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If Democrats want to have a chance at winning back the US House, they’ll need to prove that they won’t consistently side with Big Environment, aka Big Green. During the Obama administration, Big Mining got the shaft without getting the mining project. Salena Zito’s latest article suggests that Democrats are rebuilding their relationship with Big Labor.

The union voters I talked to said they didn’t feel that Democrats in Washington had their back; that they were too progressive, too strident, and way out of touch with their lives and needs. “I think there were two factors at play with how union members, many union members turned away from the Democratic Party,” said Mike Mikus, a western Pennsylvania Democratic strategist who does campaign work for several unions. One is that they didn’t feel their economic issues needed to be addressed and pretty frankly it was in the Democratic playbook to play to the center meant taking on organized labor rather than any other Democratic constituency,” he said.

I’m not convinced that Democrats have figured it out yet, though. I don’t doubt that some Democrats have made the decision to support mining. That will give those Democrats a fighting chance in some districts. The problem is that they’re still part of a Democratic Party that’s dominated by environmental activists.

The Democratic Party won’t part ways with the environmental activists. The miners still remember this:

or this:

Tom Steyer and Alita Messenger won’t tolerate a significant shift back to mining, which is where most union workers are employed. The other industry where lots of union workers are employed is construction. Democrats still fight tooth-and-nail against pipeline projects. If I ran the NRCC, I’d remind voters in the heartland that Democrats are still funded by environmental activists. As long as that’s the case, labor will get shafted by the Democrats.

This amendment puts the DFL in a bind this election season. Right now, I’m betting that they’ll vote to put the constitutional amendment in front of voters.

Here’s what’s happening. For 3 years, Republicans have pushed for additional funding for roads and bridges. Then-House Transportation Chair Tim Kelly proposed dedicating “a portion of existing tax revenue to transportation. Those taxes may include the sales tax on auto parts as well as taxes on leased vehicles and rental cars.” Initially, the DFL balked, saying that the money wasn’t dedicated, then arguing that taking that money from the general fund would take money from health care and education.

This week, “Scott Newman finally got his bill in front of lawmakers for the first time.” His constitutional amendment would dedicate “sales tax dollars from vehicle leases and rentals toward transportation projects” to the building of roads and bridges.

It isn’t amazing that the GOP is attempting to put this question on the ballot. What’s astonishing is that it’s garnered the wide-ranging support that it’s gotten:

The coalition supporting the bill includes business groups like the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, contractors and some labor unions, including the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 and the Northern States Regional Council of Carpenters. “This is the biggest job creating bill you can pass this year,” said Jason George, the legislative and special projects director for Local 49, noting that the total spending would amount to dedicating less than 1 percent of the state budget toward transportation.

It isn’t surprising that the DFL opposes this constitutional amendment:

“There are two things we should be treating with the utmost caution, and it’s our general fund and our Constitution,” said Bradley Peterson with Greater Minnesota Cities. “Putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot for potentially $300 million per year is premature.” School groups and other labor unions, including SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, testified that the bill would limit the pool of funds available for education and health programs across the state, which don’t currently have any dedicated funding streams.

“We shouldn’t be pitting students against roads, and we shouldn’t be pitting healthcare against the trades,” said Sen. Matt Little, DFL-Lakeville.

The question now is whether the DFL actively opposes this proposed constitutional amendment or if they’ll support the construction unions. At this point, they’re in a can’t-win situation. Thanks to Sen. Newman, Minnesota’s roads will likely have dedicated funding for roads and bridges.

I don’t actually believe what the headline says. I just thought I’d use a headline the way progressives used words at CNN’s townhall meeting. That’s the one where people said Sen. Rubio had blood on his hands because he wouldn’t reject campaign contributions from the NRA.

What I can say with certainty is that the NEA isn’t in touch with its members on guns in schools. According to this article, the NEA issued a statement that said “Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms.”

Apparently, teachers in Ohio disagree:

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones told FOX Business’ Liz MacDonald that the response from teachers and school administrators has been overwhelming. “We thought we’d get 20, 25 signed up. We had 50 within the first hour. We had 100 within two hours, we had three hundred within like five hours. We offered to teachers first, then we start getting calls from a secretary that works in the school, janitors that work in the school,” Jones said.

