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It was quite a downer when Zach Dorholt defeated King Banaian, especially from a policy standpoint. We traded a respected economist for a politician with no particular policy skills. Apparently, though, Dorholt is a skilled spinmeister:

Tax Cuts for Minnesotans

The House got an early start this year by passing a repeal bill to end unnecessary warehousing and business-to-business sales taxes during the first week of session. As part-owner and a small business, I worked with members of both parties to make sure that warehousing taxes, telecommunications equipment taxes, and machinery repair sales taxes were repealed this session. I was a co-author of many of these business tax repeal bills in the House.

We also passed federal conformity as part of that tax repeal bill. Conforming Minnesota’s tax code to federal tax law makes tax filing easier for Minnesotans and qualified over 1 million residents of our state for $230 million in increased tax relief. Last Friday, we were finally able to act on the complete amended tax cut package that was sent to us by the Senate. We passed the bill the same day with bipartisan support to cut taxes by $430 million and sent it to Governor Dayton for signing.

Here’s the truth of what happened:

As part-owner and a small business, I worked with members of both parties to make sure that warehousing taxes, telecommunications equipment taxes, and machinery repair sales taxes that I voted for were repealed this session. I was a co-author of many of these business tax repeal bills in the House. I co-authored many of these tax repeal bills because not repealing them would’ve been political suicide. I supported terrible tax increase policies because that’s what loyal Democrats reflexively do.

Seriously, Dorholt voted for the biggest tax increases in Minnesota history last year. Then he saw the political firestorm erupt the minute Gov. Dayton signed the bill that Dorholt and the DFL voted for.

Now Dorholt wants to pretend that those tax increases just appeared out of thin air, that he didn’t have a thing to do with them. Dorholt wants people to think that giving some of the Democrats’ tax increase back should count as a tax cut. That’s the same logic as saying that the burglar who stole a flat screen TV, several brand new iPads and some kitchen appliances last week, then returned the kitchen appliances this week is a man of charity.

Restoring part of the things that the DFL legislature stole last year isn’t the same as cutting taxes. Outside of a Democratic politicians’ world, that’s considered as righting a wrong.

Finally, talking about tax conformity as tax relief is a joke. It isn’t tax relief. I don’t recall the DFL legislature passing tax conformity last year but if they did, they certainly didn’t talk about it as tax relief. When tax conformity was passed in previous sessions, the legislature just treated it like the right thing to do, a ho-hum type of thing.

I’m betting that the reason the DFL is trumpeting tax conformity as tax relief is because the DFL wants some political cover from the charges that a) the DFL passed the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history and b) the DFL’s tax increase hit plenty of middle class families.

The DFL and their allies like ABM and TakeAction Minnesota aren’t tethered to the truth. They’re more closely affiliated with spin that says reducing the size of last year’s tax increase is a tax cut. There’s a simple thing to remember. The next time that the DFL cuts taxes…will be the first time the DFL cuts taxes.

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Predictably, the DFL’s spinmeisters are doing their best to put the happiest face on MNsure possible. This time, ABM and the public employee unions aren’t the only DFL spinmeisters plying their craft. Now they’ve got Scott Leitz, the interim CEO of MNsure, painting rosy pictures. This time, though, it’s time to dispel the myths that the DFL is working feverishly to establish. First, let’s look at what Mr. Leitz said in painting a hopeful picture:

“With regards to the private side, we are running about 30,000 right now, but we do anticipate because of the mandate that people have health insurance coverage by March 31,” Leitz said.

It’s time to see what official MNsure documents say about the health of the MNsure initiative. First, let’s look at how enrollment is going:

According to MNsure’s report, approximately 26,000 people had signed up for qualified health plans, aka QHPs, as of Jan. 4, 2014. As of Feb. 8, 29,493 people had enrolled, an increase of approximately 3,500. That’s an increase of approximately 13.5%. During the same timeframe, enrollments in Medical Assistance increased from approximately 28,000 to 41,591, an increase of over 13,500. That’s an increase of 48%.

That certainly isn’t the ratio MNsure was hoping for.

