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Unlike the DFL governor, Republicans haven’t turned a blind eye towards the nursing home crisis. For 7 years, DFL Gov. Dayton hasn’t paid attention to the nursing home crisis. After the Strib published a multi-part series on nursing home abuse, in which some people literally died of neglect, Gov. Dayton appointed a task force to look into the abuse.

Before that panel was appointed, the Strib examined state records. One of the appalling pieces of information was that there were “25,226 allegations of neglect, physical abuse, unexplained serious injuries and thefts last year in state-licensed senior facilities” and that “97 percent were never investigated.” When I wrote this post, I noted something in State Sen. Karin Housley’s statement. In her statement, she said “Instead of taking responsibility for the shortcomings and negligence of his own state agencies, one of the main drivers of this issue, the governor placed the blame wholly on the care providers. Despite a well-documented culture of intimidation and neglect that prevented the governor’s Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) from serving its function, the governor refuses to accept accountability for the failings of the executive branch.”

Despite the DFL owning this crisis, the House DFL campaign committee, tasked with getting DFL legislators elected, issued this propaganda:

The bill fixing this DFL crisis was chief authored by Sen. Housley. The DFL knows that it’s being run through the Senate first. (PS- the bill # is SF3437.) The bill will be passed in the Senate first, then sent to the House, where it will be passed, then sent to Gov. Dayton.

This BS fundraising appeal reveals the DFL’s (lack of) character. The DFL knows that their governor ignored the problem. The DFL knows that Republicans are cleaning up the DFL’s mess. Still, the DFL is pretending like it’s the Republicans’ fault if the DFL’s problems aren’t fixed. Fortunately, Republicans are in the habit of doing the right thing. They’re fixing the DFL’s problem.

This is entirely on Gov. Dayton:

When investigations did happen, often they were essentially botched, with evidence destroyed or tampered with, interviews not conducted, and sometimes police or prosecutors not contacted as required by state law. Sometimes investigations were done by public employees or nursing home employees not trained in criminal investigations.

The legislative branch has nothing to do with the actual investigations. That’s exclusively the executive branch’s responsibility. Period.

This highlights the fact that the Dayton administration, aka Minnesota’s executive branch the past 7+ years, was incompetent. The DFL’s investigations were botched, which placed additional seniors in harm’s way. Now the DFL is attempting to blame Republicans for the DFL’s incompetence!

Finally, it’s important to remember this November that the DFL was both dishonest and incompetent in dealing with this crisis. The DFL will campaign on creating a “Better Minnesota.” That’s BS. If the DFL thinks that this is a picture of “a Better Minnesota”, then it’s obvious that the DFL sees things through rose-colored glasses.

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One thing that’s obvious from Gov. Dayton’s proposal to prevent elder care abuse is that he isn’t willing to admit that his administration didn’t do its job.

Included in Gov. Dayton’s proposal are “streamlin[ing] reports of abuse, increase licensing requirements for long-term care facilities and strengthen penalties for those who hurt seniors and vulnerable adults.” Nowhere is it mentioned that the Dayton administration failed its oversight responsibilities. State Sen. Karin Housley noticed:

“Nearly all the governor’s recommendations come from his handpicked working group, which I believe only reflect one side of an extremely emotional, complex situation,” said Housley, who chairs the Senate long-term care committee and has her own legislative proposals. “While many of the working group recommendations are incorporated into my legislation, it will not ignore the critical oversight role played by the state.”

Later, Sen. Housley issued this statement:

While the governor and I share the same goal of making sure elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans are cared for with dignity and respect, I believe his proposal falls well short and ignores many of the realities of the problem. Nearly all the governor’s recommendations come from his handpicked working group, which I believe only reflect one side of an extremely emotional, complex situation. In fact, the governor’s proposal does not consider any of the recommendations of the senior care facilities, which were almost entirely left out of the conversation.

