3rd Annual Jackie Stevenson Dinner set for July 12

DNC Vice Chairman R.T. Rybak is keynote speaker

Our keynote speaker will be former Minneapolis Mayor and current Executive Director of Generation Next, R.T. Rybak.
Our keynote speaker will be former Minneapolis Mayor and current Executive Director of Generation Next, R.T. Rybak.

Congressional District 3 DFL will hold the 3rd Annual Jackie Stevenson Dinner Sunday, July 12 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bloomington. The event begins with a social hour and silent auction at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m.

Stevenson, who passed away in 2012, was a DFL party leader. She mentored candidates and was a trusted advisor to many. Stevenson attended state conventions for more than 50 years and was a former president of the DFL Feminist Caucus.

This year’s keynote speaker is Democratic National Committee (DNC) Vice Chairman R.T. Rybak. Rybak served three terms as the mayor of Minneapolis and currently is head of Generation Next, a partnership of education, community, government and business leaders aimed at closing the achievement gap between white and minority students.

The following awards will be presented that evening:  (more…)

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Welcome to CD3 DFL

cd3_smallWe’re the volunteer organization of the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) covering Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District. The map of the area is to the left. Our district covers:

Brooklyn Park
Bloomington
Champlin
Chanhassan
Chaska
Coon Rapids
Corcoran
Dahlgren
Dayton
Deephaven
Eden Prairie
Edina
Excelsior
Greenfield
Greenwood
Independence
Laketown
Long Lake
Loretto
Maple Plain
Maple Grove
Medicine Lake
Medina
Minnetonka
Minnetonka Beach
Minnetrista
Mound
Orono
Osseo
Plymouth
Plymouth
Rogers
Shorewood
Spring Park
St. Bonifacius
Tonka Bay
Victoria, and
Wayzata.

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In the Know: July 7, 2015

Events today

  • The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate reconvene after their 4th of July recess.
  • 9 a.m. – DFL Chairman Ken Martin meets with the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune.
  • 10 a.m. – Rep. Frank Hornstein, Rep. Sheldon Johnson, first responders, and concerned community members will hold a press conference on the release of the rail companies emergency preparedness plans. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Parking Lot, 520 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul.
  • 11 a.m. – DFL Chairman Ken Martin, Rep. Tina Liebliing and Rep. Kim Norton meet with the editorial board at the Rochester post Bulletin.
  • Noon – DFL Chairman Ken Martin hosts a lunch for local DFLers at Valentino’s Pizza in Rochester.

 

Mark your calendars

  • July 8 – Join the Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation and the Saint Paul Building & Construction Trades Council as we break ground on a new home. 3 p.m., 385 W 7th St., St. Paul.
  • July 8 – Senate District 42 DFL will host a prevailing wage/right to work forum from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Roseville Library, 2180 N Hamline Ave., Roseville.
  • July 12 – The Congressional District 2 DFL will host a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Legislative Issues Forum from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley. For further information, contact Terry Friedrichs, CD 2 Outreach/Inclusion Committee, at 612-859-9676.
  • July 25 – The Kanabec County DFL will host our annual Post-Parade Reception at the Masonic Hall, 800 S Union St, Mora. The parade begins at 4:30 p.m. Join the Kanabec DFL for hotdogs and discussion.
  • July 30 – The Minnesota Nurses Association would like to cordially invite you to the Medicare turns 50 Birthday BBQ Bash on Thursday, July 30 from 5 – 8 p.m. in St. Paul. Medicare is an American as apple pie (Protect Improve Expand Medicare) so join us for an all American birthday BBQ, as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Medicare, one of the greatest social safety net pieces of legislation ever signed into law and what we hope to be the basis of a single payer system for our entire nation. Highland Park Picnic Shelter, 1227 Montreal Ave. St. Paul.

