Mighty Pens and Voices Needed - Campaigns Heating Up

person-holding-orange-pen-1925536.jpgThe 2020 campaigns are starting to heat up! There is no doubt the 2020 election season will be unique. Candidates are developing campaign strategies without door knocking, rallies, and other face-to-face contacts. SD49 Republicans can help Congressional and Minnesota legislative candidates get the word out.

If you are getting tired of watching endless covid-19 news and want to help a strong Republican candidate, we have a way. You can help Kendall Qualls, the endorsed candidate for US Congressional District 3, right now by volunteering to write post cards with personal messages to SD49 area voters. 

Additional volunteer opportunities will come up as candidates for Hennepin County Commissioner and local Minnesota House and Senate Districts register and get endorsed.

The American Majority has also announced that some part-time paid positions may become available in our area.

Please contact SD49's Jim Bowen (jbowen111@comcast.net (360) 927-8301) if you can participate and help our Republican-endorsed candidates.


Joe Thalman Announces for MN House District 49B

Joe_Thalman.jpgLast week, the Senate District 49 Executive Committee voted to ask the MN GOP to issue calls for an Endorsing Convention for House District 49B. Joe Thalman, Bloomington, has announced that he will file to run against DFL incumbent Steve Elkins.

Joe started earning his living early, obtaining a real estate license directly out of high school. He sold apartment buildings while obtaining a degree in Finance from the University of Utah. Upon graduation, he was recruited by Marcus & Millichap and moved to Southern California. He subsequently worked as a property manager for a small private firm, a syndicator, then with the Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corporation. When the FSLIC was folded into the FDIC, Joe managed a large and diverse portfolio of homes, offices, retail centers, apartment buildings and even a windmill energy farm.

With young children at home, Thalman sought the flexibility of working for himself. He started an aerial photography business, which he operated for 22 years. Joe was named as the International Affiliate of the Year and mentored many new franchisees.

To supplement his income when business was slow, he obtained a commercial driver’s license and passed an extensive background search. Among his clients were several families of Heads of State including The Mubarak family from Egypt and The Al Thani family from Qatar, reportedly one of the wealthiest family dynasties in the world. He met and served an array of very wealthy, very accomplished people and saw an interesting number of places and events along the way.

Joe & his wife moved to the Twin Cities in 2015 when Tina’s daughter (Joe’s step-daughter) was expecting the arrival of twins and already had a two year old to take care of. "I guess you could say that we moved to Minnesota because we are such big fans of the ‘twins’".

Presently, Joe Thalman is semi-retired, managing a few rental properties and investing in the rehabilitation of single-family homes in the metro area. He still drives privately for two clients who fly in for business. Periodically, he delivers large commercial vehicles from the manufacturers to their buyers all over the United States and Canada. He appreciates this opportunity to work and travel freely all over the country in the midst of this lockdown.

Thalman’s schedule is quite flexible allowing him the time to fully pursue the House District 49B seat and to serve the people of this district.


Edina's Budget Shortfall Actions, Developer Variance Decision

Initial_Edina_Cleaners_proposal_view_2.jpgEdina's City Council adopted a resolution at their 5/19/20 meeting to reduce the General Fund Budget. Staff projects a revenue shortfall of $1.4 million this year and has planned to reduce expenses by $2.0 million. This would leave a cushion of $600,000 that will be put in the Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF). The BSF will be used to minimize budget shortfalls in 2021 and 2022.

Edina says that city services will still get done, but not as often. Edina expects that property tax revenues for residential homes will be close to expected. Only about 25% of Edina property tax revenues come from commercial taxes.

Commercial property taxes are ultimately based on the success of those properties. The hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Bloomington, with the nearby airport, hotels and Mall of America, has a large exposure to the downturn of the hospitality business. Values of those properties and their tax revenues will be reduced, not only this year, but also over the next several years. That is the reason Bloomington’s City Council is dealing with a larger projected budget shortfall than Edina.

