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This article has to be seen as helpful to Republicans running for the Minnesota House of Representatives.

According to J. Patrick Coolican’s article, “Recent union endorsements provide clues about the direction of both organized labor and the two parties. The carpenters and their 11,000 Minnesota members endorsed 48 DFL candidates and 30 Republican candidates for the Minnesota House, but the GOP can be happy that incumbents in key swing districts got the nod, like Reps. Sandy Layman, Jim Knob­lach, Randy Jessup and Keith Franke.”

I’m represented by Jim Knoblach so this naturally caught my attention. Jim’s running against Dan Wolgamott, the carpetbagger who got into electoral politics (as near as I can tell anyway) in 2014 when he ran for the seat in HD-14A, which is the west side of St. Cloud, Waite Park and St. Augusta. He was defeated by Tama Theis that year. In 2016, Wolgamott ran for the open Senate seat in SD-14 when John Pederson decided not to seek re-election. In 2016, Wolgamott lost to Jerry Relph, who is now my state senator.

This year, Wolgamott moved to the east side of St. Cloud so he could challenge Jim Knoblach for the HD-14B seat. Apparently, the unions smelled a carpetbagger in Wolgamott and rejected him. It’s also clear that they like Jim Knoblach’s history of supporting projects like the Line3 Pipeline Replacement Project and other projects vital to the construction unions.

Just recently the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Republican state Sen. Karin Housley against U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, and Republican Pete Stauber, a retired police officer, in his race for Congress against Joe Radinovich. The Minneapolis Police Federation endorsed Republican Doug Wardlow in his race for attorney general against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.

It isn’t surprising that police don’t like Keith Ellison, especially considering the fact that he’s supported cop killers. That isn’t the only thing that’s hurting Ellison.

I first wrote about Dan Wolgamott’s LTE in this post. I noted at the time that Wolgamott whined that “our current elected officials aren’t making our kids a priority. We’ve seen the same story play out too many times in our schools: budget deficits that lead to increased class sizes, fewer opportunities for our kids than we had, and when budget deficits get too large, a referendum for a higher local levy. Lily and all of her classmates deserve an outstanding education and a chance to succeed! If we want Minnesota to continue to be a leader, we have to do better, and the Republican-led Legislature needs to step up and adequately fund our schools.”

The problem with that statement is that it’s rubbish. It was a prediction based on Wolgamott’s partisan bias. The truth is that Republicans stepped up and funded education. The bill they passed and sent to Gov. Dayton’s desk would’ve spent $90,000,000 more than Gov. Dayton requested.

The problem? In another of Gov. Dayton’s infamous temper tantrums, Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill. In his LTE, Wolgamott said that if “we want Minnesota to continue to be a leader, we have to do better, and the Republican-led Legislature needs to step up and adequately fund our schools.” Actually, what’s needed is to elect a Republican as governor and never let another spoiled brat DFL politician in as governor. Gov. Dayton was a 2-term failure. He fought with the DFL Senate Leader in 2014. He shut down government in 2011 because he didn’t get everything he wanted. That sounds familiar:

In 2015, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk tried negotiating a bipartisan budget bill. After a week of negotiating, they still hadn’t reached an agreement with Gov. Dayton so they decided to negotiate between themselves. An hour later, they’d reached an agreement. Once again, Gov. Dayton was the impediment.

During his watch, Gov. Dayton watched the MNLARS project fail repeatedly. Further, Gov. Dayton didn’t catch the child care fraud even though a whistleblower told them about it in 2014. Finally, Gov. Dayton didn’t notice the elder abuse scandal. That didn’t get his attention until Republican Sen. Karin Housley started investigating.

In summation, Wolgamott is a blowhard. He accused Republicans of not stepping up for ‘the children’, only to watch Gov. Dayton not step up for the children. We don’t need partisans like Wolgamott in the legislature. We need solutions-oriented men like Jim Knoblach in there. Chairman Knoblach has a history of putting solid, bipartisan budgets together.

The thing that comes through loud and clear in Jim Knoblach’s LTE isn’t that Gov. Dayton didn’t negotiate in good faith. Nobody that’s paid attention to him the past 8 years honestly expected him to do that. It’s that he moved the negotiating goalposts 4 times in the final 61 hours of the session.