2015 Legislative Session

DFL Chair Ken Martin on Bakk-Dayton, Daudt’s performance, and ‘throwaway’ legislative deals, MinnPost 

2016 election

GOP State Sen. Branden Petersen won’t seek reelection, MinnPost

GOP state Sen. Branden Petersen won’t seek re-election, MPR

State senator Branden Petersen joins list of Republicans exiting Minnesota Legislature in 2016, Star Tribune

Former local party chairman to seek state Senate seat, Chanhassen Villager

Upcoming polls to lock in GOP debate field, Politico 

What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Marco Rubio will deliver his first major domestic policy address of the campaign in Chicago, focusing on technology issues, before attending a fundraiser in Windsor Heights, Iowa, hosted by Chris Hagenow. Hillary Clinton will give her first national television interview of the 2016 election cycle to CNN at 5 p.m. Ben Carson will speak at a business breakfast in New Hampshire hosted by Renee Plummer. The Washington Post

Confederate flag

6 key moments from the South Carolina Senate’s strikingly blunt Confederate flag debate, The Washington Post

S.C. Senate votes to take down flag; House OK still needed, MPR

Holiday parade wasn’t time or place to display Confederate flag on city truck, Star Tribune

Sack Confed Firefighter

Congressional delegation

Klobuchar

Aspen Ideas Festival: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, MPR

Economy

High-tax Minnesota number 1, Fargo Forum

Study finds African immigrants more powerful economic force than previously thought in Twin Cities, Star Tribune

There’s more to a booming economy than taxes, MPR

Political Junkie: Will Greece’s troubles affect U.S. economy? MPR

Our View: How can we solve ‘workforce squeeze’? Rochester Post Bulletin

Education (E-12)

Minnesota gets more preschool funding, but for fewer kids, some predict, Pioneer Press 

As Congress debates education this week, Republicans will highlight how far to the right they have moved on the issue since the No Child Left Behind Act passed in 2001. Even though the law significantly expanded the federal government’s role, only six Republican senators opposed it. Keep in mind that, running for president just five years before the law was approved, Bob Dole supported eliminating the Department of Education altogether. But George W. Bush pulled his party along with him by pushing for passage of NCLB. It was actually GOP negotiators pushing hardest for standards, challenging both teacher unions and what Bush 43 memorably called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” In case you need another reminder, this is no longer George W. Bush’s Republican Party. Though his brother Jeb continues to support Common Core, with softened rhetoric, conservative grassroots activists have re-embraced their federalist roots and historic skepticism of any federal involvement. The Washington Post

Labor

Today in history

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Marriage equality

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) will push Speaker John Boehner for a resolution of disapproval concerning the Supreme Court’s gay marriage. It would be nonbinding but could force Republicans to go on the record anew. “We should bring it to the floor and have a debate and let people register their positions,” the congressman told The Post’s Ed O’Keefe in an interview yesterday afternoon. King, who has a lot of sway with activists in conservative northwest Iowa, wants 2016ers to weigh in more on the issue. He complained that he’s heard “a good number of tepid responses” from presidential candidates on this. “I think it’s important to let the public know where they stand,” he said. The Washington Post 

Minnesota Capitol

Too many governor portraits? State Capitol art panel to hear from public, MPR

After state Capitol remodel, where should the art go? Pioneer Press

Secretary of State

Secretary of State pays rare visit to county, Pipestone County Star News

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2015 Jackie Stevenson Dinner Silent Auction

We’re starting to get specifics on the items that will be available for bid at our Jackie Stevenson Dinner Sunday, July 12, 2015:

Take the Family to Buca! donated by Karen Chandler and Craig Schulz
Bloody Mary Basket donated by Brian Baker
Lunch with Leadership donated by Leader Paul Thissen and Deputy Leader Erin Murphy
Artisan Handbag by Prairie Home Living donated by Sharon Borine
Thou Shalt Not Whine Sign donated by Sharon Borine
Off to College Basket I donated by Sharon Borine
Off to College Basket II donated by Sharon Borine
Democratic Collectible donated by Paul Bengston
Democratic Collectible donated by Paul Bengston
Democratic Collectible donated by Paul Bengston
Bench Handcrafted by the Carpenter’s Union donated by Rep. Michael Nelson
Humphrey Mug donated by Rep. Michael Nelson
Women Vote Collection donated by Megan Thomas
Photographic Portrait Session and 16 x 20″ Canvas donated by Amanda Scheid
Autographed Franken for Senate Ad donated by Ardis Wexler
Program Autographed by Bernie Sanders donated by Ardis Wexler.

Check back often. We’ll be adding information on more items as we receive them.

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GOP 2016ers protect the right to discriminate

Headshot_Gov.-elect_PenceOn Wednesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Right to Discriminate law went into effect. 

When Pence gave businesses the right to discriminate against members of the LGBT community, his approval ratings plummeted nearly 20 points in his home state and he was quickly disregarded as a serious presidential contender.  

This comes as no surprise though.  Across the country this past week, Americans celebrated the Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage – and most are opposed to Pence’s bill. 

