Election 2018: Minnesota State House, 64B

This is my legislative district. Running:

Dave Pinto (DFL)
Alex Pouliot (Republican)

Dave has been my rep since Paymar retired. I like him. He’s progressive, smart, and thoughtful. You can see the bills he was chief author of in the last session here; bills he co-authored are here.

Alex Pouliot is currently a legislative aide for the Transportation and Regional Government Policy committee, which may explain why (unlike many Republicans) he likes buses. In trying to track down other information about him, I found this article from 2008, when he was 18 and volunteering for Mitt Romney. It has this absolutely priceless bit:

The state deputy chairman of the Minnesota Teenage Republicans, Pouliot began to take interest in politics about three years ago, a passion sparked by a U.S. history class. He remembers reading about robber barons and taxation.

“I thought, that’s not fair, these people earned their money,” said Pouliot, adding that abortion is important to him because he’s Catholic.

How many people read about the robber barons of the Gilded Age and say, “wow, it’s so unfair these people got taxed!” (Also, his reading of Catholic teaching was interestingly selective.)

Anyway, I’m going to vote for Dave Pinto.

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Election 2018: Races That Could Use Your Money (including money you can get back)

If you are a Minnesota resident, once a year you can donate $50 to a campaign and have it refunded by the government. Eligible races include people running for the Minnesota House or Senate, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and State Auditor. You can also donate it to a political party. Note that you can’t use the PCR to donate to Amy or Tina, or to city or county races, because this is usable for people in state-level races and political parties only.  (You can still donate to them! You just can’t then get that money refunded.) Also note that you have to pick one candidate for the whole $50. I mean, you can donate less, if that’s what works for you, but you can’t give $10 to five people and send in five forms — you can only send in one you can only send in one form: if you donate $10 each to five people, you have to send in all the receipts together, with a single form.

You’ll want a receipt, which you send in with this form by postal mail. A couple of weeks later, you’ll get a check for $50.

I live in a safe DFL district: in 2016, my DFL representative got almost 75% of the vote. So my question was, which House races might be on the cusp? Where could I donate my $50 where it might do some real good? We need to swing 11 seats to take the Minnesota House for the DFL, and that seems eminently do-able, if we donate and volunteer. But where to target?

MinnPost made this question a whole lot easier to answer with this excellent overview of all the races. But here are my picks: all of these were races where it was 55/45 or closer in 2016 (okay, I picked a couple seats that were 56/44, due to other factors), where the Democrat seems like they have a shot, and where there’s a website set up so you can donate online.

(Let me just add, regarding my brief write-ups for each candidate — when I say they highlighted certain issues, that mostly means they put them first, or they caught my eye as being a relatively unusual or specific idea. Most covered additional issues on their websites.)

If did this based almost entirely on how close the vote was last time; there are sometimes other reasons to believe that a candidate has a good shot. Feel free to leave a comment if I left out one of your favorites.

Donate to Swing

Minnesota House District 5A

John Persell is running to re-take this seat; he lost narrowly in 2016, 54%-46%. From his site: “Since graduating from Bemidji State University, I’ve had a long career as a water quality specialist dedicated to making sure our children and grandchildren can enjoy clean water. I believe the best way for Democrats to regain the House is to fight for a progressive agenda built on social and economic justice for every Minnesotan.”

Donate to John Persell.
Volunteer for John Persell.

Minnesota House District 5B

Pat Medure is running. He is a former Sheriff and school board representative running on a platform of government transparency, educational excellence, and economic diversification. This district went 54/42 last time, with a Green candidate taking most of the balance.

Donate to Pat Medure.

Minnesota House District 14A

Aric Putnam is running. He teaches at St. John’s/St. Ben’s, and his wife is a school principal; not surprisingly, education is the first issue he mentions. He also talks about elder care, economic development, health care, and constituent services. District 14A is in St. Cloud, MN, and went 55/45 in 2016.

Donate to Aric Putnam.
Volunteer for Aric Putnam. (His checklist of things you can do includes phone-banking and text-banking — things you can do without necessarily driving up to St. Cloud.)

Minnesota House District 14B

Dan Wolgamott is running. He’s a realtor and high school football coach. The Republican has been in office since 1994, but had a razor thin margin of victory in 2016: 51/49. This district is in St. Cloud. Dan is running on a solidly progressive platform, including a ban on so-called “conversion therapy,” paid parental leave, and allowing anyone who wants to buy into MinnesotaCare.

Donate to Dan Wolgamott.
Volunteer for Dan Wolgamott.

