government is the problem.” In 1994, Rep Newt Gingrich (R-GA) then-House Minority Leader brought us the Contract with America, if you haven’t read it recently you should, which Democrats renamed as the Contract on America. The Republican mantra has become Business is more efficient than government, or the look to the current officeholder government is the enemy of the people.

People in St Paul should remember it was under Mayor Norm Coleman (R) watch when they privatized the trash collection system.

As Governor Walz embarks on his statewide tour discussing major issues of concern from the costs of insulin, vaping, and infrastructure revitalization he is meeting people where they are at. The problem is the state of Minnesota is growing ever increasingly concentrated.

Minnesota Republicans are dragging out there well-used playbook and planning on a simple strategy. A focus on the districts that Donald J Trump (R) carried in 2016, coincidentally, that was the strategy they had in 2018. It also was the same strategy they had in 2010 when the took the legislative majorities in both the House and Senate. The DFL did win the Senate back in 2012, but it took another four years for the House to return into DFL hands.

The task before Walz is to help soften the adverse thoughts found in Greater Minnesota calling on people’s better natures and a collective mindset, or we could be no better than Wisconsin, oh, wait they made a shift to the left as well.

As Walz pointed out there are significant needs for infrastructure improvements for roads and bridges, but there are also is plenty of needs for asset preservation categorized as differed maintenance. When people discuss the quality of life here in Minnesota it is often assessed due to the quality of our schools, our roads, and the state park system. The unmet needs are great and the ability to protect what we have is paramount.

The problem is the funding for roads and bridges has shifted significantly into the capital investment area instead of being funded through statewide gas tax collections. The deteriorating infrastructure is not diminishing, but the willingness to pass a gas tax is a hostile position to the Senate GOP.

One clear point to be expected for the forthcoming year is every issue will be seen in a partisan light. While communities across the state greet Walz and his various Commissioners they will be in a position of holding their proverbial hands out, asking for something from St Paul and he will be in the position of asking them to call on their Republican Senators to do something different and compromise with the DFL.

So far, the Republican Senators have held their own, but there is a fundamental problem because Republicans are the anti-government party and to expect the government to do something for you is a pro-government political position.

Even years, though election years are also Bonding sessions and because it takes a 60% majority to pass a bill out of both houses there is room for compromise, but again government spending even borrowed, cheap money is a pro-government idea and one largely hostile to the GOP’s agenda.

The concept of “bringing home the bacon” is one often lost on a fiscal conservative but it is a fundamental purpose of government. The problem is no one has ever lost an election because they didn’t vote for a Bonding Bill, but in past elections, DFLers have lost their seats because they did.

The Coming of the Four Horsemen

If you want to be memorable in Minnesota State Capitol politics it is good if you are referred to as something other than your name. It is often helpful when a term or a phrase can be applied to your, group, issue or initiative. If you want to be known as something...

NPR Censors Opposition Comments on RCV

The NPR show 1A ran a program on Ranked Choice Voting today, and Checks & Balances Publisher Shawn Towle sought a spot on the panel. When called back by producer Andi McDaniel he was informed the panel was full but could submit a comment through the voicemail...

Omar Shows No Loyalty for a Fellow Minnesotan

Minnesota Report Rep Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN05) has shown little attachment to Minnesota at any time since her election to state office. As a state legislator, she made a number of trips nationally to promote her election as the first Somali state legislator. Her election...

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The Murphy Challenge

Minnesota Report Yesterday, former Representative and unsuccessful Gubernatorial candidate Erin Murphy (DFL-64, St Paul) announced her intention to challenge 30-year incumbent Dick Cohen ((DFL-64, St Paul). This is after Murphy had announced her formation of a new...

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Ward 6 Interviews (Bourne)

Minnesota Report Since Ward 6 is the only open seat in the St Paul municipal elections we thought it would be significant to sit down with the various candidates we feel who actually have a chance at winning the seat. As anyone who reads Checks & Balances knows we...

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