And yet, even after the events of the last weeks and months – the 2016 GOP field are still standing against equality. 

Here’s what they have said: 

  • Jeb Bush on Hugh Hewitt: “Governor Pence has done the right thing.” 
  • Rand Paul voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and suggested whether business should have the right to discriminate based on sexual orientation should be left up to the “marketplace.” 
  • Ted Cruz sponsored legislation that would give organizations a license to discriminate against same-sex couples and believes that the government should not force anyone to serve same-sex couples if they say it goes against their religion. 
  • Chris Christie: “I know Mike Pence, and he’s got nothing but love in his heart for people and I just do not believe that in any way Mike Pence would intend for anything that happen in his state on his watch to be discriminatory towards any person.” 
  • Marco Rubio voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because he thought it would provide “special protections” for gay people and he also believes businesses should be able to discriminate against the LGBT community. 
  • Rick Perry: “I stand with @GovPenceIN.” 
  • Scott Walker: “‘As a matter of principle, Gov. Walker believes in broad religious freedom and the right for Americans to exercise their religion and act on their conscience,’ AshLee Strong, the press secretary for Walker’s Our American Revival, said in a statement.

 

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Governor Dayton’s Decision to Raise Cabinet Salaries

What’s really going on with this situation? Here’s some background:

Early this year, using authority that lawmakers granted in 2013, Gov. Dayton approved salary increases for more than two-dozen top officials. Under an agreement reached in February, those salaries were temporarily rolled back to previous levels until July 1. Gov. Dayton used his authority last week to make those salaries permeant.

  • Agency head compensation rates have not been updated in 12 years.
  • The new salary levels were based on the recommendations of the bipartisan Compensation Council. The council was comprised of both public and private sector individuals as well as current and former legislators.
  • The Governor’s action makes progress towards agency heads becoming more comparable to private sector executive compensation and county government compensation so that the state can attract and retain the executive talent necessary to provide the level of services Minnesotans expect and deserve. 
  • The Governor made that decision in order to recruit and retain the best and brightest to service in state government, and to ensure these positions remain competitive with other public sector positions in local government and higher education.

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In the Know: July 6, 2015

Mark your calendars

  • July 8 – Join the Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation and the Saint Paul Building & Construction Trades Council as we break ground on a new home. 3 p.m., 385 W 7th St., St. Paul.
  • July 8 – Senate District 42 DFL will host a prevailing wage/right to work forum from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Roseville Library, 2180 N Hamline Ave., Roseville.
  • July 12 – The Congressional District 2 DFL will host a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Legislative Issues Forum from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley. For further information, contact Terry Friedrichs, CD 2 Outreach/Inclusion Committee, at 612-859-9676.
  • July 30 – The Minnesota Nurses Association would like to cordially invite you to the Medicare turns 50 Birthday BBQ Bash on Thursday, July 30 from 5 – 8 p.m. in St. Paul. Medicare is an American as apple pie (Protect Improve Expand Medicare) so join us for an all American birthday BBQ, as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Medicare, one of the greatest social safety net pieces of legislation ever signed into law and what we hope to be the basis of a single payer system for our entire nation. Highland Park Picnic Shelter, 1227 Montreal Ave. St. Paul. 

2016 election

Stewart Mills seems to want another go at Rick Nolan and CD8, mn progressive project

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan says he will seek another term in 2016, Star Tribune

Jim Webb announces White House candidacy, The Hill

Jim Webb, a Vietnam vet who became Iraq war critic in Senate, enters 2016 Democratic race, Star Tribune

Sanders raises $15 million in first two months, The Hill

Bernie Sanders draws 600 at campaign event in Rochester, MinnPost

Sanders talks trade, research funding during Rochester visit, Rochester Post Bulletin

Bernie Sanders returns to Minnesota with liberal rallying cry, Pioneer Press

Sanders hammers on inequality during speech, MPR

The 10 Republicans most likely to win the GOP’s 2016 nod, The Hill

Voters are shifting to Democrats, flashing a warning for Republicans, The Washington Post

With social media tease, Scott Walker joins 2016 presidential race, Star Tribune

Indignant Bush says he takes Trump’s remarks on immigrants personally, Star Tribune

Cruz, Huckabee go head-to-head for evangelical votes, Pioneer Press 

In response to Jim Webb’s announcement that he will run for president in 2016, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

“I welcome Jim Webb’s bid to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2016. Senator Webb has a long and distinguished record of service to his country, both in the Marines and in public office. His leadership on the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a sterling example of the Democratic commitment to ensuring the opportunities available for our veterans when they return home.

