Looking Back, Looking Forward: Reflections on 2018

Trees_refelcted_in_lake_pexels-photo-454880.jpegLooking 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.

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Recognizing Health Care Actions of GOP Legislature

bright-cardiac-cardiology-433267_small.jpgIn early October, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released final rates for the 2019 individual insurance market, revealing that for the second consecutive year, Republican-led reforms have helped reduce individual market health insurance rates after years of double-digit increases following the implementation of Obamacare in Minnesota.

All five of the carriers on the individual market lowered premiums for 2019, with average rates dropping between 7.4 percent and 27.7 percent.

Practically speaking, what does this mean? A 61-year-old from the Twin Cities could save $4,296 next year as a result of Republican reforms compared to what they were paying two years ago.

From 2014-2017, average rates increased by double digits every year, including up to 67 percent for 2017. Thanks to Republican reforms enacted in 2017, individual market rates for 2018 remained flat or were reduced for most Minnesotans on the individual market.

The nationally recognized, Republican-led reforms were supported by just one Democrat in the Minnesota House. Governor Dayton refused to sign the measure, opting to let it become law without his signature.


Good Turnout for Holiday Party

Edited_Barb__Patti__Aaron__Barb_S____Lane_Hersey.jpgPerhaps it was the sense of contrast coming in from a damp cool night into a warm and friendly bar. Or perhaps it was the descending darkness outside and the brightly light interior, or the smell of delicious food on a near empty belly. Whatever the reason, to me there was a feeling of magic in the air.

Edited_Sandra___Lewis_Coffey__Don_Johnson____Guest.jpgAs our loyal and faithful party members arrived and saw familiar faces, as new and uninitiated couples mingled with our staunch and devoted supporters, I witnessed the beginning of new friendships, like watching a family grow.

Beneath the flickering candlelight, subdued wall lanterns, and the rustic brick background were the hushed pleasant conversations of young and old. We had come together for a quiet evening in memory of the past and in celebration of the future. It was a time for reflection, a time for joy, a time for sorrow, a time for regeneration.

Edited_Smiling_Dave_Clynes-01.jpgYes, we’re a bit battle-weary, a bit skeptical but we are also eternally hopeful in this the celebratory season. We put on our festive red attire, we extend our hand to newcomers, and we become a part of that mystery that holds us together.

Thanks to SD49 and SD50 for hosting this event, and thanks to all who came out to enjoy the December 10th event.

See you in January!

Reality Check - State Central Begins New Direction

State_Central_12_2018-1.jpgThis past Saturday morning, bright and early at the Marriot Hotel in Minnetonka, the State Central Committee of the Minnesota GOP convened their regular December meeting in an atmosphere of both heartbreaking disappointment and grim determination. The stunning results of the mid-term election was the only subject of conversation as everyone checked in and sampled the coffee and donuts. There were many expressions of heartfelt thanks to volunteers who had passionately sacrificed vast amounts of time, energy and money to help get a superb field of endorsed Republican candidates across the finish line, only to experience bitter disappointment.

The meeting was called to order promptly at the appointed time and the business proceeded according to the agenda in a most Republican fashion, with the Pledge and the Invocation and all of the regular Roberts Rules steps observed in the regular way. There were officers’ reports and guest speakers to be accommodated along the way, and a Treasurer’s report that showed the Party in stronger and stronger financial condition, while everyone gradually followed along.

And then, quite unexpectedly, something very irregular began to quietly steal its way into the hall. There were victories to be celebrated, as well as defeats. Three House Districts and many state legislative seats had been held. There were spots of light in the ruins. As Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka asked “Who are we?” and Chair Carnahan answered that “Losing shows us who we are!”, there began to spread throughout the hall the silent feeling that the recent heartbreaking losses that we’d all felt, might in fact be the birthing pains of an historic opportunity….that what had felt like an ending might actually be a beginning….if only we have the strength and the will to make it happen.


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Edina Schools - Empty Desks Mean Major Funding Shortfall

Empty_Desks_pexels-photo-256395.jpegAt a recent work session, the Edina School board got an update of how the number of students in the elementary schools compared with their projections. This is important because the number of students translates into funding from the State for next year. Normally this is a small detail because, while no projection is perfect, the administration is pretty good at making these projections. These results were different.

Enrollment in the elementary schools is 93 students less than last year and 126 students less than projected. The result of this is that the funds from the State to pay for elementary education next year will be $500,000 less than planned. The school board will be challenged on how to deal with this situation.

The first question they will have to address is why so many Edina residents aren’t sending their children to Edina schools this year? We all know of the controversies over the last few years and that the academic test results have fallen for many consecutive years. I know of a few parents who took their children out of Edina schools because of these issues. The drop of 93 students from last year is not just a few concerned parents.

Cutting_Elementary_Education_pexels-photo-236118.jpegLast year the school board talked about doing a survey of those who left the Edina school system, but it was never implemented. That survey should be undertaken immediately. This drop in enrollment is a very big challenge. However, unless the school board has accurate information on why parents are taking their children out of Edina elementary schools, they cannot begin to address and correct the enrollment drop. These things take time to figure out.

