Last week, MN Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R- Nisswa) held a press conference to outline his plans for the legislative session that kicks off in February.
“Our 2020 Vision will build on the successes of the 2019 session and Republicans will continue to work with Democrats in the House and Gov. Walz to get things done, even as we fight hard for our principles. Principles like fiscal responsibility, a limited but effective government that takes care of the vulnerable, a market-based economy and strong belief in personal responsibility and liberty.”
The 2020 Vision plan includes initiatives addressing health care, transportation, education, jobs and workforce development, clean energy, the economy and family budgets, clean water, violence prevention, taking care of people, childcare, greater Minnesota, state government, election security, and veterans.
The March 3 Presidential Primary will be our first opportunity to formally register our support for President Trump's re-election. While this is strictly a presidential primary, the number of Republican voters will be measured against the turnout for the highly-contested Democrat Party nomination. It may well be looked at as a reflection of the expected turnout in November for all Republican candidates. So we're encouraging EVERYONE to vote.
For this Presidential Primary, you'll sign an extra oath "I am in general agreement with the principles of the party for whose candidate I intend to vote, and I understand that my choice of a party's ballot will be public information." You'll request a Republican ballot, and only our candidate, plus a write-in line, will be on your ballot.
Early voting by mail-in absentee ballot or in person at your City Hall is available now. On March 3rd, local voting locations will be open for each precinct from 7 AM - 8 PM.
In Edina Precinct 2 has a new voting location. Edina P-02 use Highlands Elementary School, 5505 Doncaster Way, Edina, as their new polling place.
In Bloomington, two precincts have new voting locations:
- The Bloomington Precinct 17 polling place will be at the Westwood Community Church, 6301 Cecilia Circle. This is down in the hollow at the northwest quadrant of the East Bush Lake Road overpass of 494. Voters will be directed to the West Lot where the main building entrance is located. Although easily visible from the freeway, the location's street entrance is a bit tough to find on your first attempt - you may want to preview the drive /walk before March 3.
- The other new polling place will be in Bloomington Precinct 24 where it's been moved to Bloomington Lutheran School, 10600 Bloomington Ferry Road. The main entrance is on the south side of the building.
No surprise to anyone here in the metro area, property taxes are going up. What is surprising is how different constituencies are affected.
Local governments like to report their new tax rates using the median house value in their town or city. For some reason, these local governments feel that these provide a meaningful comparison. This despite significant differences in those median house values.
Here are some statistics to ponder (sourced from the Star Tribune, December 15)
City 2019 Median Value Tax Rate Increase*
Bloomington $283,800 8.7% to 10.3%
Edina $548,500 1.1% to 4.7%
Eden Prairie $396,200 3.0% to 4.6%
Minnetonka $359,800 2.8% to 6.2%
* The differences in rates depends on in which school district the house resides.
The levies approved by the voters in the different school districts clearly have an impact on the property tax rate a home-owner will pay. Yet the tax rate increases above certainly vary significantly. Bloomington argues that its median-value homes had an annual increase in market value of 10.5% compared to the 3.4% annual increase of Edina’s median-value house. Minnetonka and Eden Prairie had 5.2% and 4.4%, respectively.
However, if one tries to judge the fairness and reasonableness of these increases, or even the efficiency with which a city government is operating, it would seem that using the median home value is not a meaningful way to compare. A rate increase on top of a market value increase just further raises the dollars a tax-paying home owner must turn over to the city.
Given the close proximity of cities in the metropolitan area and the similarity in their circumstances, reporting the property tax increase for, say, a $300,000 house would be much more telling. We asked the Bloomington city assessor to provide us that information in early December. We will publish the response when we get it.
The “Mess at the DHS” reinforces the need for stronger efforts to rout out political corruption and bureaucratic mismanagement within our state government. This will come only when our own local representatives demonstrate that they care about how our tax dollars are being spent.
If you are concerned about these developments and are looking for a way to do something about them, running for the state legislature is a meaningful action. If you live in Senate District 49, we want to hear from you.
Campaigns for the Minnesota Senate or House take passion, time, and personal energy. They also take funding, messaging, and support. We are ready to sit down and explore what it will take to run a strong race. We can help if we feel that we are a good fit
The time to decide is rapidly approaching if you want to run this year. Please reach out to us by CLICKING on this link and writing us of your interest. We will respond. We are looking forward to hearing from you
Please plan to attend your local caucus February 25, 2020 at 7 PM. Registration opens at 6:15 PM.
Residents in precincts within Senate District 49 will caucus in one of two locations:
Bloomington Republicans will caucus with their precincts at Thomas Jefferson High School, 4001 W 102nd St, Bloomington. Note that SD50 Republicans will also caucus here.
Edina, Eden Prairie, and Minnetonka Republicans who reside within Senate District 49 will caucus at South View Middle School, 4725 Southview Lane, Edina.
Volunteers are still needed to serve as Greeters, both in the main lobby to help attendees find their correct meeting room, and also to coordinate precinct sign-ins within each room. All volunteers (Greeters, Caucus Conveners, Caucus Secretaries) must attend a training session
Volunteers from Bloomington (both SD49 and SD50) will train at Jefferson High School Media Room, either Saturday February 8, 9-10:30 AM or Thursday February 13, 7 – 8:30 PM. Please contact Vince Riehm to indicate interest and let him know which training you’ll attend.
Volunteers from Edina/Eden Prairie/Minnetonka will train at the Edina Community Center, Choir Room (252), either Thursday February 6, 7 - 8:30 PM or Saturday February 15, 9 – 10:30 AM. Please contact Wayne Wenger to indicate interest and let him know which training you’ll attend.