Minnesota House District 21A

Lori Ann Clark is running. She is a small business owner who came to politics by way of her Indivisible group. Her priorities include affordable housing and child care (which she frames as key economic development issues), health care, rural broadband, and gun safety. The Republican incumbent was first elected in 2016 with a 55/45 margin.

Donate to Lori Ann Clark.
Volunteer for Lori Ann Clark.

Minnesota House District 28B

Thomas Treehus is running. He’s highlighting health care, farming, rural broadband and transportation issues. He ran in 2016 against the incumbent and is running again; in 2016, this district went 55/45.

Donate to Thomas Treehus.
Volunteer for Thomas Treehus.

Minnesota House District 32B

Jeff Peterson is running. The Republican incumbent was elected in a 2017 special election, 53/47 (defeating a different candidate). Jeff is a carpenter and school board member. One of his children was born with a heart problem: “Their family quickly learned what it’s like to make choices between paying for medical bills or their mortgage.” He highlights education, economic opportunities, and affordable health care.

Donate to Jeff Peterson.
Volunteer for Jeff Peterson.

Minnesota State House District 34B

Kristin Bahner is running. Kristin is an IT consultant and entrepreneur, and came into politics after helping to organize the Minnesota Women’s March in 2016. Her website highlights education (including universal Pre-K and helping schools to hire more teacher’s aides); the environment; and economic security (including livable wages). This district went 56/44 in 2016.

Donate to Kristin Bahner.
Volunteer for Kristin Bahner.

Minnesota House District 37B

Amir Joseph Malik is running. He is a lawyer from Illinois who now lives in Blaine, and emphasizes living-wage jobs, health care, the property tax burden on seniors, and education. Over on his Facebook page he has a post up saying that people who wear the Confederate flag to the Minnesota State Fair are spitting on the graves of Minnesota veterans (I like this guy) although as a constitutional rights attorney he recognizes their right to be assholes.  This district had a razor-thin margin in 2016 (50.26/49.52, or 168 votes), and the Republican incumbent is utterly reprehensible — possibly the comment about Confederate flags was a subtweet. GO DONATE TO THIS GUY.

Donate to Amir Malik.
Volunteer for Amir Malik.

Minnesota House District 38B

Ami Wazlawik is running. It went 57/43 last time, but this is an open seat. Ami went to St. Olaf College and did a stint in AmeriCorps; now she works for the White Bear Lake school district. Her website highlights her support for Marty’s Minnesota Health Plan; solving the achievement gap; and protecting the environment.

Donate to Ami Wazlawik.
Volunteer for to Ami Wazlawik.

Minnesota House District 42A

Kelly Moller is running. She’s a prosecutor who was inspired to go to law school after hearing her friends’ stories about sexual assault, and she works in the Hennepin County Attorney’s office. On her website, she highlights education (making sure students have mental health support; schools can meet the needs of students with disabilities; and college is made more affordable); health care (allowing anyone to buy into MinnesotaCare); environmental protection; jobs and transportation (including collective bargaining rights). This was an extremely close race in 2016, decided by 125 votes.

Donate to Kelly Moller.
Volunteer for Kelly Moller.

Minnesota House District 44A

Ginny Klevorn is running. She’s a business owner and professional mediator who has worked as a guardian ad litem in juvenile court. Her website highlights education (predictable funding that keeps pace with inflation — you’d think this would be obvious, wouldn’t you?); health care (she wants to allow Minnesota residents to buy into the same health plan legislators get); and support for small businesses. She is trying again against the Republican incumbent. This district went 54/46 in 2016.

Donate to Ginny Klevorn.
Volunteer for Ginny Klevorn.

Minnesota House District 49A

Heather Edelson is running. She is a psychotherapist who was a first-generation college graduate (after what sounds like a very difficult childhood; she describes her mother as “loving but strong-willed” and she moved out at 16). She has also volunteered as a guardian ad litem in child-protection cases. She talks about the usual issues (education, health care, seniors) with a strong emphasis on mental health issues, since she’s coming from that background. (Under “Gun Safety,” she includes, “Support initiatives to help increase student mental health service access in schools, to improve awareness of mental illness, and to improve outcomes.”) This district was 51/49 in 2016.

Donate to Heather Edelson.
Volunteer for Heather Edelson.

Minnesota House District 52B

Ruth Richardson is running. She’s a black woman, so if you’re skimming this list overwhelmed by the white-bread-ness of most of the candidates, go donate to her (or to Amir Malik). She comes from a large blue collar family and worked three jobs to put herself through law school. Her website highlights gun safety legislation; better school funding and universal Pre-K; union support; and reproductive rights. In 2016, this race was decided by 121 votes.

