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There wasn’t much doubt about whether Rep. Jim Newberger represents his district prior to this election. That’s a big reason why he’ll easily win re-election this Nov. 8. Still, Rep. Newberger’s op-ed on Gov. Dayton’s shutting of the Sherco power plants shows how hard he’ll fight for his district.

The most alarming part of Rep. Newberger’s op-ed came when he wrote “With all the talk of a ‘transformational’ approach to energy at Thursday’s meeting, the Public Utilities Commission passed on actually deciding how it was going to ‘transform’ our energy grid. The PUC merely voted to retire two coal-fired units without designating a replacement.” There’s nothing “transformational” about shutting down 2 power plants that supply a large percentage of central Minnesota’s electricity, a significant number of central Minnesota’s private sector jobs and a gigantic portion of central Minnesota’s property tax revenue.

I’d say that it’s downright reckless for the PUC to shut down any type of power plant without having a plan on what to replace them with except I know that the Public Utilities Commission has lots of environmental activists on its board. This decision isn’t just reckless. It’s intentional.

Based on his campaign website, it isn’t a stretch to think that one would-be career politician who’s cheering the PUC’s decision is Zach Dorholt. Here’s what he wrote on his priorities page on energy and the environment:

I believe that our natural resources are one Minnesota’s greatest assets. I want to be able to swim in our waters and eat the fish that I catch and I want my children to be able to say the same thing 50 years from now. An ecological balance in a state that is the headwaters is not only a recreational need, but a necessity for our economy and way of life.
Working together, we can create a more sustainable future by:

  1. Supporting energy conservation programs and investing in alternative energy systems
  2. Fully committing to restoring our local waters and native prairie grasses
  3. Using the Clean Water and Legacy funds, not as a credit card, but for their intended purpose
  4. Encouraging forward thinking businesses to locate in Minnesota
  5. Assisting in the formation of community green spaces, local sustainable food and gardening efforts

This isn’t what a principled politician says. It’s what a man who wants to be a green energy lobbyist says. It’s what a politician who doesn’t represent his constituents says.

Mr. Dorholt won’t fight to keep these high-paying jobs in Central Minnesota. He should be crucified at the ballot box for selling out to the special interests instead of fighting for high-paying jobs in central Minnesota. Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This morning, I paid a quick visit to Zach Dorholt’s priorities page to see what Tina Flint-Smith Alida Messenger told him he believes. Earlier this week, at the St. Cloud Times-sponsored candidate forum, Dorholt said that he’d support a single-payer health care system. That was startling news to most of his constituents.

It’s startling because Dorholt avoided talking about the subject on his priorities page. On Dorholt’s priorities page, he said “As someone who works in the healthcare field I regularly see issues that if reformed, could make healthcare more efficient and affordable. Too many policies are made in St. Paul without the guidance of those who actually work with patients on a day to day basis. When elected, I will work to make sure that healthcare remains accessible and affordable to all of our citizens and that we get our fair share of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from Washington.”

First, it’s noteworthy that Dorholt is an ideologue first. It’s incidental that he works “in the health care field.” Further, it’s noteworthy that working in the health care field doesn’t automatically make you an expert on health care policy. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t have health care professionals on the MNsure board. I’m just arguing that we shouldn’t just pick someone for the board because they work in the health care industry.

Next and most importantly, Dorholt’s a little late in saying he’d “make sure that healthcare remains accessible and affordable to all our citizens.” The premiums in the individual market aren’t affordable. That isn’t just my opinion. It’s also Gov. Dayton’s opinion (sometimes) and Bill Clinton’s opinion:

It’s worth noting that Gov. Dayton initially said that the Affordable Care Act wasn’t affordable 2 weeks ago. This week, he’s written an op-ed saying things aren’t so bad. I’m betting that Hillary’s campaign called him and lectured him on saying something like that.