Chairman Knoblach wrote “When you are given a list of 117 objections 61 hours before the Legislature ends, one naturally wonders if Dayton actually wanted a deal at all. Or was he just trying to set us up to look bad for political purposes? I still don’t know that answer to that question. However, I worked very hard with other legislators in the following hours to delete or otherwise satisfy 71 of Dayton’s 117 objections (but not any of those mentioned above). We thus went 61 percent of the way (71/117) to the governor. Dayton gave us six more objections the following day, and we agreed on four of those. The response of his staff was to demand we meet every single one of his objections. On Saturday evening, they added even more.”

Chairman Knoblach is right in saying “This is not compromise or negotiation by the governor.” What makes it utterly disgusting is that Gov. Dayton has the audacity to call the conference committee process a scam:

What a disgusting person. The thing that proves that Gov. Dayton is the problem is the 2015 budget session. Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk met each day of the final week of session with Gov. Dayton to negotiate a bipartisan compromise. After their fifth negotiating session with Gov. Dayton and with nothing to show for it, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk went off to the side to work out the details of a bipartisan compromise. Within an hour, they’d reached an agreement, which they took back to their caucuses.

Of course, Gov. Dayton and then-Rep. Thissen did their best to sabotage it. The bills got passed but Gov. Dayton vetoed a number of them. Is there any doubt that Gov. Dayton is the problem? Why hasn’t the Twin Cities media mentioned the fact that 3 of the 4 budget sessions in Gov. Dayton’s time in office ended during a special session? Are they trying to protect him? Why haven’t they questioned Gov. Dayton’s intentions? It isn’t like he hasn’t questionable things. It isn’t like he hasn’t had a ton of crises that he’s totally to blame for.

Gov. Dayton should resign so the important things that he didn’t get finished get finished. The reason these things didn’t get finished is because Gov. Dayton a) kept moving the goalposts and b) vetoed the bills. To the DFL-friendly media who isn’t explaining this, shame on you for not being honest about this. The people have the right to know.

Thanks to Chairman Knoblach’s LTE, we now have the truth.

Gov. Dayton promised to veto the House MNLARS bill if it reaches his desk, saying “There’s no justification whatsoever for taking that money from other state agencies. I will veto that measure if it’s in the bill. I will veto the bill, and then we’ll be done.”

What Gov. Dayton didn’t say is that he’s fine with having taxpayers paying extra for his incompetence. It’s his administration that failed to successfully implement the MNLARS upgrade. Taxpayers shouldn’t pay for his administration’s incompetence and virtually nonexistent oversight. In his usually bombastic style, Gov. Dayton accused Republicans of extending the problem for political gain, calling it a “contrivance.” Here’s a hint for Gov. Dayton: people have seen his administration’s incompetence. The people understand that he’s at fault for not implementing MNLARS.

Further, the people understand that this isn’t the first time the Dayton administration failed in its implementation of a major software upgrade. Before MNLARS, there was MNsure. I’m thankful that we’re almost to the end of Gov. Dayton’s reign of incompetence.

Dayton said a veto would end the MNLARS discussion this session. “We’ll just have to put MNLARS improvement on hold, and the next administration can take it over,” he said.

House Republicans say they want Dayton to take financial responsibility for the MNLARS mess.

It’d be nice if Gov. Dayton actually admitted he’d failed in implementing MNLARS but I’m not holding my breath on that. I’d be happy letting the next governor, who likely will be a Republican, fix Gov. Dayton’s mess. We’ve seen Gov. Dayton’s incompetence too often. Jim Knoblach put Gov. Dayton in his place with this statement:

Governor Mark Dayton wants the state to charge a two-dollar “technology fee” beginning in fiscal 2019 for transactions on the state’s vehicle registration system to “support fixes of the MNLARS system and provide ongoing maintenance.” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jim Knoblach from Saint Cloud says that’s dead on arrival. “To me, it just adds insult to injury. He’s now going to try to charge everyone who uses the system to pay for this disaster. We’re not gonna do that,” Knoblach says.

There’s nothing fair about raising people’s taxes and fees to pay for a politician’s incompetence.

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This article confirms my worst fear for St. Cloud State going forward. It’s disturbing because it reports that “Minnesota State’s Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra says they are beginning a national search immediately. They are working with a professional firm, AGB Search, and the Chancellor will name a search chair by the end of the week. He says it’s his intention to kick off the search prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.”

