Klobuchar Already Defeated Trump Cronies

 National Report

In 1994, when Amy Klobuchar (DFL) ran for Hennepin County Attorney against Sheryl Ramstad Hvass (R) for Hennepin County Attorney she came up against the likes of Roger Stone and Paul Manafort who were consultants for the sister of Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN).

Klobuchar defeated Ramstad Hvass by 3740 votes and in her reelection bid she was unopposed.

It seems like a worthy argument to make to the US Presidential electorate, here’s a good tagline “I have already taken on Trump cronies, like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort and I beat them, next I will beat the biggest crony of them all, Donald J Trump.”

Need for Light Rail Conductors

Minnesota Report

The call for Ambassadors on the Light Rail lines seems weak and a term that conveys niceties rather than someone in charge. We suggest implementing Conductors rather than glad-handing Ambassadors. A Conductor is defined as “a person in charge of a train, streetcar, or other public conveyance, who collects fares and sells tickets.” Seems like they can collect fares from scofflaws and the fine should be imposed immediately otherwise the person is given a citation.

Last March, we wrote the following piece The Best Way to Eliminate Smoking on the LRT and believe much more needs to be done to excise the problems occurring in mass transit system. The convenience of the service comes with additional obligations and the frequency of people sleeping on the trains due to homelessness and instances of drug use and smoking without regard to the other passengers is emblematic of people with a lack of care for society which shows little care for them.

This issue appears to be shaping up as a wedge between Greater Minnesota and the Metropolitan area.  We expect more of these will be building as we get closer to the election.

Significant Staff Changes in the MN Legislature

Minnesota Report

The return of John Pollard to the DFL Senate as the Minority Chief of Staff is not to only change in staffing throughout the legislature, there are numerous staff changes in both bodies and on both sides of the aisle. An update to contact lists and finding better means for tracking these changes appears in order.

The movement of legislative assistants to committee administrators and new legislative assistants is sizable in number. This seems quite numerous occurring in the 2nd year of a biennium, but it is a reality.

Administration Joins the PolyMet Appeal Call

Minnesota Report Yesterday, the DNR put out the following press release DNR seeks review of Court of Appeals decision on PolyMet permits Today the Department of Natural Resources submitted a petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court seeking review of the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ Jan. 13, 2020 decision regarding three DNR-issued permits for PolyMet’s NorthMet…

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Klobuchar Gets Third Ticket Out of New Hampshire

National Report

US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) finished a strong third with 19.8% of the vote, last night in the New Hampshire Primary coming 17,361 votes behind first place finisher US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  He surge is attributed to her performance in last Friday night’s debate at Emerson College.

This showing should breathe more life into the Klobuchar Campaign, but in order to maintain the momentum another surpassing of expectations will need to occur in Nevada February 22 or South Carolina February 29th, prior to Super Tuesday on March 3rd.

Klobuchar finish was significant compared to another New Englander US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Vice-President Joe Biden (D) who both only had single digit results, 9.3% and 8.4% respectively.

Draz Jabs Daudt During Sine Die Debate

Minnesota Report

Normally, the opening of the legislative session is mostly ceremonial and functional. New bills are given their first reading, in this case two new legislators, Rep-elects Sydney Jordan (DFL-60B, Minneapolis) and Paul Novotny (R-30A, Elk River) were sworn in, and Minority Leader Rep Steve Drazkowski (NR-21B, Mazeppa) called for adjournment Sine Die.

At the end of the debate Drazkowski said the following “…it would give our lobbyist legislator more time for his job.” This was a clear shot at the other Minority Leader Rep Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) and his new position as Director of Public Affairs at Stateside Associates. Company does lobby at various state legislatures, but that is not a part of Daudt’s role.

Another good shot was made by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-46A, Golden Valley) when he said he didn’t really want to get in the middle of a squabble between the two Minority Leaders.