Finally, Dorholt can’t admit that the system Minnesota had prior to Obamacare/MNsure, complete with its high-risk pool, did a fantastic job insuring people with pre-existing conditions while keeping health insurance premiums for healthy people relatively stable. I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it here: the federal government should’ve modeled their plan after Minnesota’s system. Unfortunately for Minnesota, our senators crumpled like spineless wimps and voted to destroy Minnesota’s system.

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It’s time people understood just how many jobs anti-development environmentalists kill each year. It’s time people understood, too, the impact excessive regulations have on Minnesota’s state budget. This article helps illustrate the negative and devastating impact overregulation has on economic growth.

This paragraph lays things out perfectly, saying “Enbridge has been trying to build this petroleum pipeline from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to its regional terminal in Superior, Wis. The project is common sense. The oil from the Bakken needs to be moved to market. Building Sandpiper would create thousands of well-paying middle-class construction jobs, bring millions of dollars in much-needed business to rural communities and add millions of tax dollars to rural governments. There is also no disagreement that moving the oil in a pipeline is a safer alternative than moving it via rail cars or trucks.”

It’s indisputable that moving oil through pipelines is safer than other forms of moving product to market. That fight is finished. Further, it’s indisputable that building the pipeline would create thousands of high-paying construction jobs. Think about this: If a bonding bill is called a jobs bill by the DFL, why shouldn’t building the Sandpiper Pipeline project be called a private sector jobs bill by Republicans?

It’s indisputable that the interest that’s paid back by taxpayers on bonding bills costs everyone money, frequently in the form of higher taxes. Interest paid off by companies like Enbridge when they build America’s infrastructure is a net plus on multiple levels plus it doesn’t costs taxpayers a dime in higher taxes. In fact, it’s possible to argue that increased economic growth from the private sector will lower taxes while increasing revenues and raising blue collar workers’ wages significantly.

Minnesota loses

The result of this uncertainty came home to roost earlier this month. Enbridge announced that it had formed a partnership to purchase a pipeline system that would get the Bakken petroleum to market. One of the pipelines Enbridge will purchase is still under construction, and it runs from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois. This pipeline was permitted in all four states in a year and a half. One thing the pipelines in this system have in common is that none of them travels through Minnesota.

Enbridge got what it wanted. North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois approved the alternate pipeline route in about 18 months, which is about a third of the time Minnesota had muddled through the permitting process thus far. BTW, North Dakota has better air quality than Minnesota.

This is particularly noteworthy:

One of the first things Gov. Mark Dayton did when he took office in 2011 was sign an executive order to streamline decisions on environmental permits. The rhetoric clearly has not been matched by action.

It’s noteworthy because Gov. Dayton signed that executive order after Dan Fabian submitted a bill (HF1) to streamline permitting. I wrote then that this was a purely political stunt. There’s little doubt but that I got that right.

Minnesota has strong environmental regulations. Unfortunately, it’s also got some of the most untrustworthy anti-development environmentalists in the US. These anti-development environmentalists oppose the Sandpiper Pipeline. They oppose all forms of mining in Minnesota. They opposed the building of the Big Stone II power plant, too.

At this rate, the anti-natural resources wing of the DFL, which is the dominant wing of the DFL, won’t permit anything that doesn’t fit their rigid ideology.

This article shows that the Iron Range knows that the DFL isn’t their friend. It doesn’t mean that they’re smart enough to vote for Republicans yet but that isn’t surprising.

Iron Range DFL activists attending the DFL State Convention this weekend defeated Resolution 54, which said “Oppose sulfide ore mining, which is significantly different from taconite mining, poses unacceptable environmental risks, threatens multiple watersheds (Lake Superior, BWCA/VNP, Mississippi) and should not be allowed in the sulfur-bearing rock of Minnesota.”

It’s nice that Resolution was defeated but that isn’t a victory. A victory would’ve included approval of permits for PolyMet. A victory would’ve included a resolution stating that the DFL wholeheartedly supports mining unconditionally. Neither of those things happened, which means defeating Resolution 54, though a good thing, wasn’t a victory.