Here’s more bad news for MNsure and the DFL:

According to that chart, approximately 100 people are signing up for QHPs per day. If enrollments in process continue at this pace, MNsure won’t meet its goal of 69,904 until March…of next year.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the worst news. This pie chart should frighten Gov. Dayton and every DFL legislator who voted for the exchange legislation:

According to MNsure’s own statistics, only 21% of the enrollees in QHPs are in the 19-34 age cohort. That’s far below the 40% the federal government said is needed to pay for the benefits of less healthy people. Without 40% of the enrollees being young healthies or invincibles, health insurance premiums will spike this fall.

That should frighten Gov. Dayton, President Obama and Democrat legislators and senators to death because there’s nothing President Obama can do to stop insurance companies from announcing big premium spikes before this fall’s election. Those rate spikes will be announced in September or October.

If Democrats think they’re slamming into fierce headwinds now, they ain’t seen nothing yet. When that rate spike happens, employers will dump coverage and pay the penalty. Employees will get hit with the worst sticker shock they’ve ever experienced.

September and October will be difficult months for Democrats. The only month worse for Democrats than those months will be November.

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All of the pundits have hinted that the DFL is one big, happy family. I’m betting that those pundits are stretching things a bit based on this article:

The DFL political establishment on the Range is virtually unanimous in its support, which also has the backing of many in the construction trades, another key DFL constituency. But the controversial project faces stiff and well-coordinated opposition from environmental groups and many DFL lawmakers.

“Clearly this opens up the clash and conflict between those DFLers who value the environment first, versus those who value jobs first. We will all have to answer the question, ‘Whose side are you on?’” Anzelc said. “I think this issue has the potential to divide the DFL convention this summer. The table is set for Democrats running for statewide office to have a real challenging time of it in the ’14 elections.”

Anzelc is partially right. He said this in the context of Gov. Dayton picking Tina Smith as his running mate. This split has been developing since 2009. That’s when Chip Cravaack campaigned hard on the Range and took tons of votes from Jim Oberstar, something that people thought was impossible.

In 2012, ‘normalcy’ was restored when fossilized Rick Nolan defeated Chip. That calm exterior disappeared when Nolan decided to vote for HR761:

Northern Minnesota is known for its great fishing, so perhaps it’s fitting that tracking 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan’s position on a bill that deregulates the mining industry and fast tracks the permitting process for PolyMet is a bit like watching a fish flopping around on a dock: first he’s against it, then he’s for it and now he once again opposes it, this time promising to vote against the legislation if it “comes anywhere near close to becoming law.”

Picking Tina Smith certainly contributed to this division getting exposed but the DFL’s allies have contributed more to this expanding division. Twin Cities Metrocrats are militant environmentalists. They’re passionately opposed to mining. They love harvesting the Iron Range’s votes. They also love stiffing the Iron Range on their highest priorities.

Gov. Dayton’s pick is essentially the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Marlene Pospeck, a former mayor of Hoyt Lakes and a longtime DFL activist, noted that strong turnout on the Range has been critical to many DFL victories in the past, including Gov. Dayton’s narrow victories in the DFL primary and general election in 2010.

“The people in St. Paul need to be aware that if they want to be re-elected, we on the Iron Range hold one of the keys,” Pospeck said.

Still strong for DFL in ’14?

Like Anzelc, Pospeck believes that PolyMet and, more generally, mining, is the principal source of regional conflict within the party. But she said it is not the only one. Another came in 2012, when Mark Phillips was squeezed out as commissioner of the powerful Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). An Iron Range native who previously worked at the IRRRB, Phillips resigned the post after less than a year on the job. The reasons for Phillips’ departure have never been made entirely clear.

Pospeck isn’t issuing an idle threat on this. I wrote this post about Pospeck’s LTE about taking the Iron Range for granted:

For instance, although mining is the lifeblood of our region and provides benefit for the entire state, those in high office in St. Paul have been almost silent in support of this important industry that provides thousands of jobs on the Iron Range.

So when these DFL candidates come north, seeking our votes and making promises they do not intend to keep, let’s carefully assess whether or not they truly support our concerns and intend to effectively address our issues.