To hear the Drazkowski’s comments Click Here and view minute 10:03 through 15:00.

50 Year Anniversary for the Legislative Reference Library

Minnesota Report

One of the finest and most helpful institutions is the Legislative Reference Library and it will be celebrating is 50th year of existence tomorrow February 13, 2020. The will be cake and light refreshments from 1:30-3:00 pm.

We spend a great deal of time there during the session and plan on attending the festivities.

A Talk with Bakk

Minnesota Report

After the Jobs for Minnesotans press conference we had the opportunity to speak with former Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-03 Cook). In our conversation we learned the following, no he is not changing parties and yes he will be running for reelection. He did acknowledge it will be hard for the DFL to maintain control on the Iron Range due to the and the popularity of Donald J Trump (R) and the election of Congressman Pete Stauber (R-08MN). He referred to Sen David Tomassoni’s (06, Chisholm) district which Trump carried, but not by that sizable of a margin. Trump only had 47.6 on the 06A side and 47.1% on the 60B side. He pointed out the life of the DFL on the Range will be determined on how they draw the next redistricting map, and if the mapmakers isolate the Range and significantly reduce representation they will do so at their own peril.

We asked if he knew who had cast the deciding vote against him and he said he knew, but wasn’t willing to share. We discussed the significant split his ouster caused in the caucus and he said, “That’s going to last a very long time.”

PolyMet Support is Diverse

Minnesota Report

We attended a press conference hosted by Jobs for Minnesotans and witnessed a coalition of the Chamber of Commerce, Organized Labor and legislative Leadership on both sides of the aisle and in both legislative bodies. The group came together to support PolyMet in its appeal of the MN Court of Appeals Decision on three permits that would facilitate the opening of a copper-nickle mine in Hoyt Lakes.

In attendance wore Minnesota Chamber President Doug Loon, Minnesota Building and Trades President Harry Melander, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa), who pointed out he was born in Virginia, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-46A, Golden Valley) who also said he represents Golden Valley, but was born in Bemidji, Senators Justin Eichorn (R-Grand Rapids), Tom Bakk (DFL-03, Cook) David Tomassoni (DFL-06, Chisholm) and Reps Julie Sandstede (DFL-06A, Hibbing), Dave Lislegard (DFL-06B, Aurora) and Dale Leuck (R-10B, Aitkin) also attended.

When Steelworker President John Arbogast spoke he said his labor union will make sure they negotiate environmental protections in the union contract with PolyMet.

If the State Supreme Court agrees to hear the appeal, things will get interesting.

Forum Forum 2020

Minnesota Report

It might sound redundant, but it’s not. Prior to the start of each legislative session, the Forum News Service hosted a forum of the governor and legislative leadership. In this instance, Dana Ferguson of the Frum News Service moderated and it included the participants were Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN), Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, (DFL-53B, Brooklyn Park), Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa), newly elected Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-53, Woodbury) and Assistant House Minority Leader Anne Neu (R-32B, North Branch). The Governor brought bars but confessed his wife made them.

                                                                                                                                     

The five fielded questions from the various members of the press corps covering a wide range from the effects on negotiations in the Senate between the Majority Leader and the new Minority Leader to the Bonding Bill. We learned both legislative bodies will be attending a seminar put on by the National Council of State Legislators on how to constructively negotiate and the fact that the surplus of $1.3 billion will likely replenish the $493 million in the Rainy-Day Fund first.

The topic of the Presidential Primary came up and former Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson came into the room at just about that time. At the end of the forum, he approached the Speaker and said he feels disenfranchised because of party notification and she reiterated her point that the Primary was a party function.

To see the event in its entirety go here Forum Forum.

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...

96 Days and Counting Until the Iowa Caucuses

National Report The Iowa Caucuses are scheduled for February 3, 2020, and with less than 100 days to go much is underway. If anyone wants to take a trip to Iowa and watch any of the political event first hand they should contact the Amy for America campaign the...

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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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