More schools are beginning to train their educators to access or carry concealed weapons with reports suggesting there are now more than 1,000 school staffers in a dozen states with access to guns in schools spanning 225 districts.

Apparently, the people sitting on the front lines have a different opinion of what is and isn’t needed than the suits in the offices. Imagine that. Union leadership isn’t in touch with its members. That’s virtually unimaginable. (I’m kidding.)
Pay attention to this interview:

This is a paid professional law enforcement officer. Does the NEA seriously think that they know better how to protect schools than this police officer? Forgive me if I side with the police officer over the NEA on school security measures.

I find it disturbing that the NEA didn’t know that the thirst for arming teachers was this strong amongst teachers. Was it that the NEA didn’t know? Or was it that they knew and chose to not represent their dues-paying members? Both possibilities are frightening.

Saturday, Sen. Klobuchar, Sen. Tina Smith and Rep. Emmer brought their dog and pony show to St. Cloud to talk with Electrolux employees. This isn’t a criticism of Electrolux employees. It isn’t even a criticism of the federal government, though I’m not thrilled with the fact that Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

It’s mostly a criticism of the Dayton administration and the DFL. The DFL are the idiots who’ve created a hostile environment for companies. The DFL raised taxes. The DFL implemented unreasonable regulations. The DFL put in place systems that give special interests multiple bites at the same apple in terms of granting permits.

I can blame Sen. Klobuchar for wanting to accept more refugees than Minnesota can handle. That matters because of this information:

There’s also a segment of Somali workers, about one-quarter of the Electrolux workforce, Klobuchar said. One of the workers who spoke in the meetings is part of that community. Many of them don’t have a high school degree or came here for this job. “This is their whole life, the life they’ve known,” she said “Losing that community of the people you’ve worked with forever, you’re not going to be able to replace that and that was really heartbreaking.”

It was utterly predictable. Why would a company stay in a place and accept workers who weren’t considered part of a well-trained workforce? South Carolina has a better tax environment, a more skilled workforce and it’s a right-to-work state. Why would Electrolux choose to deal with union negotiations when it doesn’t have to?

Companies (and wealth) have been fleeing Minnesota for a couple decades. The DFL keeps pretending that everything’s just fine when things aren’t fine. It’s time for the DFL to finally admit that their policies aren’t pro-growth policies.

The DFL hasn’t hidden their support for public employee unions like AFSCME, SEIU and MAPE. That means they’ve supported the things described in this article. What’s outlined in this article, though, seems more like highway robbery than representation.

For instance, “Labor unions in a handful of states have been able to take a portion of [Medicaid payments paid to PCAs] by organizing all the personal caregivers as one bargaining unit. Lawmakers in those states have allowed the practice by implementing policies that classify the caregivers as public employees – but only for the purpose of collective bargaining.”

The previous paragraph describes who these PCAs are, saying “Medicaid funds can be provided to personal caregivers who care for an elderly and disabled individual. The caregiver in most cases is related to their client. It’s a system that allows for personalized treatment and oftentimes it allows families to care for loved ones. But it’s also a system that has enriched unions.”

The unions have enriched themselves to the tune of “$200 million annually from Medicaid funds through personal caregivers.” These aren’t public employees. They’re relatives. The union collects their dues but the relatives don’t get the benefits that the unions bargain for. What part of that sounds justifiable?

Here’s what happened in Minnesota:

The union practice exists in states like California, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont, and Connecticut Minnesota lawmakers, for instance, allowed a state union to organize Personal Care Providers (PCA) as a single bargaining unit by passing a law dictating they are state employees simply because they collect Medicaid funds. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton tried to do the same in 2011 through an executive order, but it failed in the courts.

The same bill that allowed unionization of in-home child care providers also authorized the unionization of family-based PCAs. Here’s part of the committee debate on that legislation:

Rep. Mahoney didn’t tell the truth. The union dues get taken out of money paid by government to in-home child care providers and PCAs. With PCAs, that money comes from Medicaid. These aren’t wages. They’re support payments paid to help families provide care for family members who otherwise might be housed in nursing homes or mental institutions. The state is actually saving money as a direct result of this program.

The family member is subsidized to care for family members because they’ve given up their jobs. That’s essentially a reimbursement paid in exchange for helping the state save money. That isn’t a wage.