A new president who doesn’t know the terrain will require on-the-job training. With St. Cloud State experiencing a financial crisis, the University can’t afford someone whose first steps will be to get to know the communities he or she will serve. As I said in this post, I said “We need a president that will instantly connect with area principals. What’s needed is someone who will sell the University’s programs. It’s imperative to immediately create a positive buzz about the University. There isn’t time for a search committee. What’s needed is someone who’s already familiar with SCSU and someone who’s a no-nonsense person.”

Frankly, MnSCU has screwed up so many appointments that they shouldn’t get the benefit of any doubts. Until they start making smart decisions on the biggest decisions, they should be kept on the sidelines. At minimum, MnSCU should consult with community leaders heavily before making a decision. Further, it’s imperative that our legislative leaders and community leaders be listened to.

We don’t need another pointy-headed academic with a vision for what he wants. Altogether too often, St. Cloud State hasn’t done what the community needs it to do. What’s needed is someone who will rebuild St. Cloud State, not rebrand it. St. Cloud State hasn’t put a priority on rebuilding the University. Fairly or unfairly, people think that they’ve put a higher priority on building new buildings than they’ve put on maintaining great academic programs.

St. Cloud State needs to be responsive and accountable to the city. St. Cloud has been a blue collar city. St. Cloud State hasn’t been a blue collar university. It was predictable that the Wedum project would fail. Then we found out that the administration signed a terrible contract with the Foundation. Building upscale apartments for college students is as foolish as building a condo unit across from a bar.

At what point will the city say ‘Stop making stupid decisions with the taxpayers’ money?’ This is infuriating. What’s more infuriating is the fact that there’s a highly qualified candidate right here in town. This candidate knows the area. Most importantly, he’s got a plan to rebuild St. Cloud State.

Hiring him would help St. Cloud State and MnSCU avoid making another foolish mistake.

If there’s anything certain in life, the saying goes, it’s death and taxes. In St. Cloud, we can apparently add Dan Wolgamott running for political office as a certainty. According to this article, Wolgamott, who has run for Tama Theis’s house seat in HD-14A in 2014, then ran for the open senate seat vacated when John Pederson retired, is now interested in Jim Knoblach’s seat.

Wolgamott issued a statement announcing his candidacy, saying “Career politician Jim Knoblach currently represents the district and is serving his eighth term (15th year) in the state House. Under Knoblach’s watch, the Legislature has failed to get its work done on time for six of those years, each time resulting in a costly special session.”

The perpetual campaigner is denouncing career politicians. That’s rich. Here’s what you need to know about Wolgamott. First, he’s a Democrat first. His constituents come second. He said as much a few years ago when he wrote an op-ed, saying that he’d vote to raise the gas tax if that’s what his caucus approved. Next, Wolgamott’s talk about bringing people together is just that — talk. I don’t doubt that Wolgamott brings Democrats together. I’m totally skeptical, though, that he’d lift a finger to bring Republicans and Democrats together.

I don’t have to speculate whether Jim Knoblach would bring Republicans and Democrats together. I have verifiable proof that he’s frequently brought Republicans and Democrats together. The most recent example that I wrote about was in 2015, when he was part of Speaker Daudt’s budget team that put together a bipartisan budget agreement with then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Of course, Gov. Dayton and other high-profile liberals sabotaged the agreement.

The good news is that Chairman Knoblach persevered, which led to the Daudt-Bakk budget eventually passing during a special session. There’s no reason to think that Wolgamott would stand up to the DFL leadership. He’s a hardline progressive that would’ve voted to create MNsure.

Finally, here’s another part of Wolgamott’s statement getting into yet another race:

Status-quo politicians like Jim Knoblach continue to stack the deck against hard-working, middle-class Minnesotans, prioritizing wealthy donors and corporate special interests instead of working families.

Wolgamott is as cookie-cutter as they come. There’s nothing that says he’d be a leader. If you went to the dictionary for the definition of a career politician, here’s what you’d find:

Yesterday, I got my weekly e-letter update from my state representative, Jim Knoblach. Jim wrote “The 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill is on track to soon reach the House floor for a full vote of the body after Democrats delayed passage last week. While the governor’s proposal provides immediate relief, House Republicans offer a plan that not only provides short-term aid, but includes reform to improve the long-term outlook. The House Republican position is that both relief and reform are necessary. As important as it is to lessen the burden now, it also is crucial to make sure we don’t end up in this same unfortunate situation next year.”

