Election 2016: State Representative District 64B

I live in 64B, which is Highland with a bit of Mac-Groveland. We are represented by Dave Pinto, who was elected for the first time two years ago when Michael Paymar retired.

I like Dave. I was a Senate District Convention delegate so I got to talk to him in some detail, and I found him thoughtful, a good listener, and a committed progressive.

The two candidates on the ballot:

Dave Pinto (DFL)
Emory K. Dively (Republican)

Dave Pinto

Dave is a Ramsey County prosecutor who works on domestic violence cases involving children. His big focus tends to be kids, especially early childhood education.

Emory K. Dively (Republican)

Emory is a pastor at Deaf Life Church on Snelling Avenue, which I pass pretty frequently and have wondered about a few times. It is apparently part of a loosely-organized Pentecostalist fellowship. Emory and his wife (who’s a co-pastor there) are both Deaf.

There is very little info on Emory’s website about his views (there’s not a ton on Dave’s, but he’s at least got a voting record plus I remember him from when I was contemplating the Senate District Convention back in 2014) so I went looking for other info on him. I was thrown for a bit by the fact that there are two Emory Divelys, this one plus an Emory David Dively who turns out to be Emory K. Dively’s son. There’s a bunch of interesting biographical information over on this site, including the fact that he speaks eight different sign languages. (Sign languages are not the same from country to country; in fact, ASL (American Sign Language) and BSL (British Sign Language) are apparently not mutually intelligible.

I also found a District 64 Candidate Forum that was held last night and is now up on YouTube:


and watched it. (Well, okay, I fast-forwarded through some bits.) It’s not just Dave vs. Emory: Dick Cohen and Ian Baird, as well as the candidates from 64A, Erin Murphy and Riley Horan, are also in it.

 

Emory used ASL and had an interpreter. Some of what he was saying came across as pretty incoherent and I’m honestly not sure whether the problem was that he is an incoherent communicator, or if the interpreter was having trouble. The interpreter sounded a lot smoother on his closing statement than on some of his answers, though, which made me think that it was him, and he was not great at coming up with answers he hadn’t practiced.

Things I noted about his positions: he is very focused on special education; that’s his pet issue. I’d say this isn’t entirely surprising, given that he’s a Deaf man working at a Deaf church, but Dave Pinto is also disabled (he’s significantly vision impaired, enough that he can’t drive) and his pet issue is Early Childhood Education.

Asked about the racisal disparities in St. Paul public schools, Emory had no real answer. Asked about climate change he said we needed to take our time and not rush and not try to tell other states what to do. Asked about improving health care his answer was just confusing.

I will say that i kind of liked him? He seemed like a warm, likeable person, especially when compared to his fellow Republicans, the very young Ian Baird and the holy-shit-even-younger Riley Horan. (Riley is twenty years old, and is currently in college at the University of St. Thomas.) I am definitely going to vote for Dave Pinto, though. Absolutely. I sat through 90 minutes of forum and I am still not sure what his views are on most of the major issues, but more to the point, I’m not sure he knows, either.

Ian Baird came across as very young and frequently inarticulate. (Ian, if you’re reading this, go to Toastmasters.) He had handful of comments that made sense but he also thinks global warming is going to be solved with “American ingenuity” rather than government interference.

All you really need to know about Riley Horan is that he thinks the jury is still out on global warming. He came across to me like a dark-haired Draco Malfoy. I will give him credit for one thing, which is that he says on his campaign website that same-sex marriage is a settled issue and Republicans should shut up about it. Other than that, eesh. The guy has a picture of himself posing with Ted Cruz, one of his favorite politicians. (His other big favorite: Scott Walker.) If you’re in 64A, vote for Erin Murphy.

 

Election 2014: Minnesota State House, Districts 63A and 64B

So I’m just going down the ballot in order, and next up on your ballot will be State Rep. I used to live in 63A, where I was represented by Jim Davnie. Now I live in 64B, where I am represented by Michael Paymar but won’t be for very much longer because he’s retiring.

All the interesting stuff in 64B actually happened back in March, when there was an endorsing convention. I went. It was, to my surprise, significantly faster and more efficient than the endorsing conventions in Minneapolis have ever been. The DFL endorsed candidate is Dave Pinto, who I like quite a bit, though he wasn’t my first choice going in. (My first choice going in didn’t even make it to the second round of voting, alas.)

Anyway, I’ll do Minneapolis first. For State Representative District 63A, your choices are:

KYLE BRAGG – REPUBLICAN
JIM DAVNIE – DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR

Kyle Bragg appears to have no website. When I googled for his name, I found a union organizer who lives in Queens; I’m thinking this is probably a different Kyle Bragg. (I mean, there are Republican union members — it does happen — but you can’t run for the Minnesota House of Representatives if you life in New York.) The New York Kyle Bragg actually sounds pretty damn cool

The Minneapolis Kyle Bragg has a LinkedIn profile that says he’s a lease specialist for an office machines company; his Facebook page has a lovely picture of Minnehaha Falls in winter, so I’m pretty sure I’m looking at the right guy.

Anyway, the bottom line is, he’s not a serious candidate; if you can’t even be bothered to set up a Facebook page for your candidacy, you’re not actually running for office even if you’ve filed for it.

Jim Davnie

I have known Jim for over fourteen years; I was pregnant with Molly (and his wife was pregnant with their older daughter) when he ran for office the first time. Jim is smart, funny, honest, thoughtful, and an amazing speaker. If you live in his district, not only should you vote for him, you should seek him out at neighborhood events to chat. Jim is freaking awesome. I would vote for him for anything. Well, maybe not Attorney General. I think you’re supposed to have gone to law school to be AG.

On to St. Paul.

This district has been represented by Michael Paymar since 1996. Paymar is stepping down at the end of this session, so there’s no incumbent. You might think this would have led to a bunch of people filing, but nope. For State Representative District 64B, your choices are:

DANIEL SURMAN – REPUBLICAN
DAVE PINTO – DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR

According to the Pioneer Press, Daniel Surman is an office director for a Republican campaign office covering the 4th Congressional District. In the MNGOP notice about the endorsing convention they held in July, they note that Daniel Surman is the only candidate who filed, and adds, “With the retirement of former-Rep Michael Paymar, he hopes to rally Republicans in our community to make sure our next State Representative will be a Republican!”

So possibly the problem is “rallying Republicans in our community.” I mean, I know there are a few. But you’d be hard-pressed to find them. Even though Daniel is so Republican he works for the party, and even though he has a Twitter, a blog, and another blog (this one’s with a group of bloggers), he doesn’t seem to have a campaign site of any kind. In other words, like the guy in 63A, he filed but he’s not actually running.

If you’re a Republican you’ll probably vote for him anyway, although you might ask yourself, don’t you want a State Rep who acts like he wants the job of representing you?

Dave Pinto is a county prosecutor. During endorsement season he held “conversations” (with topics) rather than meet-and-greets, which was an interesting idea. He doorknocked us at least once and I also talked with him on the phone; I found him thoughtful and engaged. When he doesn’t have an answer, he’ll ask for your ideas (as opposed to pulling buzzwords out of his ass to try to make it sound like he has all the answers.)

Anyway, I think Pinto’s going to be an excellent State Rep, and I’m planning to vote for him.