Archive for the ‘Matt Dean’ Category

My conservative friends, it’s time to be honest about a few things. It’s time we admitted that the first 6 months of the Trump administration were stressful, sometimes heartbreaking times. When Sen. McCain gave the thumbs-down to eliminating Obamacare, Republicans’ spirits were pretty low. It’s also time we admitted that the past 6 months have improved significantly. The highlight of the first 6 months was confirming Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The past 6 months, though, have been just as consequential to the judiciary.

Since confirming Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the Senate has confirmed 12 highly qualified judges to the appellate courts, the most confirmations in the first year of a president’s term in office since our republic was established. To steal a slightly modified version of Joe Biden’s phrase, it’s a big deal to change the direction of the federal judiciary for a generation or more. Hold that thought, though.

Next, picture Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The thought of a Senate Majority Leader Schumer should frighten conservatives who care about the court more than a Speaker Pelosi. Seriously. Pelosi can’t pass anything that can’t be undone the minute Republicans retake control, most likely in 2020. Sen. Schumer, though, can halt the confirmation of great conservative judges in a heartbeat. Judges like Gorsuch, Willett and others would be flushed down the toilet in a heartbeat because Sen. Schumer would demand ‘consensus’ judges. That’s liberalspeak for liberal judges in the mold of David Souter.

That’s just one thing that should get Republicans fired up. Another thing that should get us fired up is undoing more of the Obama legacy. I don’t have to be the world’s greatest salesperson to convince Republicans that Obamacare and Dodd-Frank were disastrous pieces of legislation. In order to kill those bills outright, we need the House and Senate under GOP control.

Thus far, the MSM has insisted that there’s a blue wave building. I haven’t bought into that, though I agree that there’s an enthusiasm gap favoring Democrats right now. The good news is that Republicans can make that disappear in a heartbeat if they get inspired to turn out and vote for a new wave of GOP senators, congressmen, state legislators and governors. Picture this guy getting sworn in as Minnesota’s next governor:

Whether you support him or not, there’s no disputing that, as a conservative, I’d rather have him as governor as opposed to having her as our next governor:

Making Minnesota great is totally possible. Making America great is possible, too. Now’s the time to realize just how much we’ve accomplished in DC thanks to one-party rule. Now’s the time to realize how much more we could’ve accomplished in St. Paul if we’d had a Republican to go along with Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

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Displaying incredible elitism, DFL gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz criticized farmers. Walz said “You see those maps. Red and blue and there’s all that red across there. And Democrats go into a depression over it. It’s mostly rocks and cows that are in that red area.”

Coming from a guy who represents tons of farmer in Washington, DC, that’s a pretty elitist-sounding statement. Jeff Johnson and Matt Dean quickly pounced on Walz’s statement. Dean quickly posted a statement on Facebook, saying in part “Rocks & Cows? I’d say Cows Rock! Dairy is an important industry in greater MN. Tim Walz should get out of DC and visit a dairy farm. We’ve had seven years of greater Minnesota being treated like lesser Minnesota. Things are going to change and we make a greater Minnesota for everyone.”

Later in the statement, Dean said “My windshield time is best spent talking to people I’m going to meet along the way. Many of those conversations are polite but short because of the unbelievable amount of harvest work that needs to be done. I’ve learned so much in such a very short time because you do need to meet people where they are when they are that busy. I thought my door-knocking days were winding down, but I’ve surprised many folks at home or on the farm. How gracious they are.”

This is pitch perfect:

Mr. Walz should do 87in87. Heck, he should just visit his own constituents. The First district has awesome farmers. They aren’t red or blue. They are hardworking people. They are getting their teeth kicked in by Healthcare costs and low prices for their crops. The corn prices are so low they can’t afford the healthcare they had last year. Now the crops are so wet, they can’t get the money or the propane to dry them out! And snow is already here.

Commissioner Johnson replied in this Facebook post “Once again, a DFLer slips up and tells us what he really thinks about Greater MN. Tim Walz says much of rural Minnesota is just ‘rocks and cows.’ As someone whose roots, family and values are all in Northwestern Minnesota, I find that statement both arrogant and ignorant. Yes, there are lots of rocks and lots of cows in parts of Greater MN, but more importantly there are lots of decent, hard-working, patriotic Americans. Let’s focus on them for a change rather than dismissing them as irrelevant or unimportant. Minnesotans deserve better than what the DFL is giving us.”

