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At some point, the Met Council’s structure will get changed. The Met Council was created in 1967 when ” it lacked any regional perspective in governance or long-term vision. Development was intruding on such basics as sewage treatment and water supplies with untreated waste going into the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers and lakes and streams. Hundreds of individual septic systems and private wells foretold a public health disaster waiting to happen. There were no regional parks. Natural areas were under threat from haphazard housing projects and shopping centers.”

The key part of John Diers’ op-ed is the opening paragraph, which says “We recommend that the 1967 Legislature create a Metropolitan Council, directly elected by popular vote of the people, to solve the pressing area wide governmental problems of the Twin Cities in a coordinated manner. The Council would be responsible only for those area wide functions and services which cannot be handled adequately by municipalities and counties and which are specifically assigned to the Council by the Legislature.

51 years later, the Met Council is still an unaccountable body of government whose members are still appointed by the governor. That certainly wasn’t the type of government that the people who advocated for the Met Council envisioned.

Congressman Jason Lewis has introduced an amendment to legislation in Congress that would require all metropolitan planning organizations that receive federal funds have locally elected officials on their boards. The Metropolitan Council is presently exempt from that requirement having been grandfathered under earlier legislation. In a statement from Rep. Lewis:

“Our amendment does not seek to change the operations or scope of the Met Council. It does not attempt to change the activities of the board. It simply requires that for a board to be in compliance they need to have locally elected official representation consistent with every other MPO in the country.”

It’s time for the Met Council to comply with federal law. It isn’t doing that right now.

Prof. Steven Schier’s op-ed asks a fundamental question that might determine whether Minnesota Republicans will experience a good year in 2018. There’s no question whether Minnesota is a redder state now than when Tim Pawlenty won re-election in 2006. What’s still in question is whether Minnesota will return to electing Republican governors.

Buried inside Prof. Schier’s op-ed is some information that’s gotten my attention. For instance, Prof. Schier notes that “the steadily more progressive profile of the DFL is hurting the party in greater Minnesota. Minnesota Democrats are increasingly defined by strong environmentalism and assertive social liberalism that does not receive a warm response in places such as Redwood Falls, Roseau and Blue Earth and among the state’s farm population. An increasingly progressive DFL creates many electoral opportunities for the state’s GOP. That is reflected in the trends noted above. Metro DFL activists are among the most progressive in the country, and their agenda puts substantial political distance between them and residents of most counties outside of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area.”

It isn’t that Republicans have suddenly gotten popular, though it’s indisputable that they’re more popular than Democrats. What’s most true is that the DFL is much less popular in rural Minnesota than at any time in my lifetime. A look at the Secretary of State’s website shows how the DFL went from having an 89-45 majority in the House in 2008 to a 63-71 minority in 2010. Republicans go into this election with a 76-58 majority in the House. With the margin of victory being large in most of those seats, it’s difficult not picturing Kurt Daudt as speaker again in 2019.

Further, it’s difficult not picturing Republicans being super-motivated this fall to elect a Republican governor to go along with GOP majorities in the House and Senate. It might not finish that way but Republicans must have that as their goal. That’s because it’s such a realistic goal.

This is an unexpected burst of honesty:

It’s easy to miss the recent “reddening” of Minnesota because the state’s media is heavily concentrated in the heavily blue enclave of the MSP metropolitan area. Analysis and coverage of political trends in greater Minnesota receive sporadic and often superficial coverage.

It isn’t that I think Prof. Schier isn’t trustworthy. It’s that such candidness isn’t that common. To be certain, turning Minnesota from a deep blue state to a purple state on its way to being a semi-red state is taking time. There still aren’t any conservative superstars from Minnesota.

Tim Pawlenty is the closest thing to a Republican rock star but he isn’t a superstar by any stretch of the imagination. Jason Lewis has a legitimate shot at becoming a conservative superstar because of his intellectual heft. BTW, ignore the nonsense that Angie Craig will defeat him this year. He’ll have to work hard but Jason will win re-election.

According to this Strib editorial, the Met Council is just terrific. Apparently, they don’t think the same about Jason Lewis. The editorial’s opening paragraph states “Second District Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis is attempting to apply the heavy thumb of the federal government to tip the scales in a long-running debate over the composition of the Metropolitan Council. We think Lewis and the feds should keep their hands off. This is a matter Minnesotans can and should decide for themselves.”

Actually, it isn’t just a local matter. That’s because many bodies like the Met Council exist across the nation. Further, since the Met Council has taxation authority and the authority to usurp local jurisdictions, it’s insane to think that they shouldn’t be accountable to the people.