“Medicaid will pay for homecare services for the elderly and disabled,” Nelsen told InsideSources. “The SEIU and AFSCME, back in the late 90s, when union membership was generally declining saw these workers, and this pool of Medicaid dollars, as a potential organizing opportunity.”

The U.S. Supreme Court addressed the issue to an extent during the 2014 case, Harris v. Quinn. The justices ruled that Illinois home care providers couldn’t be forced to pay dues because they weren’t technically state employees. Nelsen argues that unions and state leaders have found ways around those restrictions. “The states and unions have worked hand and glove to design a series of workarounds to the Harris v. Quinn decision, and to keep people paying dues whether they want to or not,” Nelsen said. “There are literally hundreds and thousands of these care providers around the country paying union dues to the SEIU and AFSCME against their will.”

In Minnesota, PCAs have petitioned the government to hold a decertification vote. If it’s held, the largest unionized bargaining unit will be decertified. The vote won’t be close.

When the unionization vote happened for in-home child care providers, it was rejected by a 1,014-392 margin. There’s no reason to think this vote won’t be similarly lopsided.

Liz Mair’s article strongly hints that the DFL would hold Sen. Franken’s seat if Sen. Franken resigned as a result of this ethics scandal. In her article, Mair wrote “It just so happens that Minnesota has a lot of Democratic women who could make for viable Franken replacements; at least six, depending on who you ask. One is Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. Another is Attorney General Lori Swanson. A third is State Auditor Rebecca Otto. A fourth is state House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman. A fifth is Rep. Betty McCollum. And a sixth is former state House Majority Leader Erin Murphy.”

Mair isn’t wrong that each of these women would be viable candidates in the eyes of DFL activists. The thing that Ms. Mair is missing is the fact that these candidates have in common is that they’re from the Metro. In the eyes of rural Minnesota, especially the Iron Range, these women would be rejected like Hillary was rejected. In fact, I’d posit that they’d get rejected worse than Hillary was in 2016.

Trump won the Eighth District with 53.76% of the vote to Hillary’s 38.27%. None of these candidates would do that well on the Range. Further, most of these candidates favor single-payer health care.

Meanwhile, Republicans have 2 candidates that would be able to run well in the suburbs, the exurbs & rural Minnesota. If Stewart Mills or Kurt Daudt were to run, they’d be favored because they both support the Iron Range, they both support the construction unions and they’re both seen as sensible policymakers.

The DFL’s biggest problem is that they’re the urban party, which helped them win statewide races in the past. That’s coming to an end because farmers and unions are abandoning the DFL because of the DFL’s hostility towards building pipelines, approving mining projects and Gov. Dayton’s hostility towards farmers. The sad part for the DFL is that Gov. Dayton is sensible compared with the 6 ladies mentioned earlier.

If Sen. Franken resigns, which looks more possible each week, Gov. Dayton will have a difficult decision. It’ll take quite a bit to wash the bitter taste of Sen. Franken out of people’s mouth:

At the end of the day, I’d put the DFL’s chances of holding Sen. Franken’s seat as a toss-up.

A trip to the Walz-Flanagan campaign website exposes the DFL’s lack of an economic message. Their campaign website doesn’t have an issues page, which is telling. On its homepage, it has a tiny portion of the page dedicated to explain why they’re running. That portion of the page says “running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor to make our vision of One Minnesota a reality. We are united in this vision: A Minnesota where every child has the opportunity to succeed and hope for the future, a Minnesota where the people whose lives are most impacted by public policy choices have a seat at the table, a Minnesota with fair wages, fully funded public schools, and affordable healthcare as a right, not a privilege and a Minnesota where we protect our environment, invest in renewable energy and jobs, and maintain our roads, bridges, and transit across the state. We want to bring this vision to the governor’s office and support the Minnesota we know and love.”

In other words, they’re running for Gov. Dayton’s third term. They’re running without explaining what economic goals they’ll fight for.

A quick view of Paul Thissen’s website doesn’t lay out a vision for Minnesota’s economy, either. It talks about how the Supreme Court should protect labor unions. It talks briefly how we should implement single-payer health care statewide. Thissen talks about legalizing marijuana, too. There isn’t anything in that pile of words that sounds like he has a clue about capitalism. Then again, his legislative record hasn’t shown him to have a clue about creating high-paying middle class jobs so we shouldn’t be surprised.

