April 23 Program: Final Stretch Review of MN House Actions, and What We Can Do
Following its Easter break, the Minnesota Legislature will come back in late April to begin its final sprint to complete its 2019 session. So far, Governor Walz and the DFL-controlled House have really taken liberties with their vision of “One Minnesota” and campaign promises of bipartisan proposals.
Senate District 49’s program on April 23 will look at some of the more outlandish and one-sided initiatives, such as:
• The 70% increase in the gas tax
• The plan for Minnesota to achieve “carbon-free” energy production by 2050
• The “sick tax” on health care providers and the expiration of Minnesota’s reinsurance program
Our featured speaker will be Jason Flohrs, State Director for the Minnesota Chapter of Americans for Prosperity. Jason will give an update on the issues AFP is working on at the capitol, outlining what the DFL initiatives could mean to Minnesotans if implemented.
Important at this point in the legislative process, Jason will highlight ways that activists can get involved in the fight and make your voices heard right now - without waiting around for 2020. He will talk about AFP’s unique model of advocacy focused on building and empowering grassroots movements on the issues that matter most to Minnesota’s future.
Jason Flohrs brings years of legislative, grassroots organizing, and advocacy experience to the chapter. Prior to joining AFP, Jason FLohrs served as Executive Director for the North Dakota Republican Party. He has managed state and national campaigns throughout the Upper Midwest, including U.S. House races in Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. In other roles, Jason operated his own public affairs consulting firm, served as Director of Government Affairs for TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, and worked for the House Republican Caucus at the Minnesota State Capitol.
Join us on April 23 in the Fellowship Hall of the Calvary Lutheran Church, 6817 Antrim Rd, Edina, MN 55439. We start at 6:00 pm with an opportunity to welcome our presenter and greet one another. At 6:30 pm, we will make available a light meal of sandwiches, chips, dessert, and a beverage.
Please CLICK HERE to RSVP and let us know if you will be coming. The presentation will start at 7:00 pm.
Right Tech Gearing Up to Create Digital Campaign Tools
As the 2018 political campaigns progressed, Lisa and Klaus Schneegans became increasingly aware of the technological advantage DFL candidates had. From raising funds to finding volunteers and reaching potential voters, good Republican candidates were not utilizing the array of digital campaign tools that the Democrats had in their arsenal.
The Schneegans soon determined that those tools were simply not available to Republicans. Since 2016, Democratic donors and Silicon Valley supports were spending millions of dollars to develop digital applications specifically for left-leaning candidates from presidential contenders down to local office seekers. Early in 2019, Lisa and Klaus Schneegans founded Right Tech here in Minnesota to address this imbalance.
As part of Senate District 49’s monthly program series, Lisa Schneegans examined why so many compelling Republican candidates were defeated by very similar margins across the Twin Cities metropolitan area. While they were significantly outspent, more importantly, they were likely working at a technological disadvantage. With the assistance of her husband, Klaus, Lisa made clear that the on-line tools and digital techniques employed in DFL political campaigns are rapidly growing, and Republicans are not keeping up.
Minnesota Republicans were not alone. Nationwide, Republicans lost 300 state house seats in 2018. Lisa provided graphical evidence that application of the array of tools by the Democrats correlated closely with strong turnout by their supports in campaign rallies and by their voters in the election. The tools are clearly working!
Please CLICK HERE to continue reading about the Right Tech PAC and how you can help
Why Do the Twin Cities have a Shortage of Affordable Housing?
Local governments are under increasing pressure to use their power of permitting to require developers to include less expensive housing in their building plans. In his talk on February 26 as part of Senate District 49’s dinner program series, Brad Aho noted that land, labor, and construction material costs are going up faster than the wages of many of the people who currently live in or would like to move to our area. Still, local and regional governing bodies are also a significant cause of increased housing costs in the Twin Cities area.
As an Eden Prairie City Council member for 14 years, Brad Aho has been in a unique place to watch his city develop. He presented comparison information about local communities' housing costs and incomes, showing there is a need for "affordable" housing in our suburbs. He also has a good sense of why housing costs have gone up. He noted that it costs more to build a house in the Twin Cities area than in a suburb of Chicago. A report commissioned by a builders group, recently cited in an article in the Star Tribune, found that an average home in Lake Elmo would cost $47,000 less in Hudson, Wisconsin.