The editorial also says this:

We’ve also been skeptical about creating a “council of governments.” Its members would be politically beholden to the local constituencies that elected them, rather than the region as a whole. Instead, we favor instituting staggered terms for council members and employing a panel of local officials as a screening committee to recommend council candidates to the governor.

What’s so virtuous about a panel that’s accountable only to the governor? I don’t see anything worthwhile about that. Let’s further ask the question at the heart of this argument: why do these bureaucrats, plus the Star Tribune, fear the people? Governments are supposed to be of, by and for the people. This nation was started in part by the belief that there should be no taxation without representation. Who does the Met Council represent? The Governor?

That doesn’t sound like a governing body that governs with the consent of the people. That sounds like a dictatorial body.

The Met Council is filled with special interests. For instance, Jennifer Munt ‘represents’ District 3, “which includes the Hennepin County cities of Chanhassen, Deephaven, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Greenwood, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata, and Woodland. Munt is the Public Affairs Director for AFSCME Council 5, where she leads marketing, communications and media relations.”

This isn’t about representing the people. It’s about representing the special interests:

Previously [Munt] was the Communications Director for the Hiawatha LRT project (2000-2005) and an Outreach Coordinator for the Metropolitan Council (1999-2002).

Munt hasn’t represented people in the past. She’s represented governments and special interests.

Here’s Jason Lewis’s statement on what his amendment actually does:

“Currently, and in contrast to federal law, all 17 members of the Met Council are appointed by the Governor of the State of Minnesota. MPOs nationwide are created with the intent to improve infrastructure planning and, especially, transit investments on behalf of constituencies across a given region. In 2012, Congress rightly determined that locally elected officials are best suited to represent those same groups. In our region, the failure of the Met Council to include locally elected officials as part of their governing board has undermined this key aspect of accountability to the people they represent.”

Background:

MAP-21 required that federally recognized MPOs that participate in transit improvement program planning, long-range capital plans, coordination of transit services, and that carry out other state activities, all of which rely on federal funding and grants, meet certain requirements. These requirements include a board makeup of locally elected officials, public transportation officials, and appropriate state officials.
The Metropolitan Council (Met Council) currently has a Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) that consists of local elected officials, but in August of 2015, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration ruled that the TAB lacked any voting authority and therefore the Met Council did not meet the threshold of MPO compliance.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration used a separate clause in federal law to “grandfather” the Met Council into compliance.

Our amendment does not seek to change the operations or scope of the Met Council. It does not attempt to change the activities of the board. It simply requires that for a board to be in compliance they need to have locally elected official representation consistent with every other MPO in the country.

In other words, the Strib appears to be running interference for the Met Council. Rep. Lewis’s amendment doesn’t change the Met Council’s responsibilities. It simply requires the Met Council into compliance with existing federal law. That isn’t “tipping the scales” in one direction or another, as the Strib implies. It simply forces the Met Council to comply with existing federal law.

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The DFL has kept saying that Angie Craig is a top-tier candidate. For the sake of this article, let’s stipulate that that’s true. Let’s further stipulate that, for being a top-tier candidate, she isn’t too bright. In 2016, Ms. Craig told KSTP’s Tom Hauser that, if elected, she’d “fight” to expand Obamacare. From that point forward, Ms. Craig’s support dropped like a lead balloon.

In 2018, Ms. Craig has shown that she still hasn’t learned her lesson. The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that “Minnesota Democrat Angie Craig bragged during a weekend candidate forum that she has been working on a way to move healthcare forward with Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.), who last month took the reins of single-payer healthcare legislation in the House.”

Why would a supposed top-tier candidate in a supposedly swing district essentially admit that she’s working with the most radical progressive in the Minnesota delegation on single-payer health care? That isn’t just foolish. That’s downright stupid:

“We are going to have to figure out how we move our healthcare system forward,” Craig said. “I’ve talked to a lot of members of Congress who have a lot of bills—I’ve talked to Keith Ellison who’s got a particular bill he just took over.”
“I just left Keith a little bit ago and I told him, ‘Let’s figure out how we move forward with healthcare.’ ‘And he said to me, ‘I want you at the table when we’re figuring this out.'”

Don’t be surprised if the NRCC highlights this in an ad this October. Ms. Craig can prepare her spin now but it won’t matter. That’s one of those things that you just can’t spin.

The latest Cook Report rated this race as a toss-up. That might be right but Jason Lewis is perfectly positioned to win. I wouldn’t want to be Angie Craig’s campaign manager.

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A liberal front group specializing in gun control bought a full page ad in the Star Tribune. Then the Strib published this article to make sure the organization got extra mileage for their ad buy.