Instead of taking responsibility for the shortcomings and negligence of his own state agencies – one of the main drivers of this issue – the governor placed the blame wholly on the care providers. Despite a well-documented culture of intimidation and neglect that prevented the governor’s Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) from serving its function, the governor refuses to accept accountability for the failings of the executive branch. The many hardworking care providers across Minnesota depend on the OHFC for oversight, but it did not live up to its end of the bargain.

I will be introducing legislation tomorrow that I believe moves us in the right direction and brings all stakeholders to the table. While many of the working group recommendations are incorporated into my legislation, it will not ignore the critical oversight role played by the state. I have been working on this issue for over a year, bringing all stakeholders to the table and searching for a solution that works for all – and those conversations have virtually all pointed toward an urgent need to fix the OHFC.

I look forward to working with the governor’s office, my colleagues, and stakeholders in passing substantive change this session.

Here’s the tape of Housley’s press conference on her new bill:

Follow this link to read the Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act. The first question from the press asked what disappointed Sen. Housley about Gov. Dayton’s proposal. Here’s her reply:

SEN. HOUSLEY: I felt it was a one-sided — he appointed his working group. I admire and I’ve listened to everyone in that working group from AARP to Elder Justice to Elder Voices. It was just one side and you also have the huge problem within the OHFC and that wasn’t addressed and that is his administration and that is where he failed. I know that Sheila van Pelt has been emailing the government since 2013, the governor and his administration trying to get answers on why she wasn’t getting answers so to not look in the mirror is disappointing.

Gov. Dayton’s administration failed to investigate these abuses. According to the OLA report, they didn’t even put a plan in place to investigate. After the crisis was exposed, Gov. Dayton’s proposal didn’t include anything to hold his administration accountable.

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There’s no doubt that Sen. Karin Housley is a strong advocate for seniors, especially those living in elder care facilities. Last week’s hearing on elder care abuse proved how passionate Sen. Housley is about the issue. Rather than speak like a politician spewing policy, Sen. Housley sounded like a relative looking for justice for a parent who’d gotten abused. She also sounded like a skilled litigator trying to get to the bottom of this crisis.

During the hearing, Sen. Housley said “How long did the Minnesota Department of Health know this was going on and cover it up? I have to say it’s been disappointing to learn what’s been happening for the last I don’t know how many years.”

Daniel Pollock, the acting commissioner of the state Department of Health, replied “We openly acknowledge that in recent years the Office of Health Facility Complaints really has not met the reasonable and appropriate expectations of Minnesotans when it comes to investigating maltreatment complaints in a timely way.”

TRANSLATION: I admit that we didn’t give a damn because our pay isn’t tied to our performance.

This weekend, Sen. Housley stopped past WCCO studios to be interviewed by Esme Murphy:

The part that stung Esme was when she said “The economy though — U.S. News and World Report named us the third best state in the country — 2017 the blistering pace of construction in the Twin Cities in recent years is one sign of an economy firing on all cylinders. Don’t they deserve credit for that?” Sen. Housley replied “There’s still a lot of room for improvement. You know, you go up to the Iron Range and those people are suffering up there. They need jobs up there and they really need to have their voices heard.”

Sen. Housley is an impressive candidate and an impressive legislator. She isn’t the type of legislator that’ll let bureaucrats off the hook. When they come before her committee, they’d better be prepared and they’d better tell the truth from start to finish.

By comparison, I can’t see Tina Smith being much more than Sen. Schumer’s shill. That isn’t to say that Smith isn’t smart. I’m just saying that she’s like most Democrats in that they do what they’re told.

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Apparently, Tina Smith thinks that she can win her special election by peddling the latest DFL BS about the Trump-Russia nothing burger. She might be able to gin up enthusiasm with the DFL’s far-left base with that but I’d doubt that thoughtful people care a whit about the investigation. I’m betting that people will be more interested in interrogating Ms. Smith over why she voted for shutting down the government on Friday night, then voting to reopen the government on Monday, especially considering that the votes were literally on the identical bill.