Here’s the video of Walz acting like a jackass:

That’s frighteningly insensitive. Years ago, Mike Kinsley said that “a gaffe is when you accidentally tell the truth.” This fits into that category. It’s apparent that Walz is pandering to the metro DFL activists. Don’t forget that Walz already renounced the NRA:

Walz recanted his prior support for the NRA and announced that he would donate money given to him by the pro-Second Amendment group to a charity helping veterans and their families. ‘The politics is secondary,’ Walz told Murphy on Sunday. ‘I have got friends who have been, had gun violence in their family and like so many responsible gun owners, it’s what I grew up on.’”

Criticizing farmers and gun owners is political suicide in the general election. It might help him get the DFL endorsement but it’s a killer for the big election.

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Keith Downey made a mistake taking on Matt Dean on health care. While Keith Downey was the chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Matt Dean was fighting important health care battles on the front lines in Minnesota. Matt Dean wasn’t sitting on the sidelines. He was fighting and winning health care battles. Let’s remember that this happened when the DFL held overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. Yes, Tim Pawlenty was still governor but the DFL were only 3 votes short in the House to override Gov. Pawlenty’s veto at any time.

When Downey first attacked Rep. Dean, Dean replied immediately and forcefully. The Strib noticed, writing “In a sign of Dean’s emergence as a potential front-runner, his rival Keith Downey launched the first major attack of the Republican contest last week by hitting Dean on health care, a signature issue of his campaign and time in the Legislature. Downey described Dean as a “typical politician” in one Facebook post and challenged him to a one-on-one debate. Dean responded with a bit of passive-aggressive venom familiar to many Minnesotans: “I’m confident Republicans will endorse a candidate who has the care, credibility and integrity to know his facts before blindly launching into a political attack to grab a cheap headline,” he wrote.”

The one-on-one debate challenge is an old trick. With a full field like this, it isn’t effective to criticize an opponent. Hitting an opponent with half a dozen other candidates might hurt him but not help yourself. Also, a one-on-one debate gives the appearance of slimming the field. Downey certainly hasn’t cleared the field. For that matter, nobody has cleared the field. The stunt that Downey is playing is that a one-on-one match-up gives the illusion that he’s the frontrunner. That’s a pretty nifty trick for a guy who just accused Matt Dean of being a “typical politician.”

This isn’t an endorsement of Matt Dean, though I’d feel pretty comfortable if he was the GOP’s endorsed candidate. I’d feel pretty comfortable with a couple other candidates, too. The purpose of this post is to highlight Matt Dean’s conservative policy accomplishments on health care. You know that you’re on the right track when Joe Davis of ABM insists that “Dean and Republicans have been paying lip service to health care while working to take away Minnesotans’ ability to care for themselves and their families.”

Right. It’s instinctive for Republicans to take ABM’s statements as Gospel fact. It isn’t like we’ve ever caught them lying, right? Oh wait. I’m certain we’ve caught them being dishonest. The truth is that trusting ABM’s or the DFL’s statements, especially on health care, is like trusting an arsonist to put out fires.

Today marks LFR’s 12th blogiversary. When I started blogging, social media didn’t really exist to any large extent. Twitter wars hadn’t started. We certainly didn’t have Twitchy chronicling the provocative things people said on Twitter. In fact, Twitter didn’t take off until Nancy Pelosi shut down the House of Representatives rather than vote on the Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy program. In fact, that’s why I wrote this post. John Culberson, a Republican member of the House, used Twitter to get the word out about the Republicans’ protest of Pelosi’s strong-arm tactics. When Pelosi turned off the microphones, Rep. Culberson started texting people to tell them of Ms. Pelosi’s strong-arm tactics. Then he took to Twitter.

I started blogging because the so-called MSM wasn’t interested in supplying important information to the people. I hoped that bloggers would create the competition that would force the MSM to start doing their job. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. If anything, it’s gotten worse. The MSM quickly transformed into the Agenda Media, a phrase I coined years before Rush coined the phrase ‘Drive-By Media’. I still think my phrase is a better fit.