Donate to Ruth Richardson.
Volunteer for Ruth Richardson.

Minnesota House District 54A

Anne Claflin is running. She is a research scientist for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and not surprisingly, her signature issue is water. (Instead of an “Issues” page, she has a “Clean Water” page. Her Twitter feed is also heavily water-focused.) This district went 52/48 in 2016.

Donate to Anne Claflin.
Volunteer for Anne Claflin.

Minnesota House District 54B

Tina Folch is running. She works in government, doing strategic planning. Her website highlights infrastructure, affordable higher education, and affordable health care. She also mentions protecting local government control. (So, the right of cities like Minneapolis to impose their own minimum wage ordinance.) This district went 55/45 in 2016.

Donate to Tina Folch.
Volunteer for Tina Folch.

Minnesota House District 55A

This is an open seat. Brad Tabke is running. He’s a former mayor of Shakopee who has a “Manifesto” instead of an issues page, where he highlights workforce development, a transportation system, affordable housing, and education. He also talks about working to reduce racial disparities. (“It is unconscionable to me that Minnesota can simultaneously rank second best in the nation for raising a family while also being second worst in the nation for racial inequities.”) This district went 56/44 in 2016, but it’s an open seat, which I think makes it potentially a pickup.

Donate to Brad Tabke.
Volunteer for Brad Tabke.

Minnesota House District 56B

Alice Mann is running. She is a family-practice doctor who immigrated to Minnesota from Brazil when she was a child. In addition to working at the Lakeville Family Health Clinic, she’s done volunteer stints providing medical care in Puerto Rico after Maria, and in a Syrian refugee camp. Not surprisingly, her website emphasizes health care policy, as well as education and affordable childcare. This district went 53/48 in 2016.

Donate to Alice Mann.
Volunteer for Alice Mann.

Minnesota House District 57B

John Huot is running. He has a particularly interesting bio: he lost his older brother in the Vietnam War, then his mother to cancer, and since his father was unable to care for him alone, he was raised by an older sister. He was befriended by a predator priest who molested him, and he was one of the first in Minnesota to receive a settlement. As an adult, he became a firefighter/EMT, worked for thirty years in emergency services, started a flower shop that failed, and is now a realtor. His website emphasizes living wages and union organizing; affordable health care that does not depend on an employer; environmental protection (he’s currently on the Community Advisory Council to the Pine Bend Refinery); veteran services (he notes that his father had PTSD from his service); and public safety. He also ran in 2016; that race went 54/46.

Donate to John Huot.
Volunteer for John Huot.

Donate to Hold

These are races where a Democrat currently holds the seat, but it was very close last time, and you should consider donating because we will also need to hold swing seats if we want to take the House!

Minnesota House District 19A

This is currently held by a Democrat who is not running again. Jeff Brand is the DFL candidate this year. His platform emphasizes transportation, education, agriculture, and child care. The district went 53/47 in 2016. The Republican (who also ran last time) is pro-tobacco (seriously!) and wants to deregulate day cares (I mean, he’s probably correct that there’s be less of a day care shortage if fewer expectations like “don’t leave the Tide Pods where the kids can eat them” were imposed on day care providers, but I’m not sure that’s a great solution here?)

Donate to Jeff Brand.
Volunteer for Jeff Brand.

Minnesota House District 20B

Again: currently a Democratic seat, but the incumbent legislator is not running again. Todd Lippert is running. He’s a UCC Minister and has been very involved with ISAIAH, which is a left-wing Christian organizing group. He highlights health care and “the caring economy” (child care, elder care, end-of-life care); education; and clean energy. This district went 54/46 last time.

Donate to Todd Lippert.
Volunteer for Todd Lippert.

Minnesota House District 25B

Duane Sauke is the incumbent. A former public school teacher, he narrowly won this seat for the first time in 2016 (52/48). He is highlighting civility, education (including early childhood education, and lowered tuition for public university students), and economic development (including affordable housing and livable wages).

Donate to Duane Sauke.
Volunteer for Duane Sauke.

Minnesota House 37A

Erin Koegel is the incumbent. She was elected for the first time in 2016, and the vote went 47/45/8, with the 8% being taken by a Libertarian who doesn’t appear to be in the race this time. Her website highlights transportation, small business development, and education.

Donate to Erin Koegel.
Volunteer for Erin Koegel.

