Governor Candidate Forum Outlines Strong Themes

Six Republican candidates for MN Governor responded to several questions posed by the Minnesota business community at a forum hosted by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce on Friday, December 1.

Governor_Candidate_Forum_512x258.jpgThe candidates at the forum were seated in the following order: 

  • Matt Dean, Minnesota State Representative (Dellwood). 
  • Keith Downey, former Chair of the MN GOP and former Minnesota State Representative (Edina). 
  • Mary Giuliani Stephens, mayor of Woodbury, MN
  • Jeff Johnson, Hennepin County Commissioner and former Minnesota State Representative (Plymouth)
  • David Osmek, Minnesota State Senator (Mound)
  • Phil Parrish, intelligence officer, Naval Reserve, and former principal of a school for students with emotional behavioral disorders in Austin, MN

The following are excerpts from the first half of the candidates’ remarks and answers.


Question:  “Why You?

Dean:  We need a governor that understands we need both clean water and prosperity.

Downey:  People have the sense that government is coming at them, and not to help.   I believe the the people of Minnesota.

Stephens:  I have executive experience with balancing budgets.  I had a seat on the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.  I know how to work with business.

Johnson:  I am running to take power away from government and return it to the people, to move from punishing people to serving them.

Osmek:  Compromise is not necessarily bad but we as a party have compromised too often too soon.

Parrish:  I am not a politician, but a teacher, a principal, a Navy intelligence officer.  I will cut the budget by getting rid of waste, fraud, and abuse.


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Bloomington City Council Rejects Hyland Greens Proposals

Hyland_Greens_GC.JPGOn November 30, the Star Tribune reported that the Bloomington City Council is “expected to reject all housing development proposals” that were submitted for the development of 10 acres of the Hyland Greens golf course.  In June, the city had released a request for these proposals as part of a plan to sell this public land for private development.

The Sun Current article cited a news release as the source of information that the Bloomington City Council is “expected to revisit the issue again early next year and possibly request proposals for the golf course property ‘with new parameters.’” 

Few details have been shared with Bloomington residents.  Nothing has been said about what the new guidelines might be or what the reasons were for rejecting the proposals.  The formal vote of the City Council on the proposals is on the agenda for their meeting on December 4.  It has been placed on the “consent” agenda, meaning that public discussion will likely not be permitted on this agenda topic.

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Fall Conversation - An Enjoyable, Inspiring Evening

Young_Republicans_Attending.jpgA large number of supporters from inside and outside of Senate District 49 participated in our annual Fall Conversation on November 17.  Close to 80 attendees enjoyed a great selection of wines, conversations with fellow Republicans, and a thoughtful and challenging panel discussion.  

In addition to MN GOP Secretary Barbara Sutter, we were honored to include special guest Janet Beihoffer, MN GOP National Committeewoman, among our attendees.

Dan_Condon_Wine_tasting.jpgWe particularly appreciated the additional donations made by several individuals who could not attend and by those that participated in the silent auction and raffle. Proceeds from the event will help fund local candidates in 2018.

Dan Condon, owner of United Liquors at 8915 Penn Avenue in Bloomington, presided over the wine tasting.  Pictured at right, he presented his selection of five fine wines for the holidays.  If you would like a list of these, please email

Special thanks to Carol Kerr and Barbara Sutter for their work in organizing the Fall Conversation and for encouraging so many to attend.  Thanks also to the Edina Country Club for once again staging a memorable event.

How to Talk So Minnesotans Will Listen

Panel on Messaging an Inspiring Success

As a major part of the Fall Conversation, four thoughtful and articulate community leaders came together to share their thoughts on what Republican candidates need to do to get our message across.


The panelists (pictured r-l) were: 

  • Rep Dario Anselmo, Representative of Minnesota House District 49A (Edina). 
  • Amy Koch, Chair of the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum and the former Senate Majority Leader. 
  • Cam Winton, Director of Energy and Labor-Management Policy at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and former Minneapolis mayoral candidate,
  • Meredith Schultz, moderator, a rising leader at a national policy think tank.

Our panelists addressed five current topics:  minimum wage, renewable energy, education, criminal justice, and advice for Republican candidates.

$15 Minimum Wage

Winton:  When asked about the minimum wage, Republicans should stress their support for both “wage ladders” and “safety nets”.  We value free enterprise.  We hold that everyone should “climb that ladder.”  We recognize the importance of income safety nets.  However, the safety net is there to bounce people back onto the ladders, not permanently support them.

Koch:  Small business owners are the backbone of our economy.  They care deeply for their employees.  We need to stress that they also must work very hard to keep their doors open.  We need to support them in balancing these two concerns.  Some of the current minimum wage initiatives actually hurt the people that they are meant to help.