LFR’s pledge to you is that I’ll continue to hold people’s feet to the fire. I’ll continue writing about institutional corruption, whether it’s found at MnSCU headquarters or whether it’s when the Dayton administration rigs union organizing elections.

I’m proud that I’ve helped win several elections, including two State Senate races and one congressional race this year. I’ll pledge to keep pressure on the DFL until they fix Minnesota’s health care crisis, too. They broke it. Unfortunately, they’ve refused to fix it. The good news is that Republicans are prepared to fix it. The incoming Trump administration will do its part. Greg Davids, Matt Dean and others will fix what’s broken with Minnesota’s problems.

During the 2017 session, I hope to expand LFR coverage of the legislative session by taking occasional trips to the Capitol, especially around the deadlines. With Gov. Dayton expecting to dig in his heels, especially on health care, this session will be one of the most eventful sessions in history.

Those trips will cost money so consider this my appeal for sponsorships. If you’re interested in sponsoring these trips, contact me by leaving a comment. I will contact you via email. Consider this the official start of my quarterly bleg.

Some things have changed since I started blogging. Over the next year, LFR will be changing, too. Stay tuned for those developments. What hasn’t changed is the need to hold politicians’ feet to the fire. I’m hoping to do that for another dozen years or more.

Finally, thank you to all of the loyal readers of LFR. I’m proud of the fact that LFR has become one of the legislators’ most read news sources.

I wrote this post to highlight Gov. Dayton’s fearmongering on the MNsure/ACA reform. This weekend, he said “It’s a great political slogan. I think it had a major impact on some of the legislative races. But it’s another thing to deal with the reality of what you put in its place. They better look before they push us over the cliff.”

In the post, I replied “Gov. Dayton, quit with the fearmongering. Nobody’s talking about anything radical. In fact, Matt Dean, the chair of the House HHS Finance Committee and a member of the House HHS Reform Committee, ‘said Minnesota should replace the Affordable Care Act with its old approach, a high-risk pool to cover ill and expensive consumers who previously couldn’t get health insurance.'”

The truth is that the only thing that Gov. Dayton and the DFL have proposed thus far to ‘fix’ MNsure is a one-time bailout of people making too much to qualify for federal subsidies. Both sides agree that that’s necessary in the short-term. That isn’t controversial but it isn’t the complete fix for Minnesota’s health insurance crisis, either.

Medica has reached its self-imposed limits of policies sold through the individual markets. One-time rebates won’t fix that. This article highlights the problem facing hundreds of Minnesota families:

Medica has hit its enrollment cap for those buying through the MNsure state-run exchange, meaning only one option for people in dozens of Greater Minnesota counties who want to switch to a new health plan.

In those counties, the only option left is Blue Plus, which is the most expensive plan offered. Gov. Dayton and the DFL haven’t proposed a single solution to these families’ situation. By definition, isn’t not proposing a plan that fixes these families’ situation is the equivalent of pushing these families off a financial cliff?

It’s worth noting that there’s no need to wait. The caps were agreed to by the Dayton administration. That means this is a Minnesota-only problem. It requires a fix from Minnesota’s politicians.

It’s clear that Republicans are leading on this issue. Greg Davids, the chair of the House Taxes Committee, put forward the outline for MNsure/ACA reform. Chairman Davids’ proposal includes fixing things like cost, accessibility, families keeping their doctors and providing families more options in terms of more insurers in all parts of the state.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL are one-trick ponies. They haven’t proposed fixing anything. They’ve proposed maintaining the status quo. That isn’t leadership. That’s political cowardice, coupled with the DFL’s usual dose of demagoguery.

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This article highlights the difficult position Gov. Dayton and the DFL painted themselves into when they created MNsure while enthusiastically praising the ACA. Now that health insurance premiums sold on the individual market have increased by up to 67% this year after increasing by up to 54% last year, it isn’t difficult convincing Minnesota farmers that they need something different. They’re already demanding change.