“As the field of 2016 candidates rounds into shape, a stark contrast is developing between the Democratic and Republican parties. Democrats are fighting for middle class families, and those still struggling to get there. Republicans are concerned only with those already at the very top. Over the coming months, the difference between the Democratic plan to move our nation forward and Republican efforts to bring back the failed policies of the past will only grow more clear.”

Affordable Care Act

Minnesota ACA reform saved $61.5 million, can guide innovation, Star Tribune

Barack Obama: The health-care industry president, The Washington Post

Confederate flag

Fire truck flies Confederate flag alongside U.S. flag in Albert Lea holiday parade, Star Tribune

Minnesota firefighter flies Confederate flag in parade, Pioneer Press

Ignoring NASCAR’s request, some fans take a stand and display Confederate flags at Daytona, Star Tribune

Congress

Amid the bickering in D.C., real Minnesotans suffer from the gridlock, Star Tribune

Budget brinkmanship grips Capitol, The Hill 

Congressional delegation

Ellison

A month of fasting — and feasting — for Muslims in Washington, The Washington Post

Franken

Sen. Franken visits southeast Minnesota for Coffee with Congress, KTTC

Klobuchar

Klobuchar talks timber at Bemidji Potlatch plant: Senator stresses workforce training, forest management in Bemidji visit, Bemidji Pioneer

Sen. Klobuchar talks rail safety in the Borderland, KBJR

Klobuchar: Democrats waiting to see what’s in Iran deal, CBS 

Economy

Smaller work force, more part-timers: Job market unlikely to return to former strength, Star Tribune

Our View: Business ranking affirms good policy, Mankato Free Press

US adds 223K jobs in June, The Hill

Education (E-12)

Balancing integration and achievement goals in Minnesota schools, Star Tribune

Reactions to Dayton’s investments in education, Owatonna People’s Press

Education (higher)

Paul Thissen: Rochester U of M students face tuition hike next year, Rochester Post Bulletin

Environment

In farm country, tainted water is just the way it is, Star Tribune

Governor’s cabinet

Reality Check: Gov. Mark Dayton faces criticism for cabinet raises, WCCO

Political feud reopens as Dayton sets agency head pay, KARE

Daudt said he gave Dayton “one day” to increase commissioner salaries, Star Tribune

Another day, another episode of Minnesota politics, Grand Forks Herald

Iowa straw poll

Who needs barbecues and straw polls? Candidates have social media and super PACs, Star Tribune

Labor

Grocery store workers seek justice for unpaid wages, Workday Minnesota

Today in history

 image001

Legislature

Remember the legislative chaos? Minnesota lawmakers trying to find a better way, Pioneer Press

Legislator 2015 per diem reaches nearly $1.8 million, MPR

Marriage equality

43 years later, Minneapolis couple’s fight for marriage vindicated, Star Tribune

Faith groups press GOP for response to marriage ruling, The Hill

Obama

Obama defies second-term slump, The Hill

Obama blasts GOP on the economy: ‘Their ideas are bad,’ The Hill

President Obama touts new overtime rules, hits Gov. Scott Walker in La Crosse speech, Star Tribune

Obama defends his record and struts a little in Wisconsin, The Washington Post

Obama visits Walker’s turf, singles out Minnesota, Pioneer Press

In Wisconsin, Obama raps Gov. Walker’s policies, praises Minnesota, MPR

Under President Bush: 7.9 million lost insurance and 400,000 lost private sector jobs

Under President Obama:  16 million have gained insurance and 7 million have gained private sector jobs

Ryder Cup

Inside Ryder Cup’s lobbying effort to get millions from Minnesota lawmakers, MPR

Safe at Home

Simon helps boost Safe at Home, Worthington Daily Globe

State Capitol renovation

Minnesota is at the intersection of history, sensitivity, Star Tribune

Transportation

Minnesota sputters in race to keep up with road and transit needs, Star Tribune

Wisconsin

Welcome to Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, Mr. President, ajc.com

Obama, in Wisconsin, takes on Scott Walker, New York Times

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Sen. John Hoffman’s Capitol Corner

36HoffmanWe need an America with the wisdom of experience.  But we must not let America grow old in spirit. ~Hubert H. Humphrey 

As we gather to celebrate with family and friends, let us remember the freedoms we hold so dear. July 4th 1776, the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that include Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  No truer words could be said. Hubert. H Humphrey spoke of an America who is wise yet she is young in her zest for renewed justice and equality. All must have the right to feel the gentle winds of liberty across their face and hear the hope of opportunity marching in our great state and country. 