Minnesota House District 48A

Laurie Pryor is the incumbent. She was first elected in 2016; the race went 52/48. Her website emphasizes gun safety laws; better regulation of assisted living facilities; a hands-free cell phone law; and requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay to help solve the problem of opiate addiction.

Donate to Laurie Pryor.
Volunteer for Laurie Pryor.

Minnesota House District 57A

This was Erin Maye Quade’s district, which she won fairly narrowly (52/48) in 2016. Robert Bierman is running. He’s a small business owner. His website emphasizes education (including increasing access to trade schools, magnet schools, and internship programs); environmental issues; health care (negotiating lower prescription drug costs and expanding access to MinnesotaCare); and gun safety (he supports funding public health research).

Donate to Robert Bierman.
Volunteer for Robert Bierman.

Bonus Races to Donate To

Joe Perske for Minnesota Senate, MN-13

This was Michelle Fischbach’s district until she got yanked out to serve as Lieutenant Governor. She was initially pretty cranky about this, then decided she liked the job, and ran as Tim Pawlenty’s running mate. Then (SURPRISE!) he lost in the primary.

Anyway, this is a serious long-shot race: Michelle Fischbach won with 69% of the vote in 2016. But if the Democrats can take it, that would flip the Senate. This race qualifies for the PCR.

Donate to Joe Perske.

Dave Hutch for Hennepin County Sheriff

Dave Hutch is running against aggressively assholish Trump-supporting racist, Rich Stanek. Hennepin County overwhelmingly went for Clinton over Trump — 63% to 28% overall, and even most of the suburban precincts are blue. I think Dave Hutch has a real shot here if he has the resources to make sure people know what they’re getting in Stanek vs. from him. This race is not eligible for the PCR.

Donate to Dave Hutch.
Volunteer for Dave Hutch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elections 2018: Minnesota State Rep, 60B

This is currently Ilhan Omar’s seat, but she pulled out of this race to run for Keith Ellison’s when he pulled out of that race to run for Minnesota Attorney General. There are now seven people running to replace her.

On the ballot:

Mohamud Noor
Mary Mellen
Peter Wagenius
Angelo Jaramillo (has suspended his campaign & endorsed Noor)
Cordelia Pierson
Haaris Pasha
Joshua Preston

Peter Wagenius is a personal friend of mine.

Continue reading

Election 2016: State Representative District 60A

(By request.)

This is a much more interesting race than a typical Minneapolis legislative race, because there’s no Republican at all and the Democrat is instead being challenged by an “Independent Progressive Liberal.”

The two candidates:

Diane Loeffler (incumbent, DFL)
Gabe Barnett (challenger, endorsed by the Green Party, chose to list his party as “Independent Progressive Liberal.”)

Diane Loeffler has been in the legislature for 12 years. Per her Wikipedia page, she has actual bona fide expertise on health care policy; she’s a health care policy analyst and planner for Hennepin County as her day job. Not surprisingly, if you click the Issues page on her website, the first thing you’ll see is a page about health care.

She supports “universal access” (“Universal access to affordable health care whether unemployed, self-employed or involved in a small business”) and doesn’t talk on her website about single-payer, even as a long-term sort of goal. In talking about costs, she focuses on “changes the promote health, prevention, and universal coverage,” which…okay. I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers here and I am not an expert, but. There’s only so much you can do to get people to voluntarily make changes that “promote health.” (We’ve successfully shifted societal norms around smoking, but that took literally decades.) I think the idea that we can control health costs by encouraging healthy lifestyle choices is really questionable. It’s a politically safe answer but I’m super doubtful, in part just due to all the many people I’ve known over the years who were perfectly healthy until suddenly they weren’t.

On the plus side, she talks about both “support for home care” and “an improved system of options when home care isn’t enough,” and it is really damn rare to see people address caregiving; she’s clearly aware of the importance of not incentivizing self-destructive behavior (if it’s expensive to get a mammogram, a lot of people will just skip it); and public health approaches.

I was thinking that I really thought there should be some up-to-date information on how she wants to deal with MNsure-related stuff but then I got to her “Fairness and Respect” issues page and saw that it includes “Formally recognize in law all long-term committed relationships, including gay and lesbian partnerships” and now I’m curious when she last updated this site in any way.

Gabe Barnett’s campaign site is a Facebook page. He has a little sidebar that links to gabebarnett.com but when I clicked, that just took me back to the FB page. A campaign FB is definitely better than nothing, but if you want to track down someone’s position on issues they’re a lot harder to find.