Aho pointed to overlapping local and regional governments as a big part of the affordability problem that they are now trying to solve. Building regulations and fees are significant cost drivers. As much as 33% of the cost of building a new home here can be traced back to local, regional (e.g., watershed districts), and state policies and fees. Aho said that “municipal fees and regulations in the Twin Cities make it nearly impossible to build a single-family house for less than $375,000.”
CLICK HERE to read more about Affordable Suburban Housing.
It's Not (Just) Our Message, More How We Deliver It
The January 22nd Dinner Meeting first started with a thank you from Edina’s own “native son” Keith Downey, pictured at right, who represented District 41A in the Minnesota House and who became the Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. Keith admitted that politics could be a “dirty, dusty, feisty business” but exhorted the audience to remember that we must “fight our (political) adversaries hard” according to our principles, but we must also always “leave the field as friends.” He said that one of the greatest privileges of his life was to represent the people of both his district and the State of Minnesota. It was an altogether heartfelt and inspirational talk as he exits politics to enter another phase of his life in the private sector.
The main speaker of the night was Max Rymer (photo at left) a fixture in local politics and self-admitted “passionate, political nerd.” As founder of his digital marketing firm “Nativ3” he was actively involved in several campaigns during the last election cycle. Max had some insightful opinions about taking a drastically modified approach to Republican politics going forward into 2020 and beyond. He believes there are inherent, solvable, structural problems for Republicans in MN.
First, he gave us a frank, and sometimes brutal, assessment of what is and isn’t working for the Republican Party, and for the DFL. He compared and contrasted several differences in how we get our message OUT (contacts – e.g., DFL had more than 17,000 trained, articulate volunteers door-knocking) and ACROSS (effectively persuading folks to vote for Republican candidates). Finances (DFL out-spent us 4:1) and fund-raising differences (DFL has a centralized, shared, list of small-dollar donors) were particularly interesting and played a big part in recent DFL success.
Please CLICK HERE to continue the article on our website.
Looking Back, Looking Forward: Reflections on 2018
By Randy Sutter, Co-Chair, Senate District 49 Republicans
Looking back over the last twelve months, we have had some disappointments. Yet it has also has been a time of growth, a lot of volunteer effort, and accomplishments.
The November election results were clearly a disappointment. DFL candidates won all of the MN House seats in Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, and Minnetonka. In Congressional District 3 (CD 3), we had a high voter turnout for a non-presidential year. Unfortunately, we were not able to retain the Republican votes that we garnered in 2016.
Thanks to Jim Bowen and several dedicated volunteers, we were recognized for our Get-Out-The-Vote efforts in CD 3, and CD 3 had the strongest GOTV results in the state. We had volunteers who knocked on doors, made phone calls, and installed and removed lawn signs. Credit also goes to Trish Burnison, who took on the challenge of stuffing over 2,500 lit bags. Our volunteers made perhaps our strongest contribution ever to the campaign work of the local and statewide candidates. Yet the DFL effort was even stronger. The party that works hard at personal outreach clearly has the advantage. It is one of the areas of improvement ahead of us.
Our senate district put on a number of educational, social, and fundraising events this year.
CLICK HERE to continue reading about the number of activities, events, and contributions we made in 2018, and our plans for the future.
Fall Conversation: Views of the New Political Landscape
The “Fall Conversation” held on November 16 at the Edina Country Club proved to be a frank and insightful discussion of the recent election and where we, as Republicans, need to go from here. The panel came well-prepared and led off with a number of key observations.
• We lost some very good Republican legislators in the metropolitan area. Democrats and independents voted pretty much along DFL party lines. They did very little vote-splitting. Republicans were more apt to cross over to Amy Klobuchar. “When the tide swept through, a Republican candidate had to be on a tall tree to survive.”
• The DFL message was more inclusive. It was effective in targeting suburban women. It didn’t focus on the economy – the economy has been so good, it became a non-issue.
• The Democrats' 50-state, focused, coordinated, and repeated lie about Republicans removing healthcare coverage for pre-existing conditions stuck. It was not effectively countered by our State Party or candidate messaging. While repeated positive messages of how Republicans help people meet basic needs may be a buffer, we also need to have plans and funds in place to counter whichever emotional scare-messaging the Democrats choose next time.
• Where was the communications for the Republican Party? We didn’t have a message. The DFL painted the Republican brand as negative. We didn’t explain who we are and what we are for. Consequently, we were identified as racist and anti-immigrant, and it stuck.
To read further about the points brought out during the Fall Conversation, CLICK HERE