Gov. Dayton is attempting to sound tough when he said “It’s a great political slogan. I think it had a major impact on some of the legislative races. But it’s another thing to deal with the reality of what you put in its place. They better look before they push us over the cliff.”

Gov. Dayton, quit with the fearmongering. Nobody’s talking about anything radical. In fact, Matt Dean, the chair of the House HHS Finance Committee and a member of the House HHS Reform Committee, “said Minnesota should replace the Affordable Care Act with its old approach, a high-risk pool to cover ill and expensive consumers who previously couldn’t get health insurance.” Before the ACA, Minnesota’s uninsured rate was 7.2% in 2007. Of those that didn’t have insurance, 50% of them were eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance, meaning Minnesota’s effective uninsured rate was a spectacular 96.4%. I can’t wait to hear Gov. Dayton explain how maintaining a 96.4% insured rate is the equivalent of pushing people “over the cliff.” Then again, the Democrats’ Agenda Project shadow group, did put this disgustingly dishonest ad together:

With Democrats, the only thing we shouldn’t expect is them doing the right thing the first time.

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Matt Dean, the chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, has an op-ed in today’s Pioneer Press that outlines MNsure’s multitude of problems. Chairman Dean starts his op-ed off by saying “Imagine a huge summer storm blows the roof off every family home and farm in Rochester, St. Cloud and Duluth. Would anyone say, ‘Only 250,000 are impacted, and 95 percent of the state is fine, so it’s not a real emergency?'”

That’s just the start. In his op-ed, Chairman Dean identified multiple problems with the ACA, starting with Dean’s statement that “The only uncapped product is Blue Cross Plus, which offers narrow networks. Blue Plus is not offered for Benton, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison and Stearns counties. That means that in those five counties, once the caps have been met, there is no way to buy insurance that is now legally required.”

Until now, Gov. Dayton and the DFL have talked only about rebates to ease the sting of high ACA premiums. Those rebates are certainly important in fixing part of the ACA’s problems but they won’t fix everything that’s wrong with the ACA. This paragraph highlights another problem with the ACA:

Even if folks do sign up and get a plan, they will learn what a “narrower network” means. You might have to drive by your old doctor’s office and your town’s hospital and travel to another town for care. Patients will lose their doctors, and access to a major provider like Essentia in Northeast Minnesota. In September, I met a mom whose 12-year-old son is being treated at Mayo for two brain tumors. She can’t take him there anymore because no policy she can buy will pay for it, and she doesn’t know what to do.

I just spoke with a loyal reader of LFR whose family lives in northern Minnesota. I confirmed that networks up there are tiny to the point that some people’s hometown hospitals aren’t in their networks. Yesterday, I read a sarcastic comment that the best thing about the ACA is that it eliminated the need for picking between which insurance company they’d prefer to purchase. On the serious side, it’s heartbreaking to hear about this woman’s crisis.

Republicans aren’t just complaining about MNsure and the ACA. They’re offering solutions to these problems at townhall meetings like this one:

Chairman Dean offered this solution in his op-ed:

We must reconnect Minnesota patients with the best care in the world. To do that, we need to strengthen the private insurance market by resuscitating the ability of consumers to buy insurance plans for 2017. That will mean that we need to offer direct consumer assistance and more choices for people who are buying plans right now. We can’t take no for an answer from the feds who stuck us with this awful thing, and frankly they should pay for it.

Longer term, we must admit that MNsure needs to go. MNsure was envisioned to serve the very people it is hurting most: those Minnesotans unprotected by a big company plan or a government program.
We need to replace it with what worked in Minnesota. We need to re-establish our nation-leading coverage plan for high-cost enrollees and offer support to the private market, not unfair competition by a bankrupting “middle-class Medicaid” plan to drive private insurance out of our state.

In an exclusive interview with LFR, Matt Dean has confirmed that he’s thinking about running for the seat left open by Michele Bachmann’s retirement.

