Categories

Archive for the ‘Michelle Fischbach’ Category

Now that people are questisoning some of Chancellor Rosenstone’s decisions, like his decision to pay a consulting firm $2,000,000 or the Trustees’ decision to extend Chancellor Rosenstone’s contract before giving him a performance review, perhaps it’s time to ask what his qualifications were. This chart shows that Rosenstone wasn’t as qualified as the other finalist:

It’s too late to void Chancellor Rosenstone’s sweetheart deal but it isn’t too late to question whether the Trustees serve a useful purpose. Based on this side-by-side comparison and their decision to hire a less qualified candidate, I’d argue that their decisionmaking abilitie are questionable at best.

Further, it’s time to admit that Gene Pelowski, Bud Nornes, Michelle Fischbach and Terry Bonoff haven’t done the job Minnesotans needed them to do. Their refusal to conduct oversight hearings is an indictment against their chairmanships.
What Minnesota needs is for the Trustees to disappear and for the legislature to play a more hands-on role in MnSCU, especially with regards to hiring chancellors and negotiating the chancellor’s contracts. I don’t want people who can’t be held accountable to make these important decisions. I expect people who can be held accountable at election time to make these decisions.

The best way to produce terrible results is to look the other way and not demand explanations for important decisions. Part of why Chancellor Rosenstone is making questionable decisions is because he wasn’t qualified. Another reason why he’s making questionable decisions is because he isn’t disciplined when he makes decisions like hiring a do-nothing consulting firm for $2,000,000.

I can’t say that Minnesota’s higher ed system is worthless. I can say, however, that MnSCU has made lots of foolish spending decisions that shouldn’t have gotten made.

That’s why MnSCU reform should be a high priority for the next legislature.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The DFL started setting up a phony storyline to propel them back into the majority in the Minnesota legislature during Gov. Dayton’s State of the State Address in 2011. At a time when nobody was thinking about a possible special session to pass the budget, Gov. Dayton asked the legislature to pledge not to shut government down.

By early May, it was clear that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen were hoping for a government shutdown. At midnight, July 1, 2011, the Dayton/DFL shutdown became reality.

Along the way, the DFL and ABM started talking about the do-nothing legislature. What’s interesting is that the DFL legislature didn’t submit a budget nor did they submit a set of redistricting maps. The DFL won’t talk about that because that cost Minnesota taxpayers $188,000 in exchange for…nothing.

Here in Central Minnesota, the goal is to go 12 for 12 in ’12. The goal is to elect Jeff Howe, Jim Newberger, David Fitzsimmons and Nick Zerwas to their first terms in the House. We expect to re-elect Tim O’Driscoll, Steve Gottwalt, King Banaian and Sondra Erickson to the House. We expect to send Michelle Fischbach, John Pederson and Dave Brown back to the Senate while adding Mary Kiffmeyer to the Senate.

While I haven’t studied the entire state, a couple of races caught my attention. John Carlson is matched against Tom Saxhaug in SD-5. I’m picking Sen. Carlson to win by 8-10 points. Carolyn McElfatrick is paired against Tom Anzelc in HD-5B with Larry Howes matched against John Persell in HD-5A. I expect McElfatrick to win by 4-6 points. I expect Howes to squeak out a victory against Persell.

When the dust settles, I expect Republicans to keep control of the Legislature, mostly on the strength of their recent candidates. The fire-breathing zealots that Tom Bakk and Paul Thissen whined about will be returned to torture Mssrs. Bakk and Thissen. Republicans will have a 71-63 majority in the House and a 38-29 majority in the Senate.

As for the congressional races, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack will win re-election. Rumors from Tuesday night that Alida Rockefeller-Dayton-Messinger is demanding Ken Martin’s head on a platter shouldn’t be taken seriously, though understanding why nobody’s heard of his whereabouts should be taken seriously.

The quality of the GOP legislative candidates will be a major reason why Republicans did so well. The leadership at the BPOU and congressional district levels, with a couple exceptions, will be a GOP strength, too.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I didn’t see this coming. I’m totally surprised that the St. Cloud Times endorsed all 3 GOP legislators from SD-14:

Three-term Republican Rep. Steve Gottwalt is the best fit for this solid conservative district.

In his six years in the House, Gottwalt has developed a keen grasp of the state’s health and human services programs, which is why he chairs the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee. He has helped lead substantial reforms despite his penchant for divisive rhetoric. His social conservatism also fits the district well.

