Year in Review - Active 2017 Built a Stronger SD49

Eagle_FB_Logo.jpg2017 was a year of accomplishments and close calls.  For what is typically considered an “off-year,” the pace of activity stayed high.

We want to thank many of you who have served as leaders in our senate district and in our precincts.  It is your party leadership that we depend on to reach out to fellow Republicans and encourage them to vote for our candidates.  Thanks also to those of you who have come out to support our fundraisers, our dinner programs, our picnic, and our parade teams.   It is your participation that grows our reputation as one of the most dynamic senate districts in the state. 

If we remain true to each other and build on what we have, we will make a difference in 2018.

Continue reading to see 2017 highlights.

We settled into our new office space.  After many years at the Edina Community Center, we were informed in 2016 that we needed to vacate the offices that were located above and adjacent to the Normandale Elementary School.  Security upgrades and the relocation of several Edina school offices left no room for us.   So, in November 2016, we relocated to 10800 Normandale Blvd in Bloomington.  It meant downsizing into a somewhat smaller space, but we have the advantage of a space for a conference area, a desk, file cabinets, and storage.  We have our own dedicated space for conferencing, caucus data transcribing, lit drop organizing, and committee meetings.

In February, a number of new leaders were voted onto the SD49 Executive Committee.  Wayne Wenger stepped up to Co-Chair.  Angie Hasek, Max Rymer, and Noah Harber brought a younger perspective to our deliberations.  Abdi Hirsi joined Faisal Deri, reflecting the strong commitment of our conservative local Somali American community.  Louis Tiggas stepped in as Treasurer, as Barbara Nazarian moved.

Small_Edited_Panel.jpgWe carried on our tradition of hosting stimulating panel discussions on timely politics topics.  In May, former House Speaker Kurt Zellers; Center of the American Experiment’s Kim Crockett; and former Senate minority leader David Hann provided political and policy insights about the legislative session that was coming to a close.  In November, Rep. Dario Anselmo; former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch; and Cam Winton, Director of Energy and Labor-Management Policy at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce discussed how to promote our good policies through good messaging. Fall_Conversation_panel.jpg

Seven dinner programs in 2017 featured speakers on current topics – Parental School Choice, MN Business Climate, Media Election Coverage, Light Rail, Edina Schools Indoctrination, Opioid Epidemic, and 2018 Candidates Preview. We remain virtually unique in providing thoughtful programs for our members.  And we are attracting greater numbers of attendees from outside our district that come because of these programs.

This year would normally be a quieter year from the standpoint of candidate campaigns.  Instead, we chose to become more engaged in the Bloomington city council races and in the Edina and Bloomington School Board campaigns. 

Contrary to some reports, SD49 did not endorse any candidates.  We did not contribute money to any of the candidates. 

We chose to inform our members of the issues in these races and of the positions of a few of the candidates that we felt reflected our values and would represent us well.  We leveraged the reporting of the Center of the American Experiment on concerns with the Edina School System.  In response, we and the candidates that we recommended were hit with unrestrained emotional denunciations that reflected the strong political undertones running in the background of these “non-partisan” races.

We congratulate Edina’s Owen Michaelson and Bloomington’s Beth Beebe on their successful campaigns for school board.  We thank Bloomington’s Eldon Spencer and Larry Frost and Edina’s Faisal Deri and Chad Bell for their willingness to run and hope that they will consider running again in a future election.

The Communications team of Carol Brumwell, Noah Harber, and Randy Sutter dedicated themselves to trying to publish real local news that they felt was not being covered by most other news outlets.  With reporting help from John Metil, Mark Chamberlain, Sean Boylan, and Mark Stoltz, as well as database/technical help from David Clynes, they issued bi-weekly newsletters that highlighted legislative session progress, Edina and Bloomington election campaigns, school budget referendums, and issues dealing with the sale of public land, development of skyscrapers adjacent to single family homes, and the contested unionization of personal care attendants.

Our website benefitted from the solid reporting reflected in the newsletter.  It became a go-to source for information on our candidate recommendations, recent news articles and opinion pieces, dinner programs, panel discussions, picnics, and other activities.  In November, we had 3,000 visitors.  Only a third of these visits came by following a link from our newsletter.  Two-thirds came through web searches for the material that we had posted. 

The website and newsletters also introduced a new feature this year:  video reports.  We featured Jeff Johnson’s observations about the Light Rail, the Hennepin County Commission and the Metropolitan Council, John Hinderaker’s report on politics in the Edina School System, and our new Pitchers & Politics social outreach initiative.  The Hinderaker video has been viewed over 3,900 times.

Our Facebook page has over 560 followers, and our Twitter site has over 800 followers.

Finally, we again want to thank many of you who have served as leaders in our senate district and in our precincts.  It is your party leadership that we depend on to reach out to fellow Republicans and encourage them to vote for our candidates.  Thanks also to those of you who have come out to support our fundraisers, our dinner programs, our picnic, and our parade teams.   It is your participation that grows our reputation as one of the most dynamic senate districts in the state. 

If we remain true to each other and build on what we have, we will make a difference in 2018.

 

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