As you enjoy the beautiful backdrop of a Minnesota 4th of July, with all the trimmings, let us continue to carry the torch within burning brightly our freedom…standing tall with our pride.

Have a wonderful celebration and stay safe!

John-Hoffman-Signature-reverse-black

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Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming

From the folks at TED, here’s a powerful video:

Nick Hanauer is a rich guy, an unrepentant capitalist — and he has something to say to his fellow plutocrats: Wake up! Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Hear his argument about why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity … and prevent a revolution.

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In the Know: July 2, 2015

Events today

  • 9 a.m. – Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders will visit Rochester for a fundraiser brunch and town meeting at the Rochester International Event Center.
  • 1:20 p.m. – President Obama will speak about the economy at the Recreational Eagle Center, La Crosse.

Tomorrow

  • The Minnesota DFL office is closed. Everyone have a safe and fun-filled 4th of July weekend!

July 4th DFL

Save the date

  • July 8 – Senate District 42 DFL will host a prevailing wage/right to work forum from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Roseville Library, 2180 N Hamline Ave., Roseville.
  • July 12 – The Congressional District 2 DFL will host a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Legislative Issues Forum from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley. For further information, contact Terry Friedrichs, CD 2 Outreach/Inclusion Committee, at 612-859-9676.

2016 election

Hillary Clinton earned $45 million since April, The Washington Post

Jeb Bush made money the old fashioned way: from those seeking political access, MinnPost

In Wisconsin, Sanders appears to like-minded liberals, Pioneer Press

With liberal rallying cry, Sanders returns to Minnesota, KSTP

Scott Walker’s hard right turn in Iowa might hurt him elsewhere, New York Times

Bernie’s big crowd strategy, Politico

Agriculture

Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union vice president was one of 129 agricultural specialists names to trade advisory positions. The individuals named to the committees will play an important role as they represent one of the most important sectors to America’s export economy and they will provide advice as the discussions happen surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).  This will help to play an integral part of the export opportunities for American agriculture and will hopefully be the most ambitious trade agenda ever for America’s family farmers, ranchers and businesses of all sizes. Minnesota Farmers Union

Education (higher)

Attorney general sues company promising student loan debt ‘forgiveness,’ Fox 9

GOP

Young Republicans say party risks losing millennials after gay marriage ruling, The Hill

Labor

With first contract, home health care workers are invisible no more, Workday Minnesota

Obama’s overtime proposal becomes new flashpoint in America’s slow wage comeback, Star Tribune

After trade deal, Obama looks to repair rift with labor, MPR

Major League Soccer

Soccer stadium could land in St. Paul, MLS executive says, Star Tribune

MLS turns to St. Paul for stadium site after Mpls. misses deadline, MPR

Marriage equality

Defying SCOTUS on gay marriage licensing is not a legal option, Star Tribune 

State commissioner pay

Gov. Mark Dayton grants big raises to h is commissioners; Republicans cry foul, Star Tribune

GOP calls Dayton ‘out of touch’ following cabinet pay hike, WCCO

Dayton commissioner payroll increase tops $1 million, MPR 

Transportation

Southwest light-rail advisory committee recommends cuts to save line, Star Tribune

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In the Know: July 1, 2015

Events today

  • Gov. Dayton will announce raises for his commissioners. Agency head compensation rates have not been updated in 12 years. The new salary levels were based on the recommendations of the bipartisan Compensation Council. The council was comprised of both public and private sector individuals as well as current and former legislators.
  • President Obama will travel to Nashville for a speech on health care.
  • Sen. Franken will visit a Youth Farm site in North Minneapolis, where kids learn valuable skills by growing food and distributing it through local, youth run markets.
  • Sen. Franken, Congressman Ellison and Secretary of State Steve Simon will visit the Minneapolis Urban League to discuss efforts to protect the voting rights of all Americans.
  • What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham and Bobby Jindal will attend events in Iowa. Chris Christie will hold town hall meetings in New Hampshire. Bernie Sanders will hold a rally in Madison, Wis.
  • Lt. Gov. Smith will provide remarks at the Canadian Consulate’s Canada Day celebration.