While Jim Graves, the DFL and the DCCC are undoubtedly happy that Minnesota’s Sixth District is now an open seat, they shouldn’t think that this will be an easy seat to win. Matt Dean is a formidable candidate. First, he’s got a good understanding of the Sixth District. He’s participated in townhall meetings throughout the District, including in St. Cloud. Second, his message is a great fit for the Sixth District. Third, Matt’s got the ability to work across the aisle without sacrificing his principles:

A commendable thing happened last week after the Minnesota House failed to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of the bill preserving General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) for the very poor: The two House members leading their respective parties’ efforts on the matter, DFL Rep. Erin Murphy and GOP Rep. Matt Dean, just kept working.

Constructively, too. On Friday, a deal was struck that has the blessing of the Legislature’s top leaders in both parties. It’s expected to go to the full House and Senate this week.

That praise was written by Lori Sturdevant, one of the most openly liberal writers at the Strib. It’s important to note that the compromise was built on conservative principles.

Third, he’s got a great understanding of two issues that are important to the Sixth District: health care and education. Fourth, he’s got a track record of being the taxpayers’ watchdog:

House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) is doing his own inquiry into how the Minneapolis Public Schools spends it money after reading this Star Tribune report. The story revealed Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s decision to award $270,000 in retroactive raises to central office administrators at the same time the district cut more than 100 jobs including 52 teaching positions.

Rep. Dean started this investigation right after a long, tough legislative session. He saw money being spent foolishly so he started an investigation into the mismanagement.

The Sixth District needs a congressman a) whose principles are solidly conservative and b) who pays attention to the details on whether government is doing its job or if it’s failing the people.

If Rep. Dean decides to jump in, I suspect that announcement will come sooner rather than later.

UPDATE: Welcome Powerline readers. Follow this link for more information on the early shape of the race.

Rep. King Banaian’s Friday night townhall meeting started with opening statements from Rep. Banaian and House Majority Leader Matt Dean. It was followed by a pair of questions about whether the bonding bill would include money for affordable housing.

During his presentation, Majority Leader Dean talked about his conversation with a businessman who wants to invest $300,000,000 in Minnesota in the context of the importance of reforming Minnesota’s permitting system. He said that the businessman was thankful for the 2 permitting reform bills passed.

Then the businessman said that Gov. Mitch Daniels, (R-IN), just signed a permitting reform bill. The bottom line is that he’d be up and running in six months in Indiana. It would take five months to get the permits in Minnesota.

That’s before talking about the costs involved in waiting in Minnesota. Then there’s the higher taxes Minnesota businesses pay.

The last 40 minutes of the meeting focused on photo ID-related issues. One woman asked why a person would commit voter fraud knowing that they could get caught and put in jail.

That’s been popping up in the DFL’s arguments quite a bit lately. It’s a flimsy question. There’s a huge prison sentence in most states if a person commits second degree murder. Despite the fact that there’s a huge penalty, people still commit murders.

One gentleman identified himself as an election worker. He said he’s been working elections a long time. He said he hasn’t seen voter fraud yet. St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Johnson highlighted the fact that there was something in the newspaper about someone getting convicted of voter fraud in St. Cloud recently.

I got to ask the final question. I said that I recently wrote an article in which a worker at the Scott County Gov’t Center admitted that voter fraud happens. She then admitted that people who get prosecuted for voter fraud still have their votes counted:

INVESTIGATOR: So that’s it? It’s just kind of the honor system?

WORKER: Yes, I guess, it’s, I mean, it’s been that way for many, many years, that, you know, Minnesota’s been an after-the-fact type of state. And, now, we do catch people, that do things, and they’re investigated and charged. But it is, you know, after-the-fact.

By the time voter fraud is detected, the ballot will have been counted. What’s worse than that admission is her dismissive attitude:

My election judges have a difficult time with that. It’s like “Change the law. Change the law.”

King quickly summarized, saying that there were 11,000 votes cast in his race, which he won by 13 votes. He told the attendees that 13 votes is statistically insignificant compared with 11,000 votes.

The other major topic of discussion brought up during the meeting was the need for higher education reform. Councilman Johnson approached the subject by saying that he’s been pleased with how elected officials stay in touch with their constituents through townhall meetings.

He then asked Majority Leader Dean and Rep. Banaian if they could name the MnSCU trustee representing the Sixth District. Finally, he said that he knew of no instances where any of the trustees had held a townhall meeting or met with a business roundtable to see what their needs or concerns were.