It is no longer enough for them simply to carry the label DFL to win our votes. We Iron Rangers must hold their feet to the fire and demand their support for issues important to the Iron Range in return.

It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for the DFL. They can either support the Iron Range or they can start expecting to get a smaller share of the Iron Range vote.

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When Alida Messinger picked Tina Smith to be her ex’s running mate, she sent the signal that she didn’t trust Iron Range candidates. That’s likely because Alida hates mining. Imagine her disgust when she found out that the Duluth Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to support PolyMet:

The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce has announced its board of directors has voted unanimously in support of the proposed PolyMet copper mine project.

Chamber president David Ross said the vote was to “support advocacy for the PolyMet project. And to go beyond that and state that we are here to encourage decision makers to allow this project to proceed,” Ross said in a video statement.

While it’s about 5 years too late, this development is still welcome. This puts pressure on DFL legislators because they’re trying to thread the needle. DFL legislators have to please the miners. These legislators have to keep the environmentalists happy, too.

At this point, the environmentalists have to be discouraged. They’ve poured time, money, campaigning and misinformation into their effort to prevent PolyMet. At this point, it looks like they’ve lost the fight. It looks like they’ll have to rely on President Obama’s corrupt EPA to prevent PolyMet.

Iron Rangers have traditionally supported the DFL. Their faithful support shouldn’t earn them the DFL’s cold shoulder. At this point, the ruling Metrocrat wing of the DFL loves the Iron Range’s support but they hate the Iron Range’s pro-mining agenda.

Hopefully, the Iron Range will wake up to the fact that the GOP is pro-mining. Hopefully, that recognition translates into increased support for the GOP’s pro-mining candidates. Hopefully, conservative DFL voters will file for a messy divorce the first Tuesday this November.

Frankly, it can’t happen soon enough.

After the DFL’s 2010 wipeout, Alida Messinger told then-DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez that he would be resigning. If he didn’t, she’d stop writing big checks to the DFL. Melendez resigned a week later. He was replaced by Ken Martin, who had worked for her at the Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

This morning, Gov. Dayton announced that Tina Smith, his current chief of staff, would be his running mate for the 2014 election. First, here’s a little something from the Martin coronation article:

Most of the criticism of DFL state party chair Brian Melendez in the wake of Election Day has been confined to the liberal blogosphere. The three-term incumbent could likely survive those barbs.

But a much more important DFL supporter, wealthy donor Alida Messinger, is also apparently opposed to Melendez remaining as party chair. According to a reliable DFL source, there won’t be any checks arriving in DFL coffers from the Rockefeller heir if Melendez remains in the post.

Of course, Ken Martin, the person most often cited as a potential rival for state party chair, is closely aligned with Messinger. He chaired the Win Minnesota Political Action Fund, which played a key role in the governor’s race. The group’s largest individual donor: Messinger.

Back then, I wrote that the DFL was quickly becoming a subsidiary of the Dayton Family Politics, Inc. This information provides important insight into Gov. Dayton’s pick:

Smith is a longtime friend of Dayton’s former wife, Alida Messinger, a significant donor to Dayton’s first election effort and other prominent DFL causes.

When Dayton was searching for someone to help his campaign after winning the DFL primary, Messinger recommended Smith for the job.

This isn’t surprising. Alida Messinger wants to create a political party that stands for the things she stands for. If that means filling the DFL power structure with her yes people, then that’s what she’ll do. In fact, we have proof that that’s what she’s doing right now.

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM, is funded by her. Ditto with the DFL. One of her puppets is the DFL Party chairman. Now, because she doesn’t trust Iron Rangers, she’s hand-picked a candidate to be Gov. Dayton’s candidate for lieutenant governor from the Twin Cities.

Simply put, Tina Smith was picked because Alida Messinger didn’t trust another Iron Ranger as Gov. Dayton’s lieutenant governor. In Alida’s DFL, Iron Rangers are welcome for their votes. Unfortunately for people living on the Range, Alida’s DFL doesn’t like a pro-mining agenda. Gov. Dayton’s pick of Tina Smith turns that opinion into fact.