Erin Murphy’s campaign website has a ‘Why I’m Running‘ page but it doesn’t have an issues page, much less an explanation of what economic policies she’d implement.

Of the 4 DFL gubernatorial candidates’ websites that I visited, only Rebecca Otto talked about the economy. Even then, she only spoke about raising the minimum wage:

Across her statewide listening tour Rebecca met hard-working people who are under-compensated, making it hard to make ends meet. This is hurting our families, our communities, and our way of life. Rebecca Otto supports increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation. She will also be releasing an economic plan that will help increase wages across the state.

There’s nothing on any of these candidates’ websites that talks about infrastructure, especially pipelines. Why is that? Is it because the DFL’s special interest masters won’t let them support legitimate projects that create middle class wages? Is it because the DFL doesn’t think that fossil fuels will play an important part in our economy?

Finally, it’s apparent that the DFL doesn’t understand capitalism whatsoever. This morning on At Issue with Tom Hauser, Katharine Tinucci said that cutting the corporate tax rate won’t create jobs because “the rich” won’t invest the money. What an idiot. What wealthy people want most is more money. The best way to get wealthier is by investing that money.

Isn’t it apparent that the DFL doesn’t understand human nature?

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The thing I hate about LTEs like this one is what they omit. The writer of this LTE talks about 3 pipelines that he lives by, saying “I live by three ‘pipelines.’ The first most folks know as U.S. Highway 10. It carries a ton of traffic, especially on weekends, enabling thousands bent on enjoying what Northern Minnesota has to offer. It has a huge economic impact. According to the U of MN Extension Service, the combined travel and tourism annual revenues from June of 2007 to May of 2008 in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, and Hubbard counties alone amounted to $713,699,246 and the state realized $326,376,889 in state revenues.” Having lived my entire life within a mile of Highway 10, I can’t dispute that lots of tourists use Highway 10. Having said that, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Highway 10 also is used by tons of truckers bringing tons of products to the Twin Cities and beyond.

FYI- I-94 is used more for transporting products to market. One of the products delivered on I-94 and Highway 10 is crude oil. Those highways deliver product to the refineries Flint Hills Resources in Rosemount, MN. It’s idiotic to think that stopping the pipeline will cause oil companies to take those wells out of production. That isn’t happening, which means that oil will be transported by a less safe way.

Which brings me to the third “pipeline” that I live by, the Mississippi River. The Enbridge pipeline will cross it twice. Can you imagine what impact a spill would have on the 1.8 million people who rely on it for clean drinking water?

This zealot thinks that technology doesn’t exist. Either that or he thinks that oil companies can’t wait to pollute. Either way, this zealot apparently isn’t in touch with reality.

If the environmentalists stop this pipeline, the DFL will be hurt politically for a generation. They will have stabbed the DFL’s blue collar base in the back for the umpteenth time. The DFL will have looked the other way for the umpteenth time, too. Then the DFL will try to win back their votes by expressing solidarity for working families’, many of whom won’t be employed thanks to the DFL’s pandering to the environmentalists.

Here’s hoping the environmentalists will enjoy working with GOP majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate and a reform-minded GOP governor.

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If we know anything about Gov. Dayton, it’s that he’s a political opportunist. This article insists that Gov. Dayton has “shrewd political instincts”, too. J. Patrick Coolican’s article is nothing more than another Strib pro-Dayton puff piece.

It opens by saying “Since Gov. Mark Dayton came out in favor of a controversial proposal by PolyMet to mine copper, nickel and other precious metals in northeastern Minnesota, he and his allies have said that his support is guided by sound environmental and economic policy, not politics. But Dayton’s decision and its timing showed the shrewd political instincts, as well as the loyalty to the DFL Party, that have helped him win statewide office four times. By giving his public support to PolyMet he offered an olive branch to the Iron Range, knowing that he could take the political hit from environmentalists since he’s not running for re-election next year, and at the same time forge a temporary peace in the ongoing conflict.”

Actually, it’s guided by politics. Gov. Dayton hasn’t changed into a consistent supporter of the Range. He’s still opposed to the Twin Metals project. He’s still vehemently opposed to the Line 3 Pipeline project that would create approximately 3 times as many jobs as a typical end-of-session bonding bill would create.