Further, I’m betting that voters will want to know whether she supports President Trump’s immigration framework that would give 1,800,000 illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship in exchange for the appropriation of money to built President Trump’s border wall and ending chain migration. Will Ms. Smith represent the DACA recipients she claims to care about or will she vote to keep the issue alive for this year’s campaign? In other words, will she represent her constituents? Or the special interests that fund her campaign?

“The report that President Trump sought to fire Robert Mueller—the man leading the Trump-Russia investigation—is profoundly disturbing, to say the least,” Smith’s statement continued. “I plan to support measures that would help protect this investigation from further political interference.”

First, the firing didn’t happen. Why be worried about something that didn’t happen? It isn’t like Smith doesn’t have truly important things to do. She’s got immigration reform to think through. She’s got to decide whether she’ll support lifting the spending caps on the military. BTW, the military got hollowed out thanks to Sen. Franken’s votes. Will she fix what he broke?

The New York Times reported Thursday night that Trump had ordered a White House lawyer to fire Mueller, but backed down after the attorney, Don McGahn, threatened to resign. If carried out, the firing would likely have created an extraordinary political crisis.

A significantly different version of the story is now making the rounds. In that newer article, it’s being reported that President Trump asked McGahn what would happen if he fired Mueller. McGahn replied that it would create more headaches for the President. McGahn then recommended that President Trump drop the idea, which apparently happened.

It isn’t a big deal for the President to have expressed frustration with the Mueller investigation. Mueller’s team is filled with biased ‘investigators’ who wanted Hillary Clinton to be president. It’d be a miracle if a person wasn’t upset with the team Mueller picked.

Here’s a point worth considering: Smith is more upset with something that didn’t happen than she’s been about the abuse of residents in Minnesota’s elder care facilities. Forgive me but why isn’t Smith upset about something that’s actually happened? Why isn’t she upset about that crisis? When you watch this video, I want you to think about the questions you’d ask if your parents were subject to this abuse:

Ponder what Sen. Housley said:

It snowballed over the Dayton administration and was completely ignored and was brushed completely under the table so I think there needs to be some apologies made and some accountability taken.

I’ll be clear. Much of this happened while Tina Smith was Lieutenant Governor, a time when she paraded around the state doing ribbon cuttings, etc. Why didn’t Smith dig into this crisis rather than be Gov. Dayton’s PR person? Is it because Smith prefers the role of PR spokesperson over the responsibility of fixing things?

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When I first heard about the abuse happening in elder care facilities, it was heart-wrenching. Follow this link to read my first post about this crisis. This is the link to my next post. Earlier this week, Sen. Karin Housley issued this statement after conducting a hearing on the crisis, saying “On November 30, 2017, Gov. Dayton requested a ‘time-limited work group to provide guidance on steps the state should take to improve the health and safety of Minnesota seniors…’, with the recommendations due on January 26, 2018. It is now January 26 and I am disappointed to learn the work group’s recommendations have been delayed. It is my expectation that the governor’s office will release the unedited report, in full, on Monday morning. I expect to hold a committee hearing shortly to review the recommendations and chart our course forward. Elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans, and their families, have suffered for too long due to bureaucratic backlogs and inaction. Minnesotans should expect nothing less than full accountability and action from their state government.”

The Dayton administration has already taken too much time to fix this crisis. Some of the testimony in this video is heartbreaking:

Some of the testimony from the commissioners is infuriating. They’re so far out of touch that it’s maddening. What’s more maddening is this statement from Gov. Dayton:

While the health department takes heat for poor oversight, Governor Dayton blamed providers. “First and foremost, they are the ones to blame for these egregious abuses,” he said Wednesday.

Why do I think that Gov. Dayton won’t hold investigators and other bureaucrats accountable for not conducting investigations? Obviously, the ‘caregivers’ (I use that term loosely in this instance) have the primary responsibility but it’s equally true that the Dayton administration had an affirmative responsibility to investigate these situations. That’s what supervisors are supposed to do.