Anselmo:  The minimum wage laws are like performing surgery with a butter knife.  A better alternative is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which targets workers without penalizing small business owners.  We need to support means of expanding the credit.

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Bloomington Nov. 30 Meeting on France Ave Trail Plan

road-sign-_questions_808733__180.jpgIf you drive, walk or live along France Avenue in Bloomington, you’ll want to consider attending the November 30 “neighborhood open house” hosted by the city.

SD49 GOP Newsletter reported on the preliminary plans for a 10-foot-wide, million dollars per mile, France Ave “trail” more than a year ago. 

Now that the city of Bloomington has received a funding grant from other tax sources for 80% of the costs, they are proceeding with the project.  Per the city’s Open House announcement:

“A neighborhood open house is scheduled for Thursday, November 30, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. at St. Stephen Lutheran Church at 8400 France Ave. in Bloomington.

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Get Involved - SD49 GOP Leadership Openings, Meeting

Flag_Elephant_Ballot_Box.jpgIf you are not currently a precinct officer but are interested in volunteering for a leadership position in your precinct or helping with the conduct of the caucuses and/or convention, please contact co-chairs Wayne Wenger (952-926-8627) or Randy Sutter (952-835-8917)

Senate District 49 precinct leaders will be getting an official notice shortly to attend a Full Committee meeting in early December.  The meeting will be held to elect Executive Committee and precinct officers to positions that have been vacated since the last Full Committee meeting.  We will also discuss the upcoming caucuses and conventions in 2018.

Please watch for the official call for this Full Committee meeting.  At a minimum, the precinct chairs and co-chairs are strongly urged to attend.

Get Involved - State and Community Board Openings

Serving on a state or city Board or Commission is an important way to bring our Republican viewpoint and values to local decision-making. It's an opportunity to build relationship bridges to those who don't have a similar perspective.  These are also excellent background experiences for anyone who eventually may want to run for office.

The Governor's Office announced that there is an opening on the Governor's Asian Council. The Council is looking for a public citizen of Asian background to serve on the council. Here are two links to get more info:, and:

The Bloomington City Council is seeking applicants by December 18,  to serve on its Advisory Boards and Commissions for terms beginning January 2018.

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Edina Schools Challenged on Student Civil Rights

Following John Hinderaker’s appearance at the September dinner program (described in a following article), defenders of the status quo lashed out.  One of the Edina School Board candidates responded with his support for “what our teachers have been doing in our schools.

This candidate went so far as to demand that all eleven candidates join him “in denouncing this unfair and disturbing attack on Edina teachers.”  He claimed that the Edina teachers are “being pushed to the breaking point.”

 “I trust our teachers to make the judgement call on what material is and isn’t appropriate for our students.  I trust our teachers to be fair and honest when having opinionated discussions in class.”

Peter-Kirsanow-255x180.jpgNot surprising that an avowedly liberal candidate would support liberal teachers.  But are they making fair and unbiased judgements? 

Peter Kirsanow, pictured at right,  a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights since 2002, thinks otherwise.

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Hinderaker’s Talk on Politics in Edina Schools Touches a Nerve

Hinderaker_at_Dinner.jpg John Hinderaker spoke on September 26 to a room at full capacity.  The theme of our dinner program was “Politics in Edina School System – Education or Indoctrination?”  He presented his evidence of the open political tilt of a significant number of teachers at Edina High School to a somber audience, most of whom were Edina parents or grandparents. 

A video of Hinderaker’s presentation can be viewed by clicking the image below. 


A few days after John’s presentation, the Center of the American Experiment ran a cover story in its magazine, Thinking Minnesota, on the liberal indoctrination in Edina schools.  A copy of that magazine was mailed to every residence in Edina.

It didn’t take long for the counterattack to get launched.  Rather than address the points raised by the Center, the ideological attack resembles carpet bombing

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Plans Initiated for 2018 Election Activities

Minnesota Republicans are planning and preparing for the 2018 election year.  Next year, we will endorse candidates for state-wide office (governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and auditor), one U.S. Senator and all of our U.S. House representatives, as well as all Minnesota House members. 

Caucus_SD33_Credit_MinnPost.jpgWhile all elections are important, the chance to elect a new governor and set a new direction for Minnesota is particularly exciting.  You can play a part in deciding the team that Republicans will put forth, but you have to get involved early.

We will kick off this ambitious year with local caucuses on Tuesday evening, February 6, 2018.  By attending your caucuses, you directly elect your precinct leadership and your delegates to the senate district conventions.  If you put yourself forward for these positions, you stand a good chance of being elected by your neighbors.  You can also put forward amendments to the Minnesota Republican party platform.

Photo Credit MinnPost


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