There was a recent listen and learn session to understand what goals Edina residents have for the Edina Public Schools. When it came to elementary school, many wanted to reduce class sizes. A $500,000 budget shortfall will make that impossible. It is possible that 4-7 teaching jobs would be eliminated to offset that shortfall. That would only serve to increase class sizes.
As this develops throughout the school year, I will keep you updated.

Election of SD49 Officers, Delegates Coming in February 2019

For_Newsletter_Convention_2018_Stage.jpgThe time is coming to elect executive officers and State Central delegates in Senate District 49. Their two-year terms will be ending this coming February. Please consider whether you are interested in serving as an executive officer or State Central delegate. You need to be a Republican and live within the boundaries of Senate District 49

In February 2017, delegates to the SD49 convention elected the 15-member SD49 Executive Committee: two Co-Chairs, ten Vice Chairs, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Communications Chair. The 2017 convention also elected 16 people (4 Delegates and 12 Alternates) specifically to attend the biannual MN GOP State Central meetings.

Senate District 49 is a leading local Republican organization in Minnesota, based on the strength and knowledge of its Executive Committee. We also encourage new blood in leadership roles, with the SD49 bylaws imposing term limits. Several officers will be leaving their positions in 2019. A description of the executive officer positions can be found in the SD49 Bylaws, Article IV, Section 4.

Delegates and Alternates to the MN GOP State Central meetings would typically attend four meetings over the two-year term. The meetings get reports on the state of the state party; vote on proposed changes to the party constitution and bylaws; and elect state party officers. Please note the description of the most recent State Central meeting found here

So, if you are interested in serving as an executive officer or have any questions about serving, please let us know. You need to be a Republican and live within the boundaries of Senate District 49. Contact Mike Lehmann at mlehmann55@comcast.net or 612-839-0761. He will set up an interview with you before the convention as part of our search process.

Serve Your Communities: Apply for Positions on Local Boards and Commissions

Join_a_Board_graphic.jpgAre you interested in ways to serve your community? Are you looking for a stepping-stone to elected office? This is the time of year when our local governments seek applications from people willing to serve, often in volunteer capacities. Be aware that some deadlines for applications are fast-approaching.

Continue reading for more information on Commissions and Advisory Boards in Hennepin County, Edina, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, and Minnetonka.

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Fall Conversation Panel Called Us to Take Action

Best_Fall_Conversation_2018_panel_photo.jpgThe “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.

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MN Appeals Court Finds Twice for Citizens Over City of Bloomington

gavel_small_pexels-photo-531970.jpegIn late October a Minnesota Appeals Court judge ruled in favor of the Hands Off Our Cans citizens group over the City of Bloomington on two significant issues. While essentially reasserting the right of citizens of a charter city to petition to amend that charter, the original issue remains unaddressed: can the city council arbitrarily move to constrain the market for trash collection without a vote of the citizens?

The Hands Off Our Cans citizens group fulfilled the requirements of a charter amendment and submitted the records to the city. The Bloomington City Clerk affirmed that it met the requirements defined in the charter. The Charter Committee voted unanimously to accept it. The council then voted against it arguing it was pre-empted by statute, was manifestly unconstitutional, and was an improper referendum.

Since then, the attorney for the citizen’s group pursued many court rulings addressing the positions taken by the Bloomington City Council. Each one moved closer to affirming the right and ability of citizens to put a charter amendment on the ballot in Bloomington. Specifically, the charter amendment would require a vote by the citizens of Bloomington for or against “organized trash collection.” A milestone was reached when the State Supreme Court found that the ability of citizens to make a charter amendment in the field of organized collection was not preempted by state statute

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The Cost of Socialism: Money Grows on Trees Edition

Small_Free_grey_sky_trees_paul-green-58111-unsplash_edited.jpgWe generally do not report on national issues, but this was too telling to pass up. Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute has tallied up the full cost of recent proposals by politicians to provide “free” services to the American people:

• $32 trillion for the Medicare-for-all plan (just the program’s first decade)
• $6.8 trillion for the jobs-for-all plan (first decade only)
• $1.4 trillion to forgive student loan debt
• $1 trillion for new infrastructure
• $807 billion for “free college” (first decade only)
• $270 billion for 12 weeks of paid family leav.
• $188 billion to increase Social Security benefits (first decade only)

Small_Free_WiFi_bernard-hermant-667645-unsplash.jpgThe total price tag is approximately $42.5 trillion just over the next decade. This would take virtually all of the currently projected $44 trillion in revenue that Washington will take in over the same decade. Riedl notes that the 30-year projected tab is even more staggering: these new proposals will cost $218 trillion.

We are told, of course, that all of this is affordable if we demand more taxes from corporations and the richest 1 percent. Consider this: Federal spending alone now typically ranges between 18 and 22 percent of GDP *. With these new programs, Federal spending would immediately soar past 40 percent of GDP on its way to nearly 50 percent within three decades. When Reidl includes state and local government spending, we get to 60 percent of GDP -- exceeding the current spending level of every country in Europe.

* Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the most widely used measures of an economy's output or production. It is defined as the total value of goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period.

Thanks to the American Legion Magazine, October 2018 edition, for this information

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