This testimony is disgusting:

“In my case, my father’s body laid in his room for seven days without the facility doing a wellness check,” said Kristine Sunberg with Elder Voices Family Advocates.

That’s inexcusable and unjustifiable. Period. How can something like that happen? A law needs to be written that the people like the ones who ignored Ms. Sunberg’s father are punished, prosecuted and sent to prison for a long time. What they did was sub-human.

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Americans should view the negotiations between the Trump administration and the Democrats like a hostage negotiation. After all, Sen. Schumer is holding the U.S. military, the border patrol and the CHIP program hostage. By filibustering the CR Friday night, Sen. Schumer and his shills have held hostage the paychecks for our military, border patrol and first responders. With their actions, Democrats have earned the wrath of patriots from across the political spectrum. In addition to holding these paychecks hostage, the Democrats’ filibuster has left 9,000,000 vulnerable children more vulnerable by not voting to reauthorize CHIP for the next 6 years.

If you add the 2,000,000+ people serving in the military to the 9,000,000 vulnerable children, that’s quite the hostage taking.

If Democrats think this isn’t firing up the GOP base, they’re kidding themselves. If Democrats think that their filibuster isn’t turning off independents, they’re kidding themselves. Ronna Romney-McDaniel, the chair of the RNC, said essentially the same thing in this op-ed:

Last night, Senate Democrats shut down the United States government. They recklessly chose to jeopardize paychecks for our troops and border patrolmen to appease their far-left base. In triggering a totally unnecessary, easily avoidable shutdown, they put at stake the health insurance of nine million vulnerable children and a number of other critical programs, including veteran services and opioid treatment programs.

Part of the Democrats’ talking points is to say that Republicans control the White House, the House and the Senate. it’s true that they control the White House and the House of Representatives. They don’t control the Senate.

Republicans did their job and offered a solution to keep the government running, but they couldn’t stop the shutdown from happening on their own. Appropriations bills require 60 Senate votes to pass. With only 51 Republican senators, this means Democratic votes are necessary to secure funding.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his Democratic colleagues own this shutdown. The American people are very well aware that the Schumer shutdown rests squarely on his party’s shoulders. Their hypocrisy is on full display, as the same Democrats who once warned of the consequences of a shutdown eagerly embraced it this go around.

It’s worth noting that Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, which is useful in determining which bills get committee hearings. That simple majority is meaningless, though, when attempting to pass simple funding bills.

Democrats have used the filibuster to insist that President Trump sign a bill that includes amnesty for 700,000 illegal immigrants and millions of their relatives through chain migration. Fighting to protect illegal immigrants while not protecting vulnerable children is what despots do. The Democrats’ actions don’t rise to the level of what third-world dictators do but the Democrats’ actions are disgusting.

Many constituents of the Democrats rely on the government-funded programs that are being handicapped by the shutdown. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) put nearly 83,000 children’s health care at risk with her vote. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) did the same for more than 342,000 children, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) for nearly 45,000 children, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) for 66,000 children. Their constituents are going to demand answers.

Good luck explaining that away.

Sen. Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor last night:

This paragraph especially jumped out at me:

None of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can point to a single thing in it that they oppose. That is why a bipartisan majority voted for it last night. It would have passed smoothly and been sent on for the president’s signature. Except that the Democratic Leader took the extraordinary step of filibustering this bipartisan bill and initiating his very own government shutdown.

If Democrats want to continue filibustering this funding bill, they have that right. Senate rules permit it. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s smart, though. Democrats shouldn’t think that this isn’t turning off independents. Democrats shouldn’t think that this isn’t firing up the GOP base.

The Democrats’ foolish decision is doing both those things. Hell hath no fury like a bunch of voters who’ve gotten ignored by elitist Democrats who protect lawbreakers but don’t protect our troops and our most vulnerable.