If it’s Sunday morning, rest assured I’m taping At Issue. This week, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin was asked about the DFL filing a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. The DFL filed this nuisance complaint in an attempt to deflect complaints about 13 DFL senators willfully breaking campaign finance laws by coordinating their ad campaigns with outside groups.

Allegedly, the GOP spent some money but didn’t report spending the money in the right place on the report. At best, the GOP might’ve committed a minor infraction. What the DFL did was painfully illegal:

On Tuesday the Board levied the fine against the DFL after it was discovered that 13 DFL candidates coordinated their campaigns illegally, since properly reclassifying the expenditures means that the candidates illegally exceeded their campaign contribution and/or spending limits. A total of over $300,000 in illegal contributions were not reported by the campaigns.. The board also plans to fine each individual campaign directly, according to a press release from the Minnesota Republican Party.

These 13 DFL senators broke one of the most straightforward campaign finance laws on the books. I knew that candidates couldn’t coordinate their advertising campaigns with special interests’ ad campaigns. That law’s been on the books since the Nixon/Watergate era.

Putting this most succinctly, these DFL senate candidates wanted to win their races so badly that they didn’t hesitate in breaking Minnesota’s campaign finance laws. It isn’t a stretch to think that Alida Messinger would’ve been willing to write the check for the fines in exchange for a DFL-controlled state government.

DFL lawmakers disagreed with the board’s ruling said that they are glad to put the matter to rest.

“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.

It’s infuriating to hear Martin dismiss breaking one of Minnesota’s biggest campaign finance laws by essentially calling it a “distraction.” Then again, it shouldn’t surprise people, especially considering the fact that Martin played a major role in the biggest smear campaigns in Minnesota gubernatorial history. Let’s remember that Martin was an official with the Alliance for a Better Minnesota:

Martin is currently the director of “Win Minnesota“. If you read this blog, you know who they are: they are a PAC that launders the Dayton family’s political contributions to “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” and the “2010 Fund” and the other arms of the Dayton Campaign’s tightly-wound little money-laundering and distribution machine.

ABM was criticized by local reporters and national organizations for their lies. Martin was part of that. Now he’s running the DFL, where he’s dismissing outright cheating as a distraction.

Finally, Martin’s statement that we shouldn’t be ‘distracted’ by their cheating because they’ve got to govern is silly. Thus far, the DFL’s governance has been a disaster. Their tax increases hurt the middle class more than they hurt “the rich.” Their implementation of MNsure has been a total disaster. Gov. Dayton has made statements that question whether he knows what’s happening within his administration.

It’s time for Minnesota to head in a different direction.

Earlier today, I wrote this post about whether unions deserve most of the credit for building America’s middle class. Apparently, the DFL is feeling more than a little defensive about what I wrote. It’s apparent because Paul Thissen, the Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, responded with 3 defensive-sounding tweets to my post. Here’s Speaker Thissen’s first tweet:

Do innovative cos take advantage of govt basic rsch? Do business & employees benefit from a broadly educated populace?

Here’s Speaker Thissen’s second tweet:

do workers get to jobs and companies move product without public roads? Do middle class economies exist without clean water?

Here’s Speaker Thissen’s final tweet:

your black & white, either/or world view may serve you rhetorically but no one in real world operates by it.

First, let me address the subject of whether “workers get to jobs and companies move products without public roads.” They do in Indiana. While government funds the building of highways through gas taxes in Minnesota, it’s indisputable that that’s an archaic way of funding highway maintenance. Indiana, not Minnesota, is the future of highway funding. PS- Privatization works in improving highways. Indiana’s proof of that.

Next, Speaker Thissen apparently thinks, like many leftists, that Republicans oppose all forms of government. That’s silliness. They’ve read too many of ABM’s smear campaign messages for their own good. (Then again, the DFL are puppets. ABM is their puppeteer.) Minnesota’s Constitution requires funding of public schools so there’s no question about whether taxpayers will fund government schools.

Third, isn’t it possible that Speaker Thissen is living in an either/or, black or white world? Based upon his past actions, there’s no question that Speaker Thissen thinks that the nanny state isn’t intrusive enough. He’s voted for higher taxes on the richest of the rich. He’s voted for middle class tax increases, too, as recently as last May. Those are indisputable facts. He’s voted for legislation that would prohibit people from owning certain types of dogs in Minnesota.