In the article, the Strib wrote “A mysterious group operating under the name ‘Listen to the Children’ called out four members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation Monday on their positions on gun control measures and donations from the National Rifle Association. In a full-page ad in the Star Tribune a week ago, the group asked the entire Washington delegation if they would introduce, cosponsor or vote for legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines for firearms, and if they would return any donation from the NRA and its affiliates and refuse to accept future NRA donations.”

Later, Listen to the Children “the nonprofit placed another full-page ad, saying it received ‘yes’ responses from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Tina Smith, Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Keith Ellison, all Democrats. The ad said that Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Republican, was the only one to respond ‘no’ to both of the group’s questions, but a spokesman for Paulsen’s office said their organization never responded to the ad. Rep. Jason Lewis and Rep. Tom Emmer, both Republicans, and Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, also didn’t respond to the group, which stated in the ad that it considered a lack of response as “no” answers.”

Tim Walz and Tina Smith both essentially said that they don’t think that people should have the right to defend themselves. They also said that they’d reject any contributions from the NRA. With a significant portion of NRA members being blue collar people living in rural areas, Walz and Smith are essentially turning their backs on rural blue collar voters.

I hope rural blue collar voters remember that this November.

The DFL’s condescension for people came gushing through this week thanks to Vice President Pence’s visit to Minnesota. In advance of Vice President Pence’s visit, DFL State Party Chair Ken Martin issue this statement. In part, it said “While corporations will see their taxes cut by 40 percent, the plan increases taxes on hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans. And thanks to the bill, more than 700,000 Minnesotans are now limited in their ability to use the state and local tax deductions. Minnesotans know a scam when they see one, and the Republican tax bill is a bad deal for our state.”

First, saying that the Trump/GOP tax cuts raises taxes “on hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans” is an extreme exaggeration. Everyone’s marginal tax rates dropped. The standard deduction increased dramatically. The per-child tax credit increased significantly.

It’s impossible for those things to be verifiably true at the same time Chairman Martin’s statement is true. Martin isn’t the only ‘extreme exaggerator’ in the DFL. This morning, Ember Reichgott-Junge said that Republicans were caught flat=footed with their messaging and that they’re now playing catch-up. Reichgott-Junge then said that all the chaos in the administration is getting in the way of people knowing that they got a tax cut.

This is typical DFL thinking. The DFL insists that people can’t recognize their bigger paychecks if the government doesn’t tell them that their checks are bigger. This is typical DFL condescension. What’s also typical of the DFL is voting against middle class tax cuts. DFL state legislators voted against state tax cuts before Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

Chairman Martin said that “Mike Pence should return to Washington and join Democrats in fighting for a tax plan that puts everyday families first.” I’ve got a better idea. Chairman Martin should tell DFL legislators in DC and St. Paul to start voting for tax cuts rather than hoarding it for questionable DFL spending priorities and a multi-billion dollar rainy day fund. Chairman Martin should be honest for once and admit that the Trump/GOP tax cuts have triggered billions of dollars in bonuses, higher wages and better benefits for literally millions of people across the nation.

In this post, I asked this question:

How long will this list get?

Since I asked that question, the list has gotten significantly longer.

While DFL activists think they’ve got the upper hand in the tax fight, the truth is that they’re playing catch-up and don’t know it. That’s because they’re willing to believe their press clippings.

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According to the Cook Political Report, MN-3 is a toss-up race. People are free to believe what they want but I won’t join in with that opinion. I won’t buy that BS because Congressman Paulsen defeated State Sen. Terri Bonoff by almost 14 points. Congressman Paulsen garnered 57% of the vote while Ms. Bonoff only mustered 43%. At the time, the ‘experts’ were touting as fact what a top-tier candidate Bonoff was. I actually thought that she was a decent candidate, though I stopped short of calling her a top-tier candidate.

This time, Congressman Paulsen will likely be paired against Dean Phillips. Phillips’ grandmother through adoption was Abigail van Buren, aka Dear Abby. Other than that, Phillips is a nondescript cookie-cutter Democrat. For instance, one of his issues is Campaign Finance Reform. Phillips wrote “No matter what issue is most important to you, I believe the corrupting influence of money in politics is at the very core of congressional dysfunction. It is beyond time to reform our campaign finance system and take steps to repair our government. And while we ultimately may need a constitutional amendment to completely undo the damage done by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, there are steps we can take now that have broad support from the public and would make a meaningful difference.”

Isn’t it interesting that Phillips’ fix for political corruption is taking law-abiding citizens’ constitutional rights away? Would Phillips use the same approach to gun safety? Apparently:

I will do everything possible to reduce gun violence, ensure safe streets and address international threats? through a well-resourced State Department, which would? ensure that? diplomacy is our first line of defense.