District 14B is likely a toss-up as evidenced by incumbent GOP Rep. King Banaian’s 10-vote victory over DFLer Carol Lewis in 2010.

Given an effective first term, Banaian deserves re-election. He authored the Sunset Commission law and helped college students with textbook prices. His expertise in economics also is a strength.

Voters have a tough choice between incumbent Republican Sen. John Pederson and DFL challenger Jerry McCarter. Both are well-intended but both are too tightly bound to partisan ideologies in an obviously moderate district.

Pederson, an ardent voice for business, developed a reputation as a good listener and advocate for regional trails in his first term so he gets a very slight edge.

It isn’t that I disagree with the Times’ endorsement of John, Steve and King. It’s that I didn’t see this coming.

It’s worth pointing out that John Pederson, Steve Gottwalt and King Banaian have lengthy lists of accomplishments. They accomplished these things without sacrificing their conservative principles.

The bigger point to these endorsements and the endorsement of the GOP candidates in SD-13, is that the GOP is well-positioned to win all 6 seats. Couple that with a likely sweep of seats in SD-15 and Central Minnesota is well-positioned to look dramatically different than it did going into the 2010 election.

Back then, Michele Fischbach, Dan Severson, Steve Gottwalt and Mary Kiffmeyer were the Republicans representing SD-14, SD-15 and SD-16. DFL legislators representing those districts were Larry Hosch, Tarryl Clark, Larry Haws, Lisa Fobbe and Gail Kulick-Jackson.

If the dust settles the way I think it will, Michelle Fischbach, Jerry O’Driscoll and Jeff Howe will represent SD-13, John Pederson, Steve Gottwalt and King Banaian will represent SD-14 and Dave Brown, Sondra Erickson and Jim Newberger will represent SD-15.

That’s quite a dramatic change from 4 years ago.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As Lassie posted Monday that King will replace Larry Haws as my representative in the state legislature. While the results aren’t official yet, Carol Lewis gave up the ghost Monday afternoon after hearing about the recount’s outcome. Mark Sommerhauser wrote about the recount in that article:

Two of the three counties in District 15B, Stearns and Sherburne, provided unofficial, final recount results to the Times. They narrowed Banaian’s margin by one vote, with three ballots challenged by observers for the Banaian and Lewis campaigns.

Benton County officials didn’t return calls for comment Monday. But according to Lewis and Banaian, the Benton County recount was completed Monday and will either add a vote for Banaian or leave the margin unchanged.

Recount results should be finalized by Dec. 14. That’s when the state canvassing board meets to combine results from the three counties, examine challenged ballots and certify a winner.

This finalizes a fantastic year for Republicans in central Minnesota. When the 2010 endorsing conventions started, Republicans held 4 of the 9 House and Senate seats in Districts 14-16. Thanks to King’s victory, Republicans now hold all three seats in 15 and 16 (Congratulations to Dave Brown, SD-16, John Pederson, SD-15, Sondra Erickson and Mary Kiffmeyer in 16A and 16B respectively, and Rep. Steve Gottwalt and King in 15A and 15B respectively.)

Meanwhile, SD-14 had the ‘lackluster year’, going ‘only’ 2 of 3. The good news in those results is that one of those two is new State Senate President Michelle Fischbach.

I couldn’t be happier than having King as my representative, first because King’s the right man for the job but most importantly, because he’s a great friend.

This afternoon, I find myself thinking back about the great discussions I’ve had with King, the speeches I’ve heard him give and the great monologues he’s given on his radio program. Of all those things, the thing that sticks out most prominently for me was King’s speech at the 9/12 TEA Party event. Here’s the text of King’s speech:

Today is a reminder to those we send to St. Paul and City Hall, and to those in Congress and the White House, that we feel forgotten.

“Forgotten?” you ask.

The economist William Graham Sumner wrote a century ago about the way in which we are forgotten by those who would help others in the name of humanitarianism but not with their own money.

A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D. The radical vice of all these schemes … is that C is not allowed a voice in the matter, and his position, character, and interests, as well as the ultimate effects on society through C’s interests, are entirely overlooked. I call C the Forgotten Man.

Look around you and say hi to Mr. C and Mrs. C.