It isn’t that Republicans hate government. It’s that we’ve seen government expand into areas that government shouldn’t intrude into. We’ve seen the DFL elitists in the Twin Cities tell people in northern Minnesota that they don’t have the right to make a living even if they live by Minnesota’s environmental regulations. Yes, that’s what Conservation Minnesota is pushing. Here in central Minnesota, another of the DFL’s environmentalist allies, the Sierra Club, is pushing for shutting down of the Sherco power plants.

There’s no question whether Speaker Thissen will defend these special interest organizations. There’s no question because he’s defended them in the past. Considering his ambitition to succeed Gov. Dayton as governor, and his need for substantial campaign contributions from environmentalists, there’s no question Speaker Thissen will continue defending these black or white organizations.

Finally, let’s cover Speaker Thissen’s question about whether middle class economies exist without clean water. Not that we’d want this but yes, middle class economies have existed without clean water. Ohio’s and Pennsylvania’s middle class thrived with some of the nastiest water in the nation.

Like I said, however, that shouldn’t be the goal we shoot towards. The linkage between clean water and robust job creation is questionable at best. There’s no disputing whether those things can co-exist. They’re co-existing right now. What’s equally indisputable is that the DFL’s special interest allies love moving the goalposts on industries, especially the mining industry, by increasing the regulatory restrictions on Minnesota’s biggest industries.

Last year, Speaker Thissen didn’t hesitate in pushing a bill that limits silica sand mining even though it would kill Minnesota jobs. Here’s what Rep. Pat Garofalo said about the bill:

You’re gonna actually tax an industry out of existence with a tax on silica mining. I actually had a liberal activist say to me they thought that by raising taxes on silica mining, they would somehow impact the fracking in North Dakota. (Laughter in background) Spoiler alert. They’re gonna get the sand from other states. Doesn’t matter. It’s gonna have no impact whatsoever on other states’ ability to do fracking of natural gas and oil but it will kill jobs here. And it’s not business groups saying that. It’s not small businesses saying it.

We’ve heard from the local 49ers. We’ve heard from the local unions. In fact, members, this is how totally delusional this tax increase is: Mark Dayton actually labeled the House DFL silica sand tax “ridiculous.” So when a tax increase is so high that Gov. Dayton labels it ridiculous, you know you’re checked out for lunch.

Speaker Thissen, the question isn’t whether government will exist. The question is whether the DFL will continue to insist on limiting Minnesota’s economic growth through their abuse of Minnesota’s regulatory system. At this point, there’s little disputing whether the DFL will tell the environmentalists no every once in awhile. They won’t.

The only question is whether Minnesotans will reject the DFL’s vision of ever more intrusive government. Let’s hope they answer that question with an emphatic yes this November.

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This LTE is exceptionally defensive sounding:

Some people are making a big deal out of a story about the executive committee of a local DFL party unit coming out against copper-nickel mining jobs and, therefore, workers in Northeastern Minnesota. Some even wonder whether and when the DFL decided to drop the “L” from its coalition (“DFL unit’s resolution opposes copper mining,” Jan. 14).

The resolution was the action of a small minority of extreme folks who apparently don’t believe in the regulatory process that Minnesotans worked together to develop over decades. This was not a reflection of the larger feelings of DFLers across the state or even in the Northland.

I can assure you, as a labor leader in Northeastern Minnesota, that the “L” is alive and well in the DFL and that the party will stand strong for good-paying jobs and working people across our region and state. We hope.

Dan Olson
Superior

People aren’t questioning that private sector unions support mining. That isn’t the point. In fact, it’s a non sequitur argument. The point the article made, which I wrote about here, is that elitist Twin Cities Metrocrats vehemently oppose mining. That part of the DFL isn’t a tiny minority. They’re the part of the DFL that writes the biggest campaign checks. That’s why they get the preferential treatment from the DFL. Tom Rukavina represented the miners, which he told me in this email exchange. Here’s Rep. Rukavina’s response:

Gary

I’m perplexed. I sent an email to the three who voted no, I’m awaiting a reply. Frankly, if Gov Dayton is pissed off at the DNR (hell, Rangers have been pissed off at them forever), he should fire some top dogs over there. But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.

