Bloomington 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.
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.
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. 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.
Senate 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.Read more
Secretary 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!
Minnesota 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.
Max 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.
The Minnesota Trump Victory Campaign has announced volunteer opportunities that will support President Trump and our Republican candidates in our efforts to win this Fall.
Kevin Poindexter, the Minnesota campaign director, stated that “We have a few things volunteers can help us with right now:”
• Making phone calls on Reddialer for the President from the comfort of their own home
• Digital Voter Reg from list of people who attended President Trump’s rally but are not currently registered
• Recruit for additional trainings we have. Those can be found at the campaign's trumpvictory website.
• Attend one of our virtual trainings which can also be found at the trumpvictory website.
All these can be done anytime from 9am-9pm from the comfort of their own home and is solely volunteer work.
Any questions? Please reach out to Kevin at KPoindexter@gop.com.
I have been an election judge at a precinct in Edina for over 5 years. Normally, there are an even number of Republican and DFL election judges. At the presidential primary in early March, there were 4 DFL judges and 2 Republican judges in my precinct. I was told there were no more trained Republican election judges available. I am asking you to consider signing up for this paid role, if you can.
There are two training session ahead of the election. One is to go over procedures. One is to go over the iPads we use to register voters. Everyone is trained on every job on election day.
We arrive at 6:00 am on election day and help with set up of the area and equipment. At 7:00 am the doors open to voters. During the day, we rotate jobs to keep fresh. We can also take short breaks. It feels like a real team effort throughout the day. If questions come up, the head judges will figure things out. Everyone, regardless of party, is there to make sure the election is fair and accurate. At 8:00 pm the doors close. We then close-up the machines and make sure the votes totals are sent online to Hennepin County. The back up paperwork is sent to city hall.
One is paid $11.00 per hour for the training and your time on election day. The bigger satisfaction is knowing that every vote was counted accurately and you were part of the election team.
There are a few tasks during election day where both a Republican and DFL judge need to work together to assist a voter. That is why we need more Republicans willing to serve as election judges. People who volunteered at the 2/25 Caucus at South View in Edina and Jefferson in Bloomington have had your names submitted already. But we can use more.Read more
Using “peacetime emergency” powers, on Monday evening Gov. Walz ordered a 10-day closure of some businesses. These include: bars, restaurant and coffee house seating areas (delivery or drive-thru still available), museums, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, amusement parks, indoor gyms, sports facilities, bowling alleys, and boating clubs. The closure order is in effect from 5 PM Tuesday 3/17 through 3/27. The intent is to slow/prevent the spread of Covid-19 / Coronavirus.
The full list of what’s closed is in the image at left (Credit: Tom Hauser of KSTP). Note that grocery stores, convenience stores, and pharmacies will remain open.
Updated 3/17 to note also that Hennepin County library walk-in access is now closed thru 4/6.
Local news sources focused on different portions of the message and impacts and provide some insights.
Bring Me the News mentions what's open.
Star Tribune focused on St. Patrick's Day impacts.
Alpha News picked up on the unemployment impacts and Walz's statement that more or longer closures could be needed.