Last night, I attended the SD-14 fundraiser, which Jim attended, too. We talked briefly about what he’d written in his e-letter update. Basically, Jim explained that the bill Republicans are pushing includes premium relief but it also includes other features, too. For instance, it provides the ability for a person receiving life-saving care from a hospital or clinic to stay with that clinic until that treatment is finished.

I told Jim that that’s the right thing to do. People suffering through a life-threatening situation don’t need the disruption of changing health care providers.

Other legislators attended the fundraiser, too. Most of them were hopeful that Gov. Dayton would sign the bill once it got put together in conference committee.

This St. Cloud Times article reports that Dan Wolgamott “will formally request a recount after the canvassing boards of Stearns, Benton and Sherburne counties and the state have certified the election results.” Wolgamott was defeated by Jerry Relph in the election to see who would represent SD-14 in the State Senate for 2017-2021.

According to the article, “Wolgamott said he would request the recount ‘to ensure that our voting process was as fair and accurate as Minnesotans expect it to be.'” The truth is that he won’t win. If Mr. Wolgamott doesn’t know that, then it’s a good thing he wasn’t elected because he isn’t smart enough to represent SD-14.

Seriously, it’s impossible to make up a 142-vote margin in a race where 37,000 votes were cast. When King Banaian was elected to represent HD-15B in November, 2010, he initially won by 10 votes. That triggered an automatic recount. In the recount, Dr. Banaian gained an additional 4 votes. Carol Lewis, his opponent that year, gained 1 vote, meaning that Dr. Banaian officially won by 13 votes, not 10.

In 2014, Jim Knoblach defeated Zach Dorholt by 69 votes. Dorholt didn’t bother asking for a recount, probably because he knew it was a lost cause.

To be fair, it’s entirely possible that the DFL powers-that-be might’ve ordered Wolgamott to request a recount because the majority of the Senate potentially hangs on the outcome to this race.

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I’ve said repeatedly that the DFL’s tethering to the truth is loose at best. This pro-Dorholt LTE proves that the DFL, collectively, is incapable of logic, too.

I know that because the LTE says “Zach will fight for health care that’s affordable and works for all of us. He works in the mental health field. He knows and understands mental health and will fight for health care that meets the needs of those living with a mental health disorder. There is much work to be done in our current health care system, but Zach is ready for the challenge.” Perhaps this person isn’t in frequent touch with events in St. Paul. Perhaps this person is just dishonest. Perhaps this person isn’t capable of connecting the dots.

Whatever the reason for her not reaching the right conclusion, the truth is that Dorholt voted for MNsure, which is giving farmers and other small businesses huge health insurance premium increases, narrow networks, fewer choices of insurers and unaffordable deductibles. Dorholt is the person who’s given us this crisis.

What part of that suggests that Dorholt “is ready for the challenge” of fixing what he and the DFL broke?

This LTE suffers from the same disappointing detachment from reality as the first LTE. Check this paragraph out:

He has said “I am running because I have always had a passion for those left behind, for those purposefully or unintentionally left out, for those who live in the “shadows” of life, because ever since I was a kid I could identify with and empathize with them. I could understand them. I knew if their voice could be heard, understood and represented… we would all do better.”

Where was this compassion for people when the DFL debated the forced unionization of in-home child care providers? They lobbied the legislature for almost 24 hours, telling the DFL that they didn’t want to be represented by AFSCME. These businesspeople repeatedly told DFL legislators, Dorholt included, that they opposed the bill.

Dorholt voted for the forced unionization of these businesspeople anyway. He didn’t hesitate when he plunged the button and told these women that he knew better. That was the last weekend of the 2013 session. Also that session, Dorholt voted for major tax increases on farmers and warehousing operations. He did that despite their constant lobbying against the tax increases. Then he got criticized by several businesspeople after the session. The next February, Dorholt voted to repeal the tax increases he’d just voted to create.

That November, his constituents fired Dorholt for not representing them. That November, his constituents fired him because Dorholt represented the DFL leadership and the DFL’s special interest puppetmasters, not them.