In his pinned post up top, he says, “Our community’s leaders should share our values of equity, justice, and compassion for all people, regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, or income. Our elected officials should share our passion for a truly sustainable approach to the environment, and remain steadfast in our goal of protecting our natural resources and stopping climate change. Our representatives in St. Paul should be leading the conversation on these progressive ideals, and pushing the envelope on innovative ways to address them with integrity and conviction.” Someone left a question asking how he differed from Loeffler, and he said, “Thanks for inquiring. We will be releasing my full platform in the coming weeks.” On his FB page, the closest thing I found to a platform is this image. I’ll note two things: (1) the image was posted in May, and he promised a full platform soon in June, so this is definitely not what he meant. (2) if you’re using a screen reader, images of text on Facebook are completely inaccessible. So if you’re blind, you’re not going to be able to read it.

I will admit that I feel some hostility toward people who talk a good line about progressivism, but even while campaigning, can’t be bothered to do a few really minimal things (like not posting important text in picture-only format).

I guess I’ll also note that the text starts out, “Together WE can… * get corporate money and influence out of Minnesota politics and restore power to the people. * eradicate institutional racism, sexism, and classism from the public sector” — so, no ableism listed. (It goes on for 15 more lines that I’m not going to type out. If you’re using a screen reader, I would strongly encourage you to e-mail Gabe at gabe.for.northeast@gmail.com and ask him to send you a text version.)

Fundamentally it looks like he doesn’t disagree with Loeffler on much; he thinks that in general the Northeast representative should be trying to push the Overton Window to the left and apparently doesn’t think Loeffler’s doing a good job there. Here’s his statement: “I believe that, as progressive and diverse as Northeast is, we should be boldly leading the conversation on making Minnesota an inclusively equitable and sustainable state, not meekly toeing a moderate party line.”

And, okay, I kind of get where he’s coming from here, but you know, I am pretty sure he is vastly overestimating the legislature’s overall interest in listening to anyone’s Bold Conversation.

There’s a nice article about Gabe that ran in a freebie local paper. He starts out complaining that too many people ignore “down-ballot politics.” (Tell me about it, Gabe.) He also notes, “Whether it’s gay marriage, or smoking bans, or medical marijuana, these things happen when this city does it, then that state does it, then that county does it, then this city does it, and all of a sudden it’s a national movement” — and yeah, I think he’s often correct. He goes on to say he was inspired by Bernie (cool) and that he’s undecided on the Presidential race (less cool). (He does say that if it looks close in Minnesota he’ll hold his nose and vote for Hillary, and he isn’t super impressed by Jill Stein, either.) This article also talks about his in-person outreach to the community: “Social media’s a great tool…but again, local politics should be about community engagement.” To which I would say that community engagement is great, but when you’re talking about an area with almost 18,000 households and over 40,000 people, there are some real advantages to having a centralized place with a bunch of information about yourself, like a website. With your platform.

Gabe comes across as super young to me, but he’s actually 35, so not that much younger than I am. He’s a musician (a fairly successful one — his band, Gabe Barnett and Them Rounders, has performed at First Ave).

Fundamentally, here’s what strikes me about this race.

There’s a legitimate philosophical question about what you want from your elected representatives. Do you prefer someone who is pragmatic, who will set smaller, more achievable goals and get more of those things done, or would you prefer someone who is idealistic, who will have big goals and try to inspire people to work toward that goal, and who (honestly) probably won’t get anything done in the short term? If what you want is something big and sweeping, do you think you’re more likely to achieve it in baby steps, or with the revolutionary, aim-for-the-moon approach?

At this point in my life, I will pick the pragmatist pretty much every time. Half a loaf is not only better than no loaf, it’s way more than I was expecting. Typically I feel like I’m doing pretty well if we get 1/4 of a loaf. But I have very close friends whose views I respect who want their representative to throw that loaf to the side and say “you motherfucker, that is HALF. HALF A LOAF. For people who have NO BREAD. Why should we take this?”

I guess what I really want (and what I definitely feel like I had in my old district and have in my current district) is a legislator who will grab that half a loaf and put it somewhere safe and them come back to the table and pitch a fit about the missing half.

Is that what 60A has in Diane Loeffler? This is one of the things that’s harder to know from outside the district. Even if she’ll just shrug and take the half-loaf, though, that’s who I’d want representing me in the legislature because so much of what the legislature is about is fighting for these incremental changes in the face of complete intransigence. (I mean, the titanic fight that got us passage of one of the strictest medical marijuana laws in the country would be a good illustration of this.)