The point, he said, was that the Board of Trustees wasn’t staying in touch with the people they’re supposed to represent.

During yesterday’s Rules Committee hearing on HF2738, DFL Rep. Norton asked some questions that HF2738 Chief Auther Rep. Kiffmeyer answered. Here’s a partial transcript of their exchange:

REP. NORTON: As I looked at the bill, it seems to me that, if you show up same day voting, you’re going to have to be verified if you don’t have photo ID. How will that happen?
REP. KIFFMEYER: In regards to same day voting, first of all, there will be a very strong voter education effort, mailings, hotlines, working with Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services. I’m confident that if this passes the voters, that we will enact it in a bipartisan fashion to make sure that we are inclusive to get every single voter to get them the ID. I’m confident, Rep. Norton, that we will work together to do that, that there will be no disenfranchisement.
REP. NORTON: Mr. Chairman, the question still hasn’t been…If a person comes and wants to vote on the same day and they do not have ID, how will you make certain that we will continue with that strong voter turnout? What will the process be for that voter?
REP. KIFFMEYER: In regards to that, starting first of all with the voter education campaign, making it very clear concerted effort. If, after all of that, if on election day, they still do not have their voter ID, they will be able to cast a provisional ballot.
REP. NORTON: That is a concern to me and a concern to many voters who want their vote counted on the day of the election.

Rep. Norton’s last statement is troubling. Provisional balloting has been federal law since 2002. HAVA, aka the Help America Vote Act, received overwhelming bipartisan support:

A bill to require States and localities to meet uniform and nondiscriminatory election technology and administration requirements applicable to Federal elections, to establish grant programs to provide assistance to States and localities to met those requirements and to improve election technology and the administration of Federal elections, to establish the Election Administration Commission, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts:
YEAs: 92
NAYs: 2
Not Voting: 6

A substantive U.S. Senate bill that gets 92 votes has strong bipartisan support. The only senators voting against HAVA were Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. Even Mark Dayton voted for provisional ballots. The system has been in place since the 2004 election. It’s been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike. Why would Rep. Norton have a problem with provisional ballots?

In going through the audio for the Rules Committee hearing, Rep. John Benson’s statement jumped off the page. Here’s what he said:

REP. JOHN BENSON: Just a comment first. Constitutional amendments should be bipartisan and so I think that’s one of the biggest problems I have. We have a proposal here which is very partisan and usually, constitutional amendments have more broad support.

That statement is infuriating. Photo ID has overwhelming bipartisan support. It just doesn’t have broad bipartisan legislative support. That’s a major distinction that can’ be ignored.

It’s a major distinction because rank-and-file Democrats support the bill by a 59%-41% margin. In fact, as I wrote here, Photo ID has overwhelming support across the political spectrum:

Party affiliation – Yes, 92% of Republicans support voter ID. So do 76% of independents…and 59% of those wingnutty Democrats in Minnesota, too.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again. If the DFL wants to ignore their constituents while obeying their special interest masters, that’s their right, at least until the next election.

The most contentious moment in the hearing came when Rep. Thissen threw a hissy fit. Here’s that exchange:

REP. THISSEN: I did want to follow up on one answer you gave previously. Ccan you just tell me — I don’t need alot of sentences, just kind of short answers that answers the question — what on an ID — what’s going to be on an ID that’s going to be on the poll book that Rep. Norton is talking about? … So I’m wondering what you’re expecting to see that isn’t going to be in this electronic poll book with pictures because you’ve kinda said “Well, it’s different.” I’d just like you to explain it to me, and you don’t have to use alot of words. I just want to know what you’re looking for in addition to what’s in this poll book that’s going to be on an ID.
REP. KIFFMEYER: First of all, a photo alone is an unreliable…
REP. THISSEN: It’s not photo alone…
REP. DEAN: Rep. Thissen, Rep. Kiffmeyer is trying to answer your question. If you would simply allow her to answer your question with the respect she deserves, Rep. Thissen…

Rep. Thissen’s spoiled brat routine is getting tiresome. Most importantly, it’s mostly a contrived act. It’s time Rep. Thissen started acting like a leader, not a high school punk.

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