Why attend the Caucus?
Good government starts with you. The Caucus is an opportunity for area residents to show their support for Republican principles. There is too much at stake this year to be spectators. If conservatives and Republicans are going to return fiscal responsibility to the State Legislature, we must begin now.
The future of our Party and nation belongs to those who show up. And if you want to see a change in our Party or our candidates, precinct caucuses are your chance to stand up and be heard. Don’t miss your chance to make a difference.Read more
In the first two years of the Walz administration, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has been rocked by one revelation after another about mismanagement and the misuse of state and federal funding.
Through it all, Gov Walz has remained silent about who has been responsible. Nor has he made changes to restore accountability. It may be that the incredible rot in DHS is left-over from the Mark Dayton administration, but there is no evidence that Walz is moving decisively to clean it up.
The DHS is an $18.5 billion state agency that makes up a third of the state’s budget, and employs 7,300 people. In a quick review of some of what has become public:
In 2018, KMSP-TV reports alleged that fraud in the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program ran as high as $100 million annually. Partly citing unidentified sources, the reports said state and federal agents had tracked some of the money overseas, and that they believed some of the cash was likely being skimmed by terrorist groups.
- Investigators for the legislative auditor in early 2019 didn't find evidence to substantiate a connection between fraud money and support for a terrorist organization. While they couldn't establish a reliable estimate of how big, they stated that fraud in the child care program is a recognized problem.
In early July 2019, Deputy Commissioners Chuck Johnson and Claire Wilson announced they were stepping down. About a week later, DHS Commissioner Tony Lourey suddenly resigned after several months on the job. Soon after, Johnson and Wilson retracted their resignations.
- At the time, Gov. Walz was quoted as saying, “… the Commissioner came to me, said he wasn’t the right person to do the job and I accepted his resignation. I know people want to keep seeing drama, I said I don’t do drama. I’m trying to be as transparent as I can.” Unfortunately, not transparent enough to explain what was going on at DHS that made Lourey resign.
Looking back over the last twelve months, we shared times of commitment and inspiration, frustration and exhilaration, introspection and re-dedication. We were joined by some great new people, were buoyed by a lot of volunteer effort, and we benefited from some important learning experiences. We have challenges ahead of us. And we have some strong candidates and potential candidates willing to rally us to meet those challenges.
The November election results were clearly a disappointment in Bloomington and Edina. We were pleased to recommend some particularly strong candidates for the Edina school board and the Bloomington municipal races. They mounted positive campaigns that articulated their positions and provided clear choices for the voters in their communities. The efforts put forth by these candidates resulted in a notably higher voter turnout for a non-presidential, non-school referendum year.
We congratulate the conservative candidates in the Eden Prairie school board race that won their seats. We will be following the impact that they have on the performance of their school over the course of the next few years.
We would particularly like to recognize the work done by campaign volunteers in getting out lawn signs and leveraging social media. They provide high candidate name recognition. Lessons were learned, and efforts to address those lessons will be the focus of the coming year.
Our senate district put on a number of educational, social, and fundraising events this year.
• In January, Max Rymer gave a frank assessment of what is and isn’t working for the Republican Party, and for the DFL.
• Brad Aho spoke in February of the impact of local and regional governments on the affordability of housing.
• March featured Lisa and Klaus Schneegans, talking about the digital campaign arms race and what their Right Tech Pac is doing to level the playing field.
• In April, Jason Flores, State Director for the Minnesota Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, pointed out how Governor Walz’ spending demands were impeding efforts to reach a budget compromise.
Republicans came in from Plymouth and Brooklyn Park to join the regulars in the southwest metropolitan area for a special Pints & Politics-turned-Holiday Party on December 9.
The Club Room at Poor Richards Commonhouse was festively decked out for the occasion. Upwards of 90 people came to enjoy this special year-end event.
Several notables attended, including US Senate candidate Rob Barnett, Congressional Candidate Kendall Qualls, and MN Senate candidate Jeff Jiang. They were joined by MN GOP Secretary Barb Sutter, Republican National Committeeman Rick Rice, and Congressional District 3 Chairwoman Patti Meier.
Live instrumental entertainment by Mark Vandermyde (of Fuzzy Math) on keyboards and Keith Friede on bass guitar provided a special touch of class to the evening.
If we missed seeing you at this merry gathering, we hope that your holidays are wonderful. We wish you a happy new year and look forward to having you join us at a future Pints & Politics!
(More photos below)Read more
Many of those attending the Fall Conversation told us how much more hope they have for our 2020 success after hearing from the impressive Republican candidates for US Congress – Lacy Johnson (pictured at left) seeking endorsement for CD5 and Kendall Qualls (pictured at right), seeking endorsement for CD3. These candidates believe that Republicans should stand strong in support of the American values of freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility. They made a number of other points in an impressive discussion that lasted over an hour, guided by moderator Max Rymer. We highlighted a few of those in our recent article on our website.
Watch the 70 minute video (lightly edited to remove pauses and keep it reasonable length) and you’ll quickly be able to get a sense of these two great candidates yourself. And from the photos below it’s clear how enjoyable an evening is when sharing views and opinions with fellow area Republicans. Plan now to attend the November “Conversation” next Fall.
A bit of colorful trivia: How did Republicans get assigned red on political maps? This article “When Republicans Were Blue and Democrats Were Red” from Smithsonian Magazine traces some of the history.
And did anyone else think politics when they saw the Dec. 9 announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020, Classic Blue?