If Bill Hanna’s op-ed makes anything clear, it’s that Tina Smith likely will replace Al Franken as a shill for anti-mining environmentalists. Hanna wrote “Prettner-Solon was a strong advocate for issues so vital to the Range. Smith was a great big question mark. And Smith did little to allay my concerns during that initial meeting. She admitted to not knowing much about the proposed PolyMet and Twin Metals copper/nickel mining projects and had yet to even talk or meet with officials of those two companies. But she would be doing so, she assured. Not exactly a vote of confidence for a new era of mining on the Range. Smith has since been the dutiful lieutenant governor in line with Dayton on issues, while doing what she does best, raising political funds. So on mining, Smith was in step with Dayton, eventually supporting PolyMet in the footprint of the former LTV Mining plant near Aurora and Hoyt Lakes while giving a thumbs-down to the desired Twin Metals underground copper/nickel/strategic metals venture near Ely and Babbitt.”

It’s clear that Gov. Dayton’s intention in picking Smith was to stay away from picking a Range DFLer like Tony Sertich. Sertich would’ve been qualified (from a DFL policy standpoint) with the exception that he might’ve been too pro-mining for the Metrocrats’ liking.

But the Range needs a modern-day mining/logging/land use promoter in the Senate, not a reluctant follower or, worse yet, a reliable “no” vote. Smith connects well with Twin Cities Progressives who show off their penmanship when writing checks for liberal causes. She will definitely do the same on a national level.

But Progressives don’t like mining, even though they relish their computers, vehicles, medical devices and cell phones that are only made possible by minerals extracted from below the ground. It’s all so odd; don’t you dare mine, but do make sure we’ve got plenty of tools to connect with the Internet. And you better not mess with my Facebook Page abilities. It’s like believing milk just magically appears in stores in cartons, without the aid of cows.

Come Election Day, 2018, the Iron Range, as well as the rest of the Eighth District, Sixth District and Second District, better turn out in huge numbers. Further, they’d better vote for Karin Housley. Unlike Smith, Housley will represent the entire state.

She won’t pay lip service to the Range. She’s already speaking out in favor of the Range:

Compare that with this blather from Tina Smith:

It’s clear that Smith isn’t interested in the Iron Range or the construction industries. Smith is for these unions except when they want to mine ore, precious metals or want to build pipelines. When they want that, Smith is a less-than-enthusiastic supporter of those unions.

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Friday night, after reading this article, I spoke with State Sen. Karin Housley, (R- St. Mary’s Point) about this scandal. Sen. Housley is the “chairwoman of the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee.”

First, the article startled me when it reported that “the health department investigated 10% of the 3,400 complaints it received about public nursing homes and home-care treatment. In 2016, just 1% of nearly 21,000 cases were investigated through on-site investigations when facilities self-reported incidents.” That information broke my heart.

In our conversation, Sen. Housley said “Since January, I have been working as the Chairwoman of the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee to better understand the problems at the Office of Health Facility Complaints and what the legislature can do to help remedy those issues. While more funds were allocated to the OHFC last session at request of the Governor and the office itself, the problems have unfortunately not improved. It is clear to me, and it is becoming clear to the people of Minnesota, that there are systemic issues within the Minnesota Department of Health and the Office of Health Facility Complaints that need to be addressed before real change can take place. I called on the Governor and the Department of Health Commissioner Ehlinger to give us answers. The recent resignation of Commissioner Ehlinger is a positive first step toward achieving that change. I am hopeful that with legislative action and continued oversight, we can start to make progress and ensure that Minnesota’s most vulnerable are protected.”

Sen. Housley then directed me to the statement she issued after Dr. Ed Ehlinger resigned as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. Here’s that statement:

SAINT PAUL, MN – Following Tuesday’s resignation of Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Mary’s Point) issued the following statement:

“It is abundantly clear there is an urgent need for systemic changes in Governor Dayton’s health department. For months, we have been hearing horrifying tales of abuse and neglect at Minnesota senior care facilities, complaints being thrown in the trash at the hands of an ineffective bureaucracy, and a climate of intimidation and harassment in this state agency.