Perplexed and pissed off would better describe my reaction. But hey, I’m a has been but I have been wondering why I’m the only member of the Range delegation who seems concerned about this. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only member of the Range delegation who represents the real Iron Range and has never represented any other constituents in my 26 year tenure.

Rep. Rukavina is an old school Iron Ranger. While Metrocrats agreed with his tax and spending policies, they worked tirelessly to undermine his mining policies.

As long as the Metrocrats dominate the DFL, Mr. Olson can talk all he wants about the DFL still supporting Labor’s issues. Their claims will ring hollow in the ears of the unemployed miners.

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This LTE isn’t what the Metro DFL wants to hear. In fact, it’s an in-your-face ultimatum to the DFL:

For instance, although mining is the lifeblood of our region and provides benefit for the entire state, those in high office in St. Paul have been almost silent in support of this important industry that provides thousands of jobs on the Iron Range.

So when these DFL candidates come north, seeking our votes and making promises they do not intend to keep, let’s carefully assess whether or not they truly support our concerns and intend to effectively address our issues.

It is no longer enough for them simply to carry the label DFL to win our votes. We Iron Rangers must hold their feet to the fire and demand their support for issues important to the Iron Range in return.

TRANSLATION for DFL: Put up or shut up. Here’s what Marlene Pospeck wrote prior to that ultimatum:

It will soon be time for DFL candidates for statewide office to trek to the Iron Range seeking our support. They do this because they know how strongly Iron Range voters turn out on Election Day. Many candidates have been successful in their quest for higher office chiefly because we Iron Rangers have supported them.

It can’t be enough, however, for these candidates to simply be DFL to garner our support. When asking for our support, these St. Paul candidates have an obligation to offer the Iron Range their support in return but this hasn’t necessarily always been the case. They tend to rely on our votes and then promptly forget about doing what’s good for our region.

This is a variation of what I call Tom Daschle Disease. Prior to his defeat in 2004, Tom Daschle would act like George Bush’s best friend while visiting South Dakota. The minute he picked up his luggage at the DC airport, he’d instantly turned into the far left’s darling. In 2004, he got exposed. Then he got defeated. That time is coming for the DFL, too.

Metrocrat elitists consistently repeat the mantra that they support “working families.” That usually happens right before they file another lawsuit preventing PolyMet from becoming a reality.

Pospeck isn’t just any DFLer. She’s the former mayor of Hoyt Lakes. She speaks for lots of Rangers. Patterns are patterns until they aren’t anymore. Range Republicans are making a spirited push to win over ‘Mining Democrats’:

The 8th Congressional District Republican Committee has given full backing to copper nickel/precious metals mining projects on the Range.

The GOP committee’s strong support for nonferrous mining was announced just prior to today’s public hearing on PolyMet Mining Co.’s NorthMet project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement. And it closely followed a resolution passed by a St. Louis County DFL unit that opposes nonferrous mining, which is in conflict with views of Iron Range DFL legislators.

“It’s a shame that the DFL Committee in northeast Minnesota is publicly opposing new copper/nickel mining jobs and projects seeking permits in the state. We’ve met as an 8th Congressional District GOP board and announce our strong, unapologetic support for copper/nickel mining and the jobs it promises to create,” said Ted Lovdahl, chairman of 8th District Republicans.

“We want to assure the hard-working people across Minnesota that the GOP is with them, and if they aren’t yet with us, they have a home in the Republican Party.”

It isn’t known how long the DFL’s tired mantra of supporting “working families” will be effective. How many times will miners buy that schtick, then watch the Metrocrats get their way? The Metrocrats don’t have a history of being pro-mining. That’s big because Rangers are suffering bigtime. The median household income for Minnesota from 2008-2012 is $59,126, compared with $46,231 for St. Louis County for the same period. There’s an income gap of 22% between Minnesota’s statewide median household income and the median household income for St. Louis County. That’s the direct result of the Metrocrats’ anti-mining policies. Even retired Rep. Tommie Rukavina is upset with the DFL’s anti-mining policies. Here’s what he told me right before he retired:

I’m perplexed. I sent an email to the three who voted no, I’m awaiting a reply. Frankly, if Gov Dayton is pissed off at the DNR (hell, Ranger’s have been pissed off at them forever), he should fire some top dogs over there. But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.