Kelsey Johnson, the president of the Iron Mining Association, tried putting the best spin on it, saying “Today’s success was an important win and I’m glad that our legislators were able to remove this resolution. While it’s unfortunate that we have to fight against global forces, it’s more unfortunate to be fighting for our own livelihood in our own backyard.”

The truth is that the metro DFL controls the DFL. That won’t change anytime soon. In fact, that’s likely never to change. The only way for the Iron Range to truly win is for them to switch to voting for Republicans. Republicans don’t take their marching orders from Alida Messinger. They don’t have to fight environmentalists like John Marty or gun grabbers like Ron Latz or looney tunes lefties like Sandy Pappas.

Unlike the DFL, Republicans actually want every region in the state to succeed. The DFL isn’t interested in seeing mining succeed. This weekend’s vote proves that. Republicans would love to see the Iron Range rebound to the prosperity it once took for granted.

A rejuvenation of the Iron Range is the true definition of victory. That will only happen when the Range starts voting for Republicans.

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TEA Party Alliance president Jack Rogers is upset with House Republicans for not delivering on his demands for tax cuts:

“My heart is heavy with grief from the actions taken by the MN House Majority and some of the MN GOP Senators,” wrote Minnesota Tea Party Alliance president Jack Rogers on his Facebook page.

“Unfortunately, every house rep let us down in the final 48 hours,” commented Jake Duesenberg, the Tea Party’s executive director. “No tax cuts at all. Huge spending increases in public education and socialized health care.”

That’s disappointing coming from a group that’s supposed to know the Constitution. To expect tax cuts with a DFL majority in the Senate and a DFL governor is like expecting to buy winning lottery tickets each month. The odds are the same. Republicans passed tax cuts in the House. They were DOA when they arrived in the Senate. That’s political reality.

It’s also political reality that Republicans weren’t going to win many battles when controlling one half of one of the two political branches. If Rogers and Duesenberg want some of these accomplishments, then they should work tirelessly to elect more Republican legislators and a Republican governor. Without that, Republicans can’t enact their reform agenda.

While I’m disappointed with Mssrs. Rogers and Duesenberg, I’m not surprised that Paul Thissen and Ken Martin still won’t tell the truth. Check out Ken Martin’s whopper:

Said DFL Party Chair Ken Martin: “Republicans refused to compromise and are more interested in providing tax giveaways to corporations than investing in education.”

What is it that causes DFL politicians to reflexively lie? Does Alida Messenger implant a chip in these politicians’ brains that forces them to lie profusely? Martin saying that “Republicans refused to compromise” is disgusting dishonesty. It’s quickly disproven. Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk reached a budget agreement a week ago today. Of course, they kicked Gov. Dayton out of the room to finish the deal but they got it done.

Then there’s Paul Thissen. Here’s what Thissen said:

“House Republicans failed to finish the job,” DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen said Wednesday. “They refused to compromise with Gov. Dayton. They wanted to keep this money so they can give corporate tax cuts.”

There’s those non-existent corporate tax cuts again. It’s stunning how frequently the DFL lies about this. Last weekend, I contacted Greg Davids, the chair of the House Taxes Committee, about the House Tax Bill. Here’s what he told me:

Eighty percent goes to individuals. Tax relief is for the middle class…. My tax bill is tax relief for the poor and middle class.”

It’s disappointing when people I agree with don’t acknowledge political reality.

What’s worse is when an entire political party proves itself incapable of telling the truth.

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This LTE was written by a DFL union propagandist. Here’s the proof:

The plans proposed this year by the House Republicans may be the worst, most damaging proposals I have seen. Instead of continuing the work begun two years ago to rebuild our schools after a decade of divestment, the plans call for a giant $2.2 billion dollar tax giveaway for the rich and corporations. It gets bigger over time and will create a gaping budget deficit, while offering an increase in education that is so low it would result in cuts to our schools.