Diane Loeffler’s “Results” page has some hilarious examples of what I mean, though. It includes, “Diane worked to make more aware of property tax refunds (1/3 of those eligible don’t apply).” This is one of those tiny accomplishments that nonetheless put a chunk of money in the pocket of a bunch of people who were probably able to make good use of it. She got $24 million allocated to replace a bridge in the Northeast that was in particularly poor condition. She mentions helping to pass the graduated licensing law, which restricts new teenage drivers. (Some of this stuff looks really old. I think this really might have been a good year to update her site, though possibly she checked out her opponent’s FB page and the fact that he never got a platform uploaded made her figure she didn’t need to bother.)

If I lived in this district, it’s possible that Gabe would door-knock me and blow me away so much I’d vote for him. But part of my attitude here (which also heavily influenced my preferences during the Democratic primary) is that I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, immersed in the talk-a-good-line, never-get-shit-done school of progressivism, and I’m kind of over it. If you have goals like “make Minnesota’s public colleges tuition-free” I have a lot of questions. Where are you going to get the money? How are you going to set this up so it’s not just a blank check for the university to spend money on stupid shit? How long will individuals from other states have to live here to qualify for residency, and how will this impact the ability of Minnesotans to get in to our colleges and universities? Will this be an unlimited sort of deal or four years only? What if someone changes their major? What about students who come in needing remedial work? …I mean, it’s not that I don’t think this is a good idea. At the very least, I think that public college tuition should be something that every student can pay for by working part-time in a crappy job. (I also think that if someone got B’s and A’s in college-preparatory classes at their high school and arrived at the university and got told they needed remedial classes, their school district should be on the hook for the cost of the remediation.) And finally, how are you going to accomplish this when the legislature wasn’t even able to pass a transportation bill? There are 5.457 million Minnesotans; the House Rep for 60A will represent 40,000 of them.

(If you have a request for an analysis of a Minneapolis or St. Paul race I haven’t written about, feel free to let me know. I don’t do suburban or outstate races because I’m insufficiently versed in local jargon, hot-button issues, etc.)

Election 2016: State Representative District 63A

On the ballot:

Jim Davnie
Kyle Bragg

So there are a couple of politicians around I know personally, some from way, way back. I met Jim Davnie (State House representative for my old neighborhood) back in 2000, when he was first running. I did some lit-dropping over the summer and went to some campaign events. His wife and I were both pregnant. So when he door-knocked me in mid-October he started with “hi, I’m Jim Davnie, I’m running for–” and then broke off mid sentence when he processed that it was me, and I was holding a newborn, and that meant I’d had my baby. He squee’d over tiny Molly, asked about the birth, told me that he was not going to tell his wife (who’d had 24+ hours of back labor) about my ridiculously short-and-easy labor, and headed onward to introduce himself to someone else.

I really, really like Jim. Of all the local politicians, he’s the one who most reminds me of Paul Wellstone. He’s a committed progressive and also a terrific, rousing speaker. Once a high-school dropout, he’s now an educator, one of the major movers and shakers for the state anti-bullying bill, and in general a terrific voice for progressive values in the legislature. He’s one of the people I was always happy to vote for when I lived in Minneapolis.

Anyway, Jim’s website is here.

I looked up Kyle Bragg and was immediately sort of surprised that a black man who’s a union organizer was running as a Republican. Then I realized that this Kyle Bragg lives in New York and also this confused me two years ago, as well.

When I searched “kyle bragg mn,” my 2014 post about this race was the fifth hit down. Right below the whitepages link. That’s truly pathetic, Kyle. You could set up a Facebook page for your campaign. You could set up a LinkedIn page for your campaign. You could set up a GoFundMe page for your campaign and okay it’s not like I actually recommend that option but it’s less pathetic than what you’ve got, which is nothing.

The third hit down was a page for the SD63 Republicans, with a drop-down “pick the guy you want to e-mail” contact form. Kyle is one of them, so if you want to ask him any question, have at, I guess? The other thing of interest I discovered is that this guy I vaguely remember from college, Carleton Crawford, who I think ran the college Republican group, is now on the SD 63 Republicans Executive Committee.

On page two I found Kyle’s LinkedIn, which I’m leaving here so I can find it two years from now when he runs again and still doesn’t put up a campaign web page. Pretty sure this is his Facebook. He takes some very nice shots of the changing seasons in the Twin Cities.

Vote for Jim Davnie.

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.