Perplexed and pissed off would better describe my reaction. But hey, I’m a has been but I have been wondering why I’m the only member of the Range delegation who seems concerned about this. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only member of the Range delegation who represents the real Iron Range and has never represented any other constituents in my 26 year tenure.

Finally, it isn’t possible to argue that elitist Metrocrats like mining. They like getting miners’ votes but they don’t care about mining. If they didn’t need miners’ votes to win elections, there’s a 100% chance elitist Metrocrats would throw miners under their political bus.
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Based on what’s in this editorial and what’s in this editorial, the DFL’s divisions might soon be front and center. Let’s start with the ‘PolyMet’ editorial:

While Duluth and other media speculated that opponents and supporters were evenly split at the five-hour public hearing that included a two-hour open house session and a three-hour comment period, the numbers just don’t add up that way.

They reported that attendance was 1,300 to 1,500. But of that number, a caravan of seven buses and a passenger van journeyed from the Range with at least 500 supporters and another 100 or more arrived in advance by cars.

Simply put, there are lots of Iron Rangers who badly want PolyMet to happen. They might not have sophisticated presentations but what they lack in sophistication, they more than make up for in passion and verifiable information.

The unified message of business and labor all across the Iron Range to Duluth and the Twin Cities delivered in a fact-based and civil manner was outstanding.

That paragraph indicates that Iron Rangers are tired of being told by elitist metro Democrats, aka Metrocrats, that they don’t have the right to earn a living. This has the potential of turning the relatively conservative, pro-Second Amendment, Range Democrats against the anti-mining Metrocrats. This indicates the hostility isn’t that far below the proverbial surface:

Yes, some opponents and preservation groups will continue their misinformation campaigns which are part of an excessive rhetoric fear campaign of damage to the environment.

The facts, however, will win out in the EIS and then permitting processes. And the preservationist fear mongers do not hold those cards.

The “preservationist fear mongers” that the editorial cites have this in common: they’re almost exclusively elitist Metrocrats. That’s a stark contrast with the blue collar Iron Rangers who supported Gov. Dayton in 2010. The ‘Lt. Gov. editorial’ offers a different perspective of the same potential problem:

The list of four is heavily female-metrocentric-weighted. The governor’s chief of staff, Tina Smith, state Sen. Katie Sieben and Kelliher, all of the Twin Cities area, are strongly suggested.

The other person that’s supposedly on Gov. Dayton’s short list is IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich. I haven’t confirmed whether Sertich is actually on Gov. Dayton’s short of if he’s more of a ‘wishful thinking’ candidate. Still, the risks are high for Gov. Dayton. If he picks a Metrocrat, he risks alienating Iron Rangers. If Gov. Dayton picks Sertich, he’s essentially snubbing the check-writing, anti-mining Metrocrats from the Twin Cities.

The other name I’ve heard floated is former Sen. Tarryl Clark, aka Taxin’ Tarryl Clark. With Gov. Dayton’s tax increases likely to be a major campaign issue, Taxin’ Tarryl would just add fuel to that fire. That’s before talking about her responsibilities with the Blue-Green Alliance. ‘Carpetbagger’ Tarryl didn’t win many friends when she ran for the Eighth District endorsement. DFL activists rejected her, in part because she was a carpetbagger, partially because she’s as anti-mining as the Metrocrats on that short list.

The simple truth is that Gov. Dayton will have to choose. Either Gov. Dayton sides with the elitist Metrocrats and alienates Iron Range Democrats or he sides with the more conservative Iron Democrats and alienates elitist, anti-mining Metrocrats.

There’s an old, ancient really, joke about giving a chameleon a nervous breakdown. The way to give a chameleon a nervous breakdown is to put it against a plaid background. In this situation, I’d argue that Gov. Dayton is the chameleon and the DFL is the plaid background.

Good luck with that.

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