What Sumner understood was that in order to produce the good they want to distribute, they must draw on the energy that you create. Your labor, your savings, your creativity, your humanity. Sumner noted “that the State cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man.”

That’s you.

And when government takes the produce and savings of the forgotten man, his choices are two. One: You can shrink. My friend and radio host Dennis Prager said it well this week: “When government gets larger, citizens get smaller.” People forget to take care of themselves, they rely on government, they don’t feel like working when they can’t keep what they earn and besides government will give it to them.

If you’re that kind of person, you’re at the wrong party.

Your other choice is to stand on your feet. And shout “forgotten no more.”

You have important work to do here today. If you do not want to be forgotten, you must remember why we are here. You cannot hold up a sign that says “Taxed Enough Already” if you don’t know what your government is supposed to tax you for. The other speakers here today are going to tell you that. They will tell you how to stop shrinking, stop being forgotten.

Because we have forgotten, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, what our “unifying purpose” is. “All we had forgotten,” he said, “was the human soul.” We live in a great country in an unbelievably prosperous time. Life is great in 21st Century America, if we just would understand why. All we have, Solzhenitsyn said, is “a delicate trial of our free will.”

You are on trial. If you fail, you will be forgotten. You will shrink to insignificance.

But I know many of you, and I know you will succeed. You will hear the words that remind us of our great purpose as a nation. And our country will succeed when we can say as one “Forgotten no more.”

God bless each of you today, and God bless our great country. Thank you.

Though I haven’t asked King this question, it isn’t a stretch to think that that that speech triggered King’s decision to run. First, there was a healthy sized crowd in attendance that morning. Second, King led off the event, followed by another promising politician named Michele Bachmann.

UPDATE: I spoke with King this afternoon and I asked him that question. King said that that speech was an important stepping stone but that there was no singular “epiphany” where he said “Yes, I’m running.” King characterized it as a process, not a singular even.

King said, though, that that was an important point in the process.

Having had numerous conversations with King, I knew that King’s priorities and principles were the right principles for the district. That’s the only reason I needed to support King. Still, I disagreed with Carol Lewis because I thought of her as being a rubberstamp for EdMinn’s agenda. That wasn’t good enough for me.

In reviewing the campaign, the other thing that jumps out at me is how the DFL didn’t hesitate in playing dirty politics. The DFL sent out a despicable mailer. Here’s what the front of the mailer said:

King Banaian: More Interested in Egypt and Macedonia than St. Cloud

Here’s what the back of the mailer said:

St. Cloud needs a leader, not a King.

King Banaian certainly has a resume- jetting across the globe to consult the governments of Egypt, Macedonia, Armenia, Ukraine and Indonesia.

But what does all his travel tell him about the needs of families here in St. Cloud?

Banaian supports cuts to public schools as well as cuts in state aid to St. Cloud- His cuts could risk our children’s future and place basic services like police and fire protection at risk.

Banaian’s agenda is wrong for our families…And too extreme for St. Cloud

First, it’s important to highlight the DFL’s lie. At no point during the campaign did King say that he’d support cutting education funding. PERIOD. DIDN’T HAPPEN.

When he did his interview with the St. Cloud Times for their endorsement, King said, naturally, that everything is on the table. That isn’t because King wants to cut K-12 funding or Higher Ed funding. It’s based in his belief in ZBB, aka zero-based budgeting.

I wrote in this post that that simply means that agency chiefs need to justify their spending rather than just being given what they got the previous biennium plus money to cover population growth or inflation. Administrators actually have to justify their spending, a concept totally repulsive to the average DFL legislator.

Let’s be blunt about another thing, too. Saying that St. Cloud needs a leader, not a King is playing the class warfare card. Combine that with asking what King’s world travels tell him about the needs of St. Cloud families and you’ve got a typical class warfare mailer straight from the DFL’s bigotry machine.

Those of us who know King know that his name has been in his family for generations.

Finally, it’s worth noting that King ran a great campaign, focusing on the right issues and the right solutions. King got great support from his campaign manager, Sue Ek, the SCSU CR’s and such notable volunteers like Jim Knoblach and Joanne Benson.

If we want to win more seats in 2012, which we do, it’s important we learn the lessons from King’s campaign. That’s just the best way of defeating entrenched DFL legislators.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

We’ve known for awhile that Michelle Fischbach will be the first Republican to be the Senate president. What I didn’t know was that the president of the Senate is third in the chain behind the governor and Lt. Gov:

Sticky notes protrude from her copy of Mason’s Manual, a thick book laying out a legislative body’s rules. She has gone through the book many times since taking office in 1996 and is known as “as stickler for rules,” as incoming Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said.