There is no question – this change in leadership is desperately needed.

While the resignation of Commissioner Ehlinger is a step forward, there is much work to do to restore the trust of the most vulnerable Minnesotans. I look forward to working with Acting Commissioner Dan Pollock in examining ways to move forward in making absolutely certain our elderly population is cared for with the dignity, compassion, and respect they deserve.

My commitment is to not stop until we achieve meaningful change, as well as justice for the victims of the shameful negligence that has plagued our state for too long.

Senator Karin Housley

It’s clear to me that Sen. Housley won’t let go of this issue until it’s fixed. It’s equally apparent that the Dayton administration, of which Tina Smith is an integral part, isn’t ready for primetime. This has been a problem for quite some time. Why Gov. Dayton didn’t assign a troubleshooter to fix this 2-3 years ago is beyond me. Lt. Gov. Smith was Gov. Dayton’s chief of staff in his first term. Why didn’t she bring this crisis up at the time? This is inexcusable.

Reading this article, I’m left wondering what planet Gov. Dayton is living on:

During his tenure as Commissioner of Health, Dr. Ehlinger made many great strides to improve the health and wellbeing of Minnesotans. Commissioner Ehlinger led the charge to reduce tobacco use, improve community-based health programs through the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), improve health equity in our communities, and expand access to life-saving health care for Minnesotans. Dr. Ehlinger also helped lead the state through outbreaks of measles and avian influenza, and led the state’s response to the global threat of Ebola.

It isn’t that I want to diminish Dr. Ehlinger’s accomplishments. It’s that I find it difficult to buy into the notion that “Dr. Ehlinger made many great strides to improve the health and wellbeing of Minnesotans” after finding out that his Department ignored piles of complaints of patient abuse.

According to this article, a series of articles on elder abuse in the Strib has Gov. Dayton incensed. As a result of these articles, Dr. Ed Ehlinger, now Minnesota’s former Health Commissioner, resigned his position.

I was stunned when I read “Ehlinger’s resignation comes after media reports, including a five-part series in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, found residents of senior care facilities statewide were neglected, abused and robbed, but the perpetrators were often never punished and in most instances complaints were never properly investigated. The state Department of Health is responsible for licensing and oversight of senior care centers.”

It’s fair to ask what responsibility Tina Smith has in this. Smith will soon move on from her job as Lt. Gov. Prior to that, though, she was Gov. Dayton’s Chief-of-Staff, the gatekeeper to the governor, the attention-to-detail person. According to MPR’s article, “The move comes weeks after a Minneapolis Star Tribune series exposed widespread elder abuse in Minnesota nursing care facilities that for years was systematically ignored.” This wasn’t something that started recently. It sounds like it’s been happening since Gov. Dayton took over as governor and Smith took over as his Chief of Staff.

They’re the team that’s responsible for making sure that these facilities are operating smoothly. These facilities are part of the Executive Branch, meaning the proverbial buck stops with them. Instead of discovering and fixing these facilities problems, elderly people “were neglected, abused and robbed.” In some cases, “the perpetrators were often never punished and in most instances complaints were never properly investigated.”

By comparison, Karin Housley, the “chairwoman of the Senate Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee,” has “called for an investigation into management practices at the Health Department after receiving reports of bullying at the agency.” Sen. Housley has officially announced that she’s running in the 2018 special election for Sen. Franken’s seat. The question before Minnesotans is whether Minnesotans can trust a person who was in a position of authority and either did nothing or knew nothing (Lt. Gov. Smith) about the elder abuse or whether they’d prefer a state senator who initiated an investigation into this scandal the minute she found out about it.