First, it’s dishonest to call the Republican tax cut a “tax giveaway for the rich and corporations.” I can’t dispute the fact that the Republican tax bill includes tax relief for small businesses. Next, there aren’t any tax cuts for big corporations just like there aren’t big tax cuts for the Mark Daytons or Alida Messengers of the world.

Here’s more progressive BS from the DFL:

This is a doubling down on the dark days of the 2000s, when we paid for tax breaks for the rich by balancing our budget on the backs of our kids.

The only tax cuts over the last 15+ years are the infamous Jesse Checks from Jesse Ventura’s administration. It’s noteworthy that the DFL controlled the Senate from 1972-2011, meaning that the DFL signed off on those supposedly evil tax cuts. Another thing that’s important to debunk is that the Jesse Checks were “tax breaks for the rich”, as the DFL propagandist insists. That isn’t difficult. This article will expose the truth about those “tax breaks for the rich”:

“In late summer, I get to stand here and say, the checks are in the mail.”

Ventura pushed for returning surplus money in the form of a sales tax rebate, which some Minnesotans have come to call “Jesse checks.” This year, the average check is $512 for a married couple or head of household, and $232 for a single filer. State officials say all eligible taxpayers should receive their checks by Labor Day. But Ventura cautions that this may be the last year of rebate checks, since the state has cut taxes and the economy has slowed. “We are not bringing in the money that we used to bring in prior to my administration, and in light of that, and the economy, there may not be a fourth,” says Ventura.

In other words, this DFL propagandist is lying through her teeth. This LTE was written by a professional propagandist. Here’s more:

Two years ago, we finally made real investments in our schools. This gave many hope for our children’s future and the future of Minnesota. We saw free, all-day kindergarten, schools previously relegated to four days able to go back to five-day weeks, and health care and services for families expanded so all can succeed.

Despite the “historic investment in education”, property taxes in many school districts skyrocketed. What’s worse is that the achievement gap isn’t improving. That isn’t reason for celebration. That’s justification for worry.

Whenever the DFL uses terms like “tax giveaway for the rich and corporations”, that’s proof that they’re spinning. It’s proof that they aren’t telling the truth.

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The DFL’s most trusted ally, other than Alida Messinger and the public employee unions, are the environmental activists. For all the things that the DFL does to help the DFL environmental activists make life miserable for blue collar workers, you’d think they’d get a pass on things. Apparently, the environmental activist wing of the DFL didn’t get the memo:

Adding bird-safe glass to the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium could add as much as $60 million in extra costs and delay construction by six months, the chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said Friday.

Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen gave the estimate in response to complaints that the clear glass planned for the $1 billion downtown Minneapolis stadium would pose a threat to migratory birds, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

First, this is what environmental activists do. They make things up, then talk about the potential for crisis. This is fiction. Second, if this was a legitimate problem, which it isn’t, who cares?

Why should the Vikings have to spend an additional $60,000,000 to prevent birds from flying into the new Vikings stadium? Why should they have to wait an additional year to move into their new home? Most importantly, why didn’t these environmental activists mention this when the blueprints were first released in May of 2013?

If there was a Republican governor and Republican-picked chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, they’d tell these environmental activists to take a hike. What’s better is that organizations like Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds wouldn’t have standing to proceed with a lawsuit because they can’t show how they’d be harmed.

It’s poetic justice that the political party that specializes in doing special favors for special interests is getting hassled by their most special of special interest allies.

In 2012, the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) accused the DFL of ignoring Minnesota state campaign finance laws when it filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. Here’s part of the Board’s Findings of Fact:

Lit Happens is a political media consulting company based in Minneapolis, MN operating as a sole proprietorship of Vic Thorstenson. Lit Happens was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating the elections of Vicki Jensen, Alan Oberloh, and Tom Saxhaug.

The Pivot Group, Inc. (Pivot) is a political media consulting company based in Arlington, VA. Pivot was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the elections of Jim Carlson, Kevin Dahle, Kent Eken, Melisa Franzen, Laurie McKendry, and Matt Schmit.