But there was a constitutional provision that escaped Fischbach: When she is sworn in as president, she is third in line to the governor’s office only behind the lieutenant governor.

When a reporter told her about that, her jaw dropped.

“It didn’t hit me,” an astounded Fischbach said. “I didn’t think about that. … I’m going to have to call my husband.”

I didn’t know that the Senate President was third in line behind the governor and lt. governor but it’s good to know. The liklihoood of Michelle becoming the governor are minimal but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Democrats have controlled the Senate, often by huge margins, since lawmakers began running on political party tickets in 1972. “Conservatives,” mostly Republicans, held power at times during the nonpartisan years, and Republicans did control the Senate from time to time before the nonpartisan law passed in 1913, but the Legislature has changed so much that anything giving guidance about a party taking the majority would be sadly outdated.

Fischbach, a native of Woodbury, who briefly sat on the Paynesville City Council before being elected to the Senate, said she is ready to take on the uncharted challenge.

As president, she will run Senate sessions, calling on senators to speak and at times deciding if an amendment is germane to the bill being debated. She will make sure the Senate is making progress during its debates.

The important thing for Michelle to keep in mind is producing reform-minded legislation to put on the governor’s desk. She’ll need to work with Amy Koch and with Kurt Zellers to keep the GOP’s reform agenda going.

The last 2 cycles, the DFL ran roughshod on GOP legislators, to the point where the DFL ignored doing what’s best for Minnesotans. The next 2 years should be about doing the people’s business instead of writing legislation for the special interests.

That was something else the DFL spent too much time on.

I’m still skeptical over whether the DFL is interested in working with the GOP but it’s something worth checking into. If you can find willing DFLers, then that’s the approach to take. If the DFL plays games, however, then it’s best to give them the message that John Q. Public won’t appreciate their representative playing hardball against popular legislation.

If the GOP doesn’t overrun common sense, they should be the majority party for a decade or more. Good luck the Sen. Koch’s leadership team. It’s quite the talented team.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus made history for the second time in less than a week. Here’s the details on their history-making votes:

The newly elected Senate Republican Majority Caucus today chose Senator Amy Koch (R-Buffalo) as the new Senate Majority Leader. According to records kept by the Legislative Reference Library, Senate Majority Leader Koch will become both the first Republican (since the Senate began using party designations in 1972) and first female Senator to be elected to the Majority Leader post.

Later that day, they made history again:

Additionally, the new Senate Republican Majority chose to nominate Senator Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville) to become the new President of the Senate. After being confirmed by the Senate in January, Senate President Fischbach will become the first female Senator in Minnesota history to preside over the Senate according to records kept by the Legislative Reference Library.

Senate Majority Leader Koch issued this statement after her election as Senate Majority Leader:

“I’m honored that my peers have chosen me as Majority Leader,” said Senator Koch. “The excitement we collectively feel cannot be overstated. With this majority, we are committed to delivering on our message of smaller, more efficient government, lower taxes and reining in state spending.”

Following her election, Senate President Michelle Fischbach issued this statement after being elected Senate President:

“I’m honored to be nominated by my colleagues in the majority to become President of the Senate,” said Senator Fischbach.

In making these choices, Senate Republicans chose women of character and competence as well as making history.

In addition, the following people were named to Senate Republican leadership positions:

Senator Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista) as President Pro Tem, and Sen. Chris Gerlach (R-Apple Valley), Senator David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), Senator-elect Doug Magnus (R-Slayton) and Senator-elect Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) as Assistant Senate Majority Leaders.

This is the most talented leadership team in recent state history.In addition to Sen. Koch and Sen. Fischbach, Sen. Hann was one of the most respected gubernatorial candidates this year. Though this is his first election victory, Dave Thompson is well-versed in policy debates, far more than your typical freshman. Doug Magnus isn’t a typical freshman, either, in that he’s still the representative of HD-22A.

The first thing this Republican legislature must do is get the economy started. That means rejecting a major bonding bill like the last legislature campaigned on. That just takes money from private industry, the key to sustained economic growth.

If they do that, this GOP majority could easily become an enduring majority.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,