December 2015 capped off a busy year for Senate District 49. We continue to be one of the most active Senate Districts in Minnesota. The work that we’re doing and the accomplishments we’ve achieved are all part of our efforts to build a strong organization for the 2016 elections.
Between March and November this year, we held six monthly dinner meetings, with programs featuring Senate Minority Leader David Hann, Sen. Osmek, and Star Tribune contributor Katherine Kersten. Of particular note was the address given by Katherine Kersten to an overflow crowd at our October meeting. Her topic focused on the Met Council’s intent to “spread poverty equally throughout the 7-county Metro area in one grand homogenizing brushstroke,” as envisioned in their Thrive 2040 Plan.
We had two major fund-raising events. In July, U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer spoke on his first term. In November, our annual Fall Conversation featured a panel discussion on Minnesota’s education challenges and opportunities. We were honored that Mitch Pearlstein, Mike McFadden, Chas Anderson, and Devin Foley were our panelists. As Mike McFadden boldly stated, “Nothing is more important than our children. We as Republicans should ‘put a stake in the ground’ about the importance of education.”
We organized a group of enthusiastic walkers to represent us in the Edina 4th of July Parade.
In September, we joined forces with Senate District 50, to our east in Richfield and Bloomington, to march in the Bloomington Heritage Days Parade and to host a family picnic. We had a number of guest speakers at the picnic, including Keith Downey, Chris Fields, Senator Hann, and the former and current Chairs of Hispanic Republican Assembly of Minnesota, Rick Aguilar and Frank Mendez. Their common theme stressed party unity and growth through opportunity. Mr. Mendez crystalized this point by saying, ““We are All Americans, no matter where or when we came to this great land, and we share the same values, principles, and beliefs. It’s time we put aside our differences and work together for the future of this country.” Mr. Fields amplified the message by saying, “there is nothing we can’t do as Republicans once we put our minds to it.”
Twice this year we co-sponsored networking events with the Minnesota Young Republicans. It was gratifying to see that the turn-outs at both Poor Richard’s and Cowboy’s Jack’s included a number of older Republicans who came to support and enjoy the company of the Young Republicans.
“In October, local Republicans came back to the ‘Wild West’ at Bloomington’s only authentic cowboy bar”
Senate District 49 took the step this year of recommending Bloomington City Council candidate Tom Hulting and Edina School Board candidates Sarah Patzloff, Amir Gharbi, and Leny Wallen-Friedman in their respective races. Patzloff, Gharbi, and Wallen-Friedman were elected by the voters of Edina.
SD 49 Executive Committee members and volunteers have been working hard in several other areas.
Our Outreach Committee built upon and extended its relationship with the Twin Cities Young Republicans, Minnesota Young Republicans, and Minnesota College Republicans. We have reached out to the Hispanic Republican Assembly of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Republican Women, and the Senior Republicans. Going into the New Year, we will be exploring further ways to reach out in our communities, to build networks of common interest and support.
Our Caucus Planning Committee has held planning meetings for the precinct caucuses that will be held on March 1st. In 2016, Minnesota will be part of “Super Tuesday”, so we anticipate a significant turn-out. We also expect keen interest in our senate district convention, which will be held on April 9th.
Our Candidate Search Committee has been diligently interviewing prospective candidates for our local house and senate races and continues to encourage anyone interested in running for office in Senate District 49 to contact them.
Our Communications Committee has launched a new website in early September and started publishing weekly newsletters. We hope to continue to be of value and interest to our 2200 readers. We have reinvigorated our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SD49GOP), posting a number of albums of pictures of Senate District activities. Our page has over 380 “likes”, and we will continue to work to build on its reach. Our twitter account has gained new followers, now numbering 565. Check us out at "@SD49MNGOP"
All of this bodes well for 2016 and its year-long politically charged atmosphere. We are ramping up our fund-raising, candidate selection, precinct leadership, and organizing activities.
In January, SD 49 will launch several pre-election initiatives based on the State Party’s official “Red to the Roots” Grassroots Organizing Plan. This ambitious comprehensive plan contains roughly 150 steps to winning elections; it is divided into six sections—BPOU management, precinct leadership and organizing, volunteering, messaging & communication, early/absentee voting, and GOTV & Election Day strategies. As one of the first steps, a Precinct Leaders’ meeting will be held in early January.
We will be reaching out to recruit a large number of volunteers. Arrangements are being made to inaugurate a small fund-raising telethon for late January. The candidate search committee will be switching into high gear. The Communication’s Committee will be stepping up its efforts to highlight key state legislative actions and the positions taken by our local politicians and candidates. Finally, the Events Planning Committee will be continuing its on-going creative and innovative approach for new dinner events and perhaps