In other action, the Edina City Council discussed a variance request by Lorient, the development constructing housing at the former site of Edina Dry Cleaners at France and Sunnyside. The original agreement was for a 35-seat restaurant. The variance was to increase the restaurant to 100 seats, which required more parking. There is a city ordinance that requires additional parking have a 25-year easement. Lorient only offered a 10-year easement on a next-door property. The variance was denied on this technicality.


Bloomington Keeps Buildings, Some Services (For Now)

Bloomington_Existing_Community_Center.jpgBloomington residents made their opinions known on two major building and services closures that had been proposed: Creekside Community Center and Motor Vehicle Services.

The City Council voted May 18 to re-open Motor Vehicle Services for limited services including license renewals and vehicle title & registration, and to re-open the kitchen (only) at Creekside Community Center for carry-out meal preparation by nonprofit Loaves and Fishes. A notice on the city website provides details. CLICK HERE

City staff and a newly-appointed Budget Advisory Commission will search for cost-saving strategies and make other recommendations to address the expected budget shortfalls. Without the tax income from hotels and restaurants due to COVID-19 shutdowns, the city expects to need to cut between $7 -$17 million dollars of expenses in 2020, about 18% of the city’s budget.


Kendall Qualls Kicks Off “Pints & Pent-up”

First Republican Stay-at-Home Networking Event

When the Southwest Metro Pints & Politics was cancelled earlier in April, Margaret Johnson offered to host a Zoom virtual happy hour event in its place. And so, “Pints & Pent-up” was initiated on April 20. Kendall Qualls, candidate for US Congress in the Third Congressional District, was the featured speaker, and over 20 participants joined us at the first event from the comfort of their own homes.

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Sign Up by Thursday 4/30 to be an Election Judge

Vote_ballot_box_cube.jpgElection judges are paid officials who staff local polling places, absentee ballot boards, and all early voting venues, to ensure that the ballots and rights of voters are protected.

It is more important than ever for Republicans to become election judges.  If we care about election integrity, we need to step-up, get trained, and show up on Election Day.  We're told that there is now sometimes flexibility to work a half-day, so if that's been a barrier for you in the past please consider working as an Election Judge.

MN GOP is asking for a final push to gather names of those willing to serve as Election Judges.  The "Election Protection" tab from the top of the MN GOP website takes you to a form to register your interest. 

Becky Alery, Executive Director, Republican Party of Minnesota assures us that your name entered on this page will be consolidated and included in the MN GOP list of Election Judges, which is due to the Secretary of State May 1.   So, if you are willing to serve as an Election Judge please CLICK HERE.


Gary Heyer Endorsed as GOP Candidate for MN House 50B

Gary_Heyer_SD50B_MN_House_Candidate.jpgSenate District 50 Republicans held their convention on March 31. Not deterred by the need to conduct their business remotely, they proceeded to endorse Gary Heyer as their candidate for the Minnesota legislature in House District 50B. Gary will be squaring off against DFL incumbent Andrew Carlson in November.

This will be Gary Heyer’s first run for political office. However, this is not his first endeavor in politics. In 2012, Gary organized the 3rd Congressional District for Ron Paul in Paul’s campaign for the Republican nomination for President. Gary’s innovative and skilled leadership led to a sweep of delegates through Carver County and into CD3. He went on to be elected a delegate to attend the 2012 Republican National Convention.

The Right to Life has a very personal meaning to Gary. He was given life by a loving Mother and adopted by wonderful parents. He grew up in Faribault, Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota and graduated from the UofM with a B.A. in Theatre. He has taught Theatre, Speech and English at Prairie Center Alternative High School in Eden Prairie. He went on to serve as a project manager on web-based training for Fortune 1000 companies. As the Internet Development Manager for ShopNBC, Gary took internet sales from $2M/year to $110M/year in 2.5 years.

After leaving ShopNBC, in 2002, Gary sold real estate for four years with Edina Realty. He became a broker and developed a unique business method for real estate marketing and sales. He was granted a patent on the system by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2012.