This quote is telling:

“It diminishes PolyMet as an issue going forward. It’s one less flash point. That’s what a responsible steward of his party would do,” said Joe Radinovich, a former DFL state legislator who was U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s 2016 campaign manager.

It hasn’t had that effect whatsoever. It’s telling that Coolican said that Gov. Dayton “could take the political hit from environmentalists since he’s not running for re-election next year.” Doesn’t that mean that the candidates running to replace him can’t afford to get on the environmental activists’ bad side? Further, a page will get turned when the DFL picks their gubernatorial candidate. From that point forward, the Range will make their decision based on that candidate.

This paragraph is telling, too:

For some, it came too late. Dayton’s DFL has taken heavy losses in legislative districts in greater Minnesota, as Republicans have successfully tied them to Twin Cities environmentalists and other progressives at the expense of economic development in struggling communities.

Do the people in this video sound like they’re pro-mining?

Further, Coolican is right. Republicans have flipped rural Minnesota. The DFL have repeatedly proven that they’re anti-farmer, anti-labor. You can’t be anti-mining and pro-labor. You can’t ignore the farmers’ agenda and stay on the farmers’ good side.

This isn’t just about PolyMet. The Range wants to vote for someone who’ll always have their backs. The DFL is still the divided party, with a heavy anti-mining slant:

The DFL factions hit a breaking point recently when Reid Carron, well-known environmentalist in Ely, made disparaging remarks about miners in a Sunday New York Times Magazine story. “They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock,” he said, before later apologizing.

It didn’t take long for Gov. Dayton suddenly react to the article:

So Dayton stepped on the fire. Just eight days after publication of the explosive story in the Times, the governor announced in an interview that he favors the PolyMet project if it meets permitting requirements and financial assurances that would protect Minnesota taxpayers in the event of a fiscal or environmental catastrophe.

What a coincidence! Immediately after environmental activists show their true colors, Gov. Dayton made his pro-mining announcement. If he was truly pro-mining, why hasn’t Gov. Dayton done anything to make the permitting process fair and transparent? If he’s truly pro-mining, why didn’t Gov. Dayton take on the environmental activists?

Perhaps, it’s because he’s a political opportunist who isn’t really pro-mining.

Last week, Gov. Dayton announced that he’s finally supporting the PolyMet precious metals project. In this post, I wrote “Why should Rangers tolerate a regulatory system that’s this convoluted? How many studies are enough? How many hearings need to be held? Chip Cravaack tried getting this pushed through when he was in office. He was elected in 2010, the same election that gave us Gov. Dayton. It’s clear that Gov. Dayton hasn’t jettisoned the environmentalists. He’s still siding with the environmentalists on Twin Metals and the Line 3 Pipeline project.”

Speaking of the Line 3 Pipeline project, Rep. Matt Grossell, Rep. Sandy Layman, Rep. Matt Bliss, Rep. Dale Lueck, Rep. Debra Kiel, Sen. Justin Eichorn and Sen. Paul Utke wrote a letter to Gov. Dayton. Their letter’s opening paragraph says “The proposed Line 3 Replacement Project (L3R) is a vital energy infrastructure project for Minnesota and the region that will generate more than $3 billion in private investment. It will create thousands of good-paying construction jobs and provide millions in much-needed tax revenue to local governments in our districts and our region.” Follow this link to read the entire letter.

It isn’t likely that Gov. Dayton will back off. His Commerce Department testified that (a) the L3R isn’t required and (b) the existing pipeline should be shut down. That’s the public part of Gov. Dayton’s policy. That doesn’t mean, though, that he doesn’t see the political difficulties and complexities this might cause the DFL.

Yesterday on @Issue with Tom Hauser, former DFL Chair Brian Melendez said that Gov. Dayton allegedly told environmentalists ‘Good luck with the Republican governor in 2019′, implying that the environmental activists’ demands will hurt the DFL in 2018.

This video is part of the reason why Gov. Dayton won’t abandon environmental activists:

The truth is that Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t consistent with their beliefs. First, they’re constantly talking about the importance of infrastructure projects. When this infrastructure project was proposed, though, they ran from it like it was toxic waste. Finally, the DFL is constantly pushing bonding bills as their annual “jobs bill”. This pipeline project is the size of three bonding bills.

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