In other words, being an international wimp is Phillips’ path to international peace and being a gun grabber is the Phillips path to domestic tranquility. Ask the 14 students and 3 teachers from Parkland how well that approach works.

Of course, the DFL regurgitated the same chanting points:

Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin called the GOP’s tax bill “Robin Hood in reverse. It takes from hardworking Minnesotans to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy,” he said in a statement. “Minnesotans know a scam when they see one, and the Republican tax bill is a bad deal for our state. Mike Pence should return to Washington and join Democrats in fighting for a tax plan that puts everyday families first.”

The DFL isn’t in touch with families. If they were, they’d admit that millions of employees have gotten billions of dollars in bonuses, higher wages, better benefits or all of the above since the Trump/GOP tax cuts were enacted.

The DFL would do well to actually start listening to the people, something they don’t do currently. The DFL should listen more to the blue collar workers. They’re the ones that delivered the White House to President Trump. The DFL should ignore environmental activists more, too. They’re part of the reason why the DFL lost the Minnesota State Senate.

I’ll state this emphatically. Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis will win re-election. It’s likely, IMHO, that the MNGOP will flip MN-1, too. The MNGOP is competitive in MN-8, too. In fact, there’s a strong chance that Minnesota Republicans will have a strong night this November.

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The media bias that Jason Lewis is running against is stifling. For instance, this MinnPost article said “Yet Lewis was on the floor of the House on March 24, they day of the scheduled vote, railing against Obamacare and urging his colleagues to do the “right thing” by dismantling it, something he’d been saying for weeks. Ultimately, Lewis was one of the last speakers to take to the House podium that day: he spoke minutes before Speaker Paul Ryan decided to pull the bill because it didn’t have enough votes to pass. That episode is emblematic of the approach that Lewis, a former pundit on right-wing talk radio, has taken to Congress in his first year on the job. Instead of tacking to the center on key issues or keeping a low profile, as some vulnerable lawmakers faced with a difficult election might, Lewis has been an outspoken advocate for conservative policy priorities like gutting the ACA, slashing taxes and undoing scores of federal regulations.”

It’s appalling that the media would think that voting against repealing the ACA is “tacking to the center.” The ACA still isn’t that popular, though some low-profile GOP improvements have made the ACA less onerous on families. As for “slashing taxes and undoing scores of federal regulations”, the US economy is doing better than at any time during the Obama administration.

It’s interesting to see the left’s explanation for how purple MN-02 is. This is a good example:

On the congressional level, former Rep. John Kline, a Republican, represented CD2 for seven terms. But the plurality of CD2 voters chose to send former Sen. Al Franken to Congress in 2014, and a 30-point majority voted to grant Sen. Amy Klobuchar a second term in 2012.

It isn’t surprising that then-Sen. Franken garnered a plurality of the votes in 2014. His opponent wasn’t a top-tier candidate. As for Sen. Klobuchar’s victory, that’s typical. Most people ignore the substance of her votes and vote for the personality.

Lewis’ belief is that being clear and unambiguous about his policy stances will position him well for the election, and that voters will reward his authenticity even if they disagree. “Sincerity goes a long way,” he said. “It’s the difference between those members that are constantly dictated by the polls, and people who just say, I came here to do something, I’m going to do it. I just think having convictions is a real asset in politics.”

The reason why American institutions have terrible favorability ratings is because people don’t trust their institutions. People that find a politician who actually believes something are thrilled. People want to find a politician who believes something and can explain why they believe that.

That’s Jason Lewis. That isn’t Angie Craig. Look at how significantly she’s changed on health care. This is from Ms. Craig’s campaign website:

We must work to repair our healthcare system, starting with immediate fixes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and work toward universal health coverage. It’s time to stop playing politics with people’s lives. Many families, particularly those who are self-employed as small business owners and family farmers, cannot afford the healthcare available in the individual marketplace, but Washington has done nothing to help. Congress needs to work across the aisle immediately to stabilize healthcare costs for these families.

We can do this without giving up the good things that have come from the ACA. Current law has eliminated the penalty for pre-existing conditions, ended lifetime limits, allowed young adults to remain on their parent’s insurance, and given tens of millions of Americans access to healthcare who didn’t have it before.

I wrote this post to highlight this NRCC ad:

That NRCC ad cost her the election in 2016. Just 2 years later, bold Angie Craig has morphed into timid, calculating Angie Craig. A year from now, who knows how she’ll portray herself? This is what a calculating career politician that’ll sell their soul does. This isn’t about “tacking to the center.” It’s about selling out.