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Voting Proposal Highlights Need for GOP Election Judges

Vote_ballot_box_cube.jpgSecretary of State Steve Simon’s proposal to automatically send out mail-in ballots to registered voters also implies a greater reliance on “election administrators” to process the votes (see previous article).

The promotion of election administrators (likely city clerks and their staffs) over election judges is troubling. As Andy Cilek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance, has written,

“Election judges are the backbone of our election system. They are responsible for such things as administering voting procedures, ensuring fair elections, and accepting and rejecting absentee ballots… Election judges are paid officials who staff local polling places, absentee ballot boards, and all early voting venues, to ensure that the ballots and rights of voters are protected.”

It is more important than ever for Republicans to become election judges. Simon partially justifies his moves on a concern that many election judges are older, more vulnerable to the coronavirus, and more likely to stay home rather than serving. If we care about election integrity, we need to step-up, get trained, and show up on Election Day.

To sign up through the Republican Party of Minnesota, CLICK HERE. The state party must turn in its list of election judges by May 1, so sign up today!


Simon Proposes Automatic Mail-In Voting

Sec_of_State_Steve_Simon.jpgMinnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon has introduced legislation to expand mail-in voting and reduce in-person polling places. Ostensibly intended only to be in effect should Gov. Walz’ state of emergency stretch into the summer and fall, Simon’s proposal is in keeping with earlier efforts to make absentee voting “easier”.

As reported by the Star Tribune on April 8, Simon envisions making “temporary, one-time” changes that would automatically mail ballots to registered voters. He is also asking for extra time for election administrators to process the votes.

Simon justifies these changes as “public health” measures, pointing out that some current polling places are in sensitive locations such as senior living high-rises, nursing homes and care facilities. Closing and consolidating polling places would result in increased traffic and wait times at the remaining locations.

Republicans in the House and Senate pointed out that Minnesota’s existing laws governing absentee voting are already sufficient to allow for the safe administration of the coming elections.

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan agreed. "Minnesota has a great, no-excuse absentee voting system in which any eligible voter can vote by mail, without any changes to the law, should they choose to do so. Attempting to change a law now for elections that are months away is extremely premature and a disappointing power grab by the Democrats at a time of extreme unease."

Rep. Jim Nash (R, Waconia) expressed concern that “The way the bill sits today does allow for heavy electioneering, and that is something we want to avoid.” He suggested that instead of reducing the number of polling places, the number should be increased to reduce the number of people congregating at one site.


SD50's Max Rymer is Candidate for National Committeeman

Max_Rymer_for_2020.jpgMax Rymer, now from SD50 and who was the 2016 Republican-endorsed candidate for House District 49B, is running for Republican National Committeeman from Minnesota.

The current National Committeeman, Rick Rice, is not seeking re-election after serving for four years. No one else has yet made public their intent to run for that position.

Along with the MN GOP Chair, the National Committeeman and Committeewoman represent Minnesota Republicans on the Republican National Committee. They attend formal RNC meetings three times a year and serve in national and regional capacities as appointed.

In his announcement letter, Max Rymer said, “The role of Committeeman, as I see it, is to help bolster the relationship between the state party and Republican Party leadership in DC. Minnesota, year after year, presents a golden opportunity to get our candidates elected up and down the ballot. We need to help Washington take notice and invest in our races. That is what I will help do and am uniquely positioned to do. Furthermore, the Committeeman must assist the chair in fundraising and attracting financial resources to flow into the party. As a business owner and guy who’s used to closing deals, I will help make that happen.”

More about Max can be found on his website.

The National Committeeman is a volunteer position, with only certain expenses reimbursed. The election will be held at the MN GOP State Central meeting on May 15 in Rochester. It is a four-year term, roughly concurrent with the presidential term in office. The newly elected Committeeman will officially take over his duties from his predecessor immediately after the Republican National Convention in August.



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