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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

DFL Candidates For Governor: Next Six Posts

Category: MN 2016 Governor
Posted: 08/06/17 22:43

by Dave Mindeman

The next series of posts are from brief interviews (some not so brief) that I had with the DFL candidates for governor that attended the DFL State Central Committee meeting in Farmington - on Saturday, August 5th.

Of the 6 major declared candidates, I managed to talk to 5 of them. I missed only St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who had another commitment. I hope to talk to him sometime in the near future.

Judging by these conversations we have a great field of candidates for 2016. The debate should be spirited and they have a lot to say to us.

These talks did not cover all the topics I wanted to get to, but this is only the start of things - we have over a year to decide. So add this to your folder and keep attending the forums coming up for more information.

Now - to the candidates or their staff: If there is something wrong here or misinterpreted that you wish to clarify feel free to send me a note at:


and I will add it to the mix.

This election is an important one. Mark Dayton has moved on a strong agenda and he has had to play goalie at other times. But having a Democrat as Governor is an important cog in keeping our state great and ready to meet its future.

I realize that Trump has been occupying a lot of our time. But in order to make the resistance have greater meaning, state and local legislative races need to garner our attention as well.

Stay informed. Stay vigilant. Keep the faith.
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DFL Gov Candidate Series: Cong. Rep. 1st District Tim Walz

Category: MN 2016 Governor
Posted: 08/06/17 22:40

(This is the 1st in a series on DFL Gov candidates for 2016)

by Dave Mindeman

A couple days ago I got an out of the blue reply on a tweet regarding Tim Walz from Ben Golnik (Kurt Daudt's shadow) which stated that progressives shouldn't be happy with Walz because he has been endorsed by the NRA. While grateful to Golnik for his concern about the progressive viewpoint, it seemed more like Golnik has concerns about Walz's potential against his boss in the governor's race.

Although, the source is questionable, the question remains about how progressive is Tim Walz? Yes, he was endorsed by the NRA and yes, he is an avid hunter and sportsman. I had the opportunity to explore that question as Tim Walz came to Farmington yesterday for the DFL State Central Committee gathering.

He graciously gave me some of his time and we discussed this topic. The first thing he pointed out is that although he was endorsed by the NRA and welcomed the endorsement, he is NOT a card carrying member. And, although he is in total agreement in regards to 2nd amendment rights, he differentiates the rights of hunters and sportspersons from the gun rights issues promoted today.

He expressed his views on current topics. YES - he most definitely supports background checks. NO - he is against extending reciprocity from other states. Minnesota laws are for Minnesota. NO - he does not support the silencer provisions. And, most importantly, NO - he does not support Stand Your Ground.

It seems that Walz is not looking to push for any NRA agenda in the legislature and he seems confident that large issue gun law changes via the NRA lobby are not in the works. He is open to gun safety regulations but will probably look at them on a case by case basis.

He seemed to be fairly clear that although he supports 2nd Amendment rights, he seems to be saying that gun safety regulatory advocates will get a fair hearing if he is governor.

I wanted to get to several other issues with Rep. Walz but I didn't want to take up too much of his time. I saw him give a speech at the Hogroast fundraiser a little later and was impressed with the passion he portrays about a variety of issues. His trademark baseball hat and casual dress make you feel that he is approachable and a good listener. He was off to the side playing with some little kids in that practiced grandfather mode prior to his speech.

Tim Walz looks ready for the challenge.
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DFL Gov Candidate Series: State Auditor Rebecca Otto

Category: MN 2016 Governor
Posted: 08/06/17 22:36

(This is the 2nd installment in the DFL Gov candidate series.)

by Dave Mindeman

Rebecca Otto will defend her credentials for governor to all comers. She speaks with confidence about her record and is quick to point out that she has run several successful statewide races already and is more than ready to do battle for governor.

She pushes back against any perception that she might not run well in the 8th District - citing the statistic that she ran 12% better than Rep. Nolan did in the 8th District. Although it is only fair to point out that the flood of money directed to the 8th District was not meant for her race - the margin is still impressive.

Otto has been building name recognition across the state and has, what she says, is a bold, economic plan for ALL of Minnesota which will lift all boats - rural and metro alike. The details of this plan are curiously, yet to be revealed, as some vetting needs to be done. But she talks about this plan with confidence in its reach and scope.

She is an absolute supporter of single payer...and wants any bill process for it to be open and transparent. She still has a bone to pick with the legislature over that bill that stripped some of her authority as state auditor. And she is adamant that the lawsuit she is pursuing will vindicate her view that this provision is unconstitutional. The auditor authority is provided for in the Constitution and that makes this law a violation of that compact. And although she states that this dead of night provision came out of Daudt's House - she has a wry smile about Tom Bakk's part in the drama as well.

We talked a little about messaging and she agrees that Democrats try too much of the long form explanation of issues. She goes back to her experience as an educator and wants to shorten the message. Get more ideas in a smaller space and reach out to the public with that.

I think Rebecca, (with maybe an equal emphasis by Paul Thissen), is the candidate most focused on making government transparent. This is an important issue since so many of our legislative sessions have had decisions made in the final hours behind closed doors with only leadership allowed in.

Rebecca Otto has definite designs on being Minnesota's first female governor.
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