Compass Media Group, Inc. (Compass) is a political media consulting company based in Chicago, IL. Compass was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the election of Greg Clausen, Alice Johnson, Susan Kent, and Lyle Koenen or the defeat of their opponents.

The reason why this is important is because these expenditures weren’t attributed to the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” The disclaimer on the mailers said that they were paid for by “the DFL Central Committee Party Unit.” Here’s what happened:

Lit Happens either took photos during the candidate’s door knocking event with the Senate Caucus Party Unit or when the candidate was in St. Paul on other business. In each case, someone acting on behalf of the Senate Caucus Party Unit contacted the candidate or a representative of the candidate to arrange for the candidate to be at a location where Vic Thorstenson would take the photographs. The candidates followed all direction, if any, provided by the photographer.

In other words, DFL Senate candidates worked with the Senate Caucus Party Unit on mailers sent out by the “DFL Central Committee Party Unit” and paid for by the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” This information is important, too:

In the cases of those candidates about whom literature pieces were prepared by Compass and Pivot, Senate Caucus Party Unit campaign staff contacted the candidates or the candidates’ campaign managers or other representatives to arrange schedules for the photo shoots with the photographers. Each candidate agreed to a schedule involving multiple locations for the photo shoots and arrived at the specified starting location at the scheduled time.

In connection with the photo shoots taken by Compass and Pivot, the candidates were asked to bring wardrobe changes so that different looks could be obtained in different settings. Each candidate who was asked to bring wardrobe changes did so. All candidates followed the photographers’ directions regarding wardrobe changes and other matters relating to the photo shoots and fully participated in the photo shoots.

That’s what’s known as coordination and it’s illegal under state and federal election laws. Coordination between candidates and state party units or independent expenditure groups is prohibited. Of the 13 candidates that coordinated their activities with the DFL Central Committee Party Unit and/or the Senate Caucus Party Unit, 11 were elected. That gave the DFL a majority in the Senate.

In short, the DFL paid a $100,000 fine in exchange for their Senate majority. I’m betting that Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton and Tom Bakk think that that was a wise investment. Thanks to the DFL’s lawlessness, they passed a horrific budget that benefitted the DFL’s special interest allies in the Twin Cities but did little or nothing to help the regular folks in outstate Minnesota.

I’m betting that the DFL’s ends-justify-the-means attitude towards elections won’t play well in 2016. The DFL’s willingness to do whatever it takes to acquire and maintain power isn’t an attractive attribute.

Paul Thissen’s op-ed in Friday night’s St. Cloud Times is breathtakingly dishonest. Here’s a prime example of Thissen’s dishonesty:

On the campaign trail, Republicans like Daudt attacked these accomplishments as inadequate, attacks ironically financed by enormous contributions from big Twin Cities corporate special interests. So it seems fair to ask:

Will Republicans be willing to stand up to their big Twin Cities corporate donors and make sure to continue DFL investments in education that are closing the funding gap between rural and suburban school districts rather than handing out corporate tax breaks?

I frequently wrote about the Democrats’ dishonest claims that Republicans supported “handing out corporate tax breaks.” To be fair, most of those claims were made against Torrey Westrom’s and Stewart Mills’ congressional campaigns but Thissen’s claims are dishonest just the same. One of the DCCC’s ads accused Torrey Westrom of shutting down the government “to give tax breaks to his wealthy friends.”

First, Republicans haven’t written any legislation that would “hand out corporate tax breaks. Thissen knows that’s verifiable fact but he doesn’t care because he’s utterly dishonest. Soon-to-be Minority Leader Thissen can clear this all up by citing which legislation the Republicans authored would’ve given corporations tax breaks.