This November, let’s remind Mr. Dorholt that we still reject his representation of the DFL leadership and their special interest allies. I’ll be voting for the man with the lengthy list of bipartisan accomplishments, a man who’s done the things that Dorholt only talks about. I’ll be voting for Jim Knoblach.

Monday afternoon, Kirsti Marohn of the St. Cloud Times moderated a debate between the candidates for the candidates for the SD-14 Senate candidates and the candidates for HD-14A and HD-14B. It was the best job of moderating a debate I’ve seen other than the job the Fox News team of Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly.

Prior to the event, Ms. Marohn took to Twitter to ask for questions for the debate. I submitted a question, asking “What is the solution to the Obamacare/MNsure crisis? What needs to be done to prevent more insurers dropping out of the individual market?” It was the next-to-the-last question asked. Suffice it to say that it provoked the sharpest answers of the debate.

Dan Wolgamott, the DFL-endorsed candidate for SD-14, said “Let’s take a look at who actually raises the premiums and that’s the insurance companies and why is that? Well, it’s because the long-term costs of health care are prescription drugs, an aging population and high cost services such as the emergency room. So those are the real long-term costs but we’ve got to take immediate action to help these families who are in these situations. So we need to provide immediate relief through more tax subsidies to expanding eligibility for those so we can offset the rising costs of those premiums.”

That isn’t a solution. It’s barely a patch for a single year. The reality is that insurance companies are losing tens of millions of dollars nationally. If they can’t make money selling their product, they’ll quit selling their policies on the individual market. It’s that simple.

Zach Dorholt’s answer was even more extreme:

We have to remember that when we chose to opt into MNsure, we received Medicaid expansion dollars and those directly impacted the people I work with as a counselor. I work with people who live with serious and persistent mental illness, many of whom were kicked off of a program called General Assistance Medical Care by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty and many of those people ended up on the street. Many of those folks ended up costing the system more and that change cost some of those people their lives. If we’re going to be serious about addressing the flaw of the ACA, which is that it didn’t have a public option, and that is very frustrating. We can do that here in Minnesota. There’s three things that we can do: 1. We could pass the Minnesota Health Plan, which would be universal single-payer health care for all Minnesotans. 2. We could create our own public option, which is allowing people to buy into MinnesotaCare and 3, which I think we have to do Day One to address the rising costs of private insurance companies raised, not MNsure. Yes, MNsure is a system that has its flaws and MNsure didn’t raise rates. Private insurance companies raised rates and we need to do something Day One that gives rebates to those people who are stuck in the middle with these high costs.

In other words, Dorholt is for a single-payer health care system. That would ruin the US health care system virtually instantly because the government would set prices. That sounds good until you realize that doctors, clinics and hospitals won’t work without just compensation. Once that’s implemented, doctor and nurse shortages will appear virtually instantly.

Jerry Relph, the GOP-endorsed candidate for the State Senate, cut to the heart of the matter:

I think there’s something that needs to be pointed out here and that is that the reasons why premiums are going up is very simple. The people that were expected to sign up for these programs are not signing up for them. As a result, the people that are drawing on the resource using the insurance are causing the insurance companies to pay out more for medical care and the insurance companies are not receiving the compensation from the healthy people that will offset that cost so we need to look at that.

That’s how the Obamacare death spiral starts. Even though a significant portion of young people are eligible for IRS subsidies or are forced to pay a fine, they still aren’t buying health insurance. That means most of the people who’ve bought health care through the individual market are the patients that have the highest use of medical services.

Jim Knoblach summed things up best:

Well, MNsure is a disaster. We probably had what was the best health insurance system in the United States 4-5 years ago here in Minnesota. Only about 8% of the people in the state didn’t have health insurance. The vast majority of those actually qualified for public health care plans like MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance. It wasn’t because of MNsure. They were eligible for all those things anyway. But then with the passage of MNsure at the state level and everything that went with it, it really wrecked the system we had. That’s one of the big differences between my opponent and I. Zach voted for this and I never would’ve voted for this.

It’s clear that the DFL candidates aren’t willing to agree with Gov. Dayton and President Clinton. It’s clear, too, that Republicans have a strong grasp of the issue and that they have solutions to fix this crisis.