This is another thing that career politicians do:

Third, we need to stop suspected terrorists on the no-fly list from purchasing firearms and reinstate a rule recently repealed by Congress that stopped some people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns.

Banning people on no-fly lists from buying guns sounds sensible — until people find out that those no-fly lists included Stephen F. Hayes, the Editor-in-Chief of the Weekly Standard, and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Had Ms. Craig gotten her way, law-abiding citizens would’ve had their civil rights violated because the federal government was incompetent. As for “people with mental illnesses” purchasing firearms, it’s more likely that the federal, state and local governments will miss warning signs. That’s what happened in Parkland.

Assuming that the federal or state government will promptly update their data bases is like assuming that career politicians will keep each of their campaign promises.

That’s why sincerity, honesty and consistency are cherished by voters. That’s why Jason Lewis stands a good shot at getting re-elected.

Republican friends in SD-54, today’s the day we can elect Denny McNamara. Today’s the day Republicans can solidify their Senate majority. In fact, a McNamara victory gives Republicans a chance to hand Gov. Dayton and the DFL a major defeat.

First, McNamara is excellent on environmental issues. He isn’t a squish on these issues. He’d bring lots of grit to those issues, which is a big deal considering how many jobs-related issues are tied by the DFL to the issue. In Minnesota, the biggest jobs fights are tied directly to the environment. Electing McNamara will give Republicans a better chance of winning those fights.

Next, Jason Lewis supports McNamara. Jason even campaigned with him:


Sen. Dan Hall wants Denny McNamara as a colleague:


Finally, a McNamara victory gives Republicans at least 34 senators regardless of the outcome of the Fischbach fiasco. Think about this possibility: The court rules that Sen. Fischbach can’t keep her Senate seat. Gov. Dayton sets the date for the Fischbach special election. Fischbach resigns as Lt. Gov. With McNamara in place, Republicans elect a DFL senator from a swing district, perhaps from David Hann’s or Dave Thompson’s former districts. That gives Republicans a great shot at recapturing another seat in the Senate. After Fischbach wins her special election, combined with a McNamara victory and another victory from Hann’s or Thompson’s district, Republicans would have a 36-31 majority instead of the 34-33 majority they had last year.

That’s a long way of saying it’s important (imperative?) to get out and vote for Denny McNamara today.

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Thus far, it’s seemed like big multi-national corporations have been the only companies that have spread the wealth gained through the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Apparently, that’s coming to an end. According to this article, Minnesota companies are getting into the action.

According to the article, “Data Sales Co. said it will benefit from a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. The rate cut is part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Republican majorities in Congress and signed in December by President Trump. ‘With the majority of our 80-plus-strong workforce here in Burnsville, I’m pleased that the benefits of tax reform will be felt at home,’ Data Sales CEO and Burnsville resident Paul Breckner said in a news release.”

Breckner praised Rep. Jason Lewis, praising him “for his consistent advocacy of tax reform and seeing it through to becoming law.” Lewis replied, saying “Critics said the business cuts ‘wouldn’t help the hardworking middle-class families that work for these businesses,’ Lewis said in a Jan. 22 message to constituents. ‘Thankfully, it’s actually the case that making American businesses more competitive is very good for our families. Across the country, employers have responded to tax reform by giving a combined total of over $1 billion in bonuses to their employees over the past month. That’s over 1 million Americans with approximately $1,000 more in their pocket today!'”

The American Action Network put together this ad thanking Congressman Lewis for voting for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Congressman Lewis is a rising star in the Republican Party. He’s principled, articulate and conservative. Congressman Lewis’s intellectual heft is impressive, too. I’d love to see him debate nonentities like Betty McCollum or Rick Nolan. Frankly, it’d be a mismatch.

The rematch between Congressman Lewis and Angie Craig, if it happens, would also be a mismatch. Lewis is already hitting her:

“It seems the Erdmann campaign is feeling the Craig hypocrisy we saw regularly last cycle as the same Democrats who claim to be working to get money out of politics seem more interested in someone who can raise money than someone to represent their values,” his campaign manager, Becky Alery, said in a statement. She added: “In 2016, the country made it clear they didn’t want Hillary and this year Minnesota will (once again) make it clear they don’t want Angie Craig.”

Angie Craig would be a good fit in Minnesota’s 4th or 5th districts because she’s exceptionally liberal. She’s a terrible fit for Minnesota’s 2nd District because she’s too liberal for the district. Lewis didn’t vote for the Schumer Shutdown. Angie Craig would’ve voted for the Schumer Shutdown.