Most importantly, though, let’s focus on who funded the DFL’s legislative campaign. In St. Cloud, the DFL paid for most of the campaign mailers. I don’t recall getting any mailers from Dorholt’s campaign proper. I also got mailers from a pro-union group called Working America Minnesota Political Fund. This is one of their mailers:

Will Minority Leader Thissen “be willing to stand up to [his] big Twin Cities” special interest allies in the next legislative session? Will he stand up to the environmental activist wing of the DFL? Will he tell Alida Messinger that he’ll steadfastly support mining on the Iron Range?

History shows he won’t. When AFSCME and SEIU insisted that the DFL impose forced unionization on small businesses, then-Speaker Thissen didn’t think twice. Rather than siding with the hard-working ladies who run in-home child care facilities, Thissen and the DFL voted with Eliot Seide and Javier Morillo-Alicea instead.

When convenience stores told him not to raise the cigarette tax because that’d hurt their businesses, Thissen didn’t just ignore them. He raised the cigarette tax $1.50 a pack. Thanks to Thissen and the DFL, convenience stores in Greater Minnesota got hurt.

Will a Republican legislature respond to the unique economic challenges that have made it harder for our economic recovery to be felt from border-to-border?

Unlike the DFL of the last 2 years, the GOP House will respond to Greater Minnesota’s economic needs. The GOP didn’t ignore small businesses’ calls to not start applying the sales tax on business-to-business transactions. In the House, the DFL voted for raising those taxes. After they got an earful from businesses after the session, the DFL knew that they’d overreached.

Sensing that their majority status in the House was in jeopardy, the DFL quickly moved to repeal the B2B sales taxes that they’d passed just months before.

Paul Thissen wasn’t the only DFL legislator who displayed hostility to businesses. That’s why he’ll soon be the House Minority Leader rather than getting another term as Speaker.

If there’s anything that’s clear about the Eighth District race, it’s that Eighth District voters voted for a congressman who will be utterly irrelevant:

Candidates for 8th District Congress from the Brainerd Area received 254,004 votes on Tuesday, with Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan polling a mere 3,636 more ballots than Republican Stewart Mills. The result: A narrow re-election victory for Nolan in a race that drew national media attention and more than $12 million in independent groups for advertising — mostly television.

A final count gives Nolan 128,820 to 125,184 for Mills, a 48.5 percent to 47.1 percent margin. Nolan and Mills volleyed the lead for about two hours until the congressman opened about a 2 percent lead at 10 p.m., which he maintained with only slight slippage until Wednesday morning when his lead was too much to overcome.

The Eighth District just voted for a man who will be utterly irrelevant when the next Congress is sworn in. Nancy Pelosi’s caucus will have their smallest caucus since 1929. Seriously, that’s how irrelevant they’ll be.

More important, the Iron Range voted against its own self interest. They voted for a life-long environmentalist who won’t lift a finger to open PolyMet. The DFL is dominated by environmental elitists from the Twin Cities. That won’t change anytime soon because the environmental elitists write big checks to the DFL. The Range’s legislators are subjected to the Metrocrats’ agenda and always will be until the Range breaks away from the DFL.

Republicans were accused of playing the PolyMet issue for political advantage. Rangers said they’d forget about PolyMet the day after the election. To be fair, Republicans haven’t always had the Range’s best interests at heart so a certain amount of distrust is justifiable.

What Rangers are about to find out, though, is that PolyMet wasn’t just a political position taken by Republicans for the 2014 election. Rangers will see the Republicans’ commitment to PolyMet and other similar projects. The Range will find out that Republicans want people prospering wherever they live in Minnesota.

Finally, Rangers will find out that this isn’t their daddies’ DFL. This DFL is run by Alida Messinger, the woman who writes big checks to environmental organizations and to the DFL in her effort to prevent PolyMet from getting built. If Rangers keep voting for the DFL, they’ll continue to have the same shitty economy they’ve had for the last 15-20 years.

Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I disagree. Voting for the DFL again and again, then expecting the FL and Alida Messinger to change is either stupidity or political suicide. The DFL won’t change. It’s time the Range finally admitted that.

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