This information is frightening:

A Minnesota lawmaker says a state manager whose bureau oversees investigations into abuse and neglect in nursing homes was fired after she blew the whistle on a “toxic culture” that was an obstacle to ensuring that officials do a better job protecting residents of senior care facilities.

Who fired this whistleblower? What motivated that person to terminate the whistleblower right before the whistleblower was about to “meet with an investigator looking into widespread reported problems with how Minnesota investigates reports of elder abuse, including assault, neglect and theft.”

Let’s think about this a minute. “Nancy Omondi was fired days before she was to meet with an investigator looking into widespread reported problems with how Minnesota investigates” elder abuse. This reeks of high-level political cover-up. How high this goes is unknowable at this point. Still, Ms. Omandi held a high-ranking position:

According to state records, Omondi was employed from Sept. 19, 2016, to Nov. 29, 2017, as director of the Health Regulation Division. The division oversees several bureaus, including the Health Systems Bureau, which oversees the Office of Health Facilities Complaints, the office that investigates reports of abuse and neglect against patients and residents of care facilities.

What’s amazing is that this organizational chart already reflects the fact that Ms. Omondi was fired. The organizational chart is updated in a timely fashion but reports of abuse literally went years in some instances without getting investigated.

At the end of the video, the KARE11 reporter said that more transparency is needed. The reporter also said that what’s needed is a change in the culture of the investigative bodies. It’s impossible to argue with either statement.

This morning, I received an email from Karin Housley announcing that she’s running for the seat that Sen. Franken currently occupies. Ms. Housley’s email says “Today I am writing to you to announce I am running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Al Franken, and I am looking for your endorsement. Growing up in a working class neighborhood in South St. Paul, I met my husband Phil, and we got married after high school. We’ve been so lucky to have four fun kids, a son-in-law and two grandsons. It has been an honor to serve in the Minnesota State Senate since 2012. I’ve fought hard for our senior citizens, our kids’ education and the unborn. I worked tirelessly writing, supporting and passing bills to help our small businesses. I fought to keep your hard-earned dollars in your own pocket. And, I’ve called on government to be transparent and accountable. Please visit my website housleyforsenate.com to learn more, join the team or contribute. I would love to represent you and be a New Voice for Minnesota in the United States Senate. I’ll bring this same Minnesota work ethic to DC and I’ll work hard, play fair, and do the right thing.”

Mrs. Housley’s opening campaign ad is impressive because it’s positive:

When elder care facilities whistleblowers reported that complaints of abuse were getting thrown in the trash, Karin Housley called attention to the problem:

Last week Sen. Karin Housley, chairwoman of the Senate Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee, and two other lawmakers called for an investigation into management practices at the Health Department after receiving reports of bullying at the agency.

Tina Smith was part of the administration that turned a blind eye towards the abuse happening at elder care facilities. Now she’s pretending to care about this issue? Give me a break. Here’s what Smith ignored:

In interviews with the Star Tribune, employees described an office so overwhelmed by backlogged cases that workers dumped dozens of maltreatment complaints into recycling bins without reading them. Others said unread complaint forms piled up into stacks 2 feet high and went unexamined for months.

At one point, employees said, they were ordered to stop making phone calls to elderly victims and other individuals who reported nursing home abuse because it was too time-consuming. But that only angered families, hindered investigations and subverted office morale, they said.

It’s safe to say that Gov. Dayton wouldn’t pay attention to this sort of thing. He’s had a history of not knowing what’s happening within his government. He didn’t know the tax bill he and Tina negotiated had a sales tax on repairing farm equipment. Gov. Dayton and Tina didn’t know that the Vikings Stadium bill had a provision in it for personal seat licenses.

Why would we now think that Tina Smith paid attention to utter dysfunction at elder care facilities? We don’t need a career politician in DC. We’ve already got too many of those parasites there now. That’s why DC is so dysfunctional. We need someone who has a history of accomplishment in the private sector. That’s Karin Housley, not Tina Smith.

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