Events Thursday

  • President Obama will visit the La Crosse area “for an event on the economy.”
  • Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders will visit Rochester for a fundraiser brunch and town meeting at 9 a.m. in the Rochester International Event Center.

Save the date

July 8 – Senate District 42 DFL will host a prevailing wage/right to work forum from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Roseville Library, 2180 N Hamline Ave., Roseville.  (more…)

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Doug Loon Nonpartisan? Not So Much

The spouse of HD48B representative, Jenifer Loon, has a new position per Adam Belz in the June 30, 2015, StarTribune. Please take the time to read the full article.  See if your head spins, too.

We’ve included some numbers to link you to those “what the what” statements that jumped out at us.

  1. The Chamber cites the issues of importance that are strong Democratic issues:  transportation and immigration
  2. Loon gives no credit to what the DFL legislature and Gov. Dayton have done to strengthen the economy, gives lip service to “improvement” with no details (improvement like in Wisconsin?)
  3. The Chamber and Loon worked to move the House to GOP controlled and he says the next step is changing the Minnesota Senate to GOP control
  4. Before working for the U.S. Chamber, he was a GOP Congressional staffer
  5. He calls the Chamber non-partisan.

“The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce announced Monday that its new president will be Douglas Loon, a longtime Midwest regional executive for the U.S. Chamber.

He will fill the vacancy left by the death last July of David Olson, who led the state’s largest business lobby for nearly a quarter century.

“A perfect choice. He’s smart. He has a good reputation with both sides of the aisle. He knows Minnesota well,” said Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership. “He’ll be well received at the Capitol.”

Loon, 50, grew up in South Dakota, worked in Washington for a Pennsylvania senator and has been based in Minnesota since 1998. His wife, Jenifer Loon, is a Republican state representative from Eden Prairie.

Douglas Loon will take the post in September and spend the fall months touring the state and preparing for next year’s legislative session.

The Chamber and its mostly Republican allies are coming off a strong year in which the GOP took the Minnesota House and logged a solid performance in the 2015 legislative session.

(1) Taxes and transportation were left unresolved and will be a battleground in 2016. The chamber also lists immigration reform and education as key issues, as the state struggles to deal with an aging workforce and the shifting demographics of its younger population.

Chamber members and leaders seethed over a 2013 tax hike on the wealthiest Minnesotans and a rise in the minimum wage. But the state’s economy has remained among the nation’s healthiest and unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since 2006.

“We know that Minnesota is a great place to start, build and grow a business,” Loon said. “It is not strictly the government that has built that. That is built by the private marketplace and their resiliency and ability to compete.”

Last week, the annual ranking by CNBC of the business environment in states — which named Minnesota the best state for business — provided a new moment for Democrats and Republicans to square off over what they believe is driving the state’s success.

(2) In an interview, Loon said CNBC’s accolade doesn’t mean the state can’t improve and pointed to the TV network’s finding of high taxes as a disadvantage for Minnesota businesses.

(3) The Minnesota Chamber, which represents more than 2,300 companies across the state, helped Republicans take control of the Minnesota House in 2014, and Loon said the next step is to win the Senate.

‘If you look at just the political landscape, that’s going to be a place where everybody’s going to put focus,’ he said. ‘I would describe it as protect and advance, protect the working pro-business majority that they enjoy and continue to expand it. We’re going to be looking for friends where we can find them, and on each issue you build coalitions of the willing.’

(5) But he also called the chamber a “nonpartisan organization” and said “pro-business” is not code for Republican. He rejected the notion that his appointment gives fuel to critics who say the chamber is just a fundraising and lobbying arm of the state GOP.

‘They may try to paint me with that broad brush, but the reality is I work for a nonpartisan organization now, and I expect to operate in a nonpartisan way at the chamber,” Loon said.

(4) After serving as legislative director for Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, early in his career, Loon has been at the U.S. Chamber since 1995 and based in – Minnesota since 1998.

He manages the national chamber’s seven regional offices that handle political and grass roots outreach. He also manages the U.S. Chamber’s Midwest region, which includes Minnesota.

One of Loon’s strengths is his experience working with local chambers and trade groups and the businesses that make up their backbone.

“I think he can relate well to small businesses that are the chamber’s bread-and-butter,” Weaver said.

Bill Blazar, who served as interim president and did not apply for the chamber’s president position, will guide Loon through the transition while returning to his previous role as senior vice president of public affairs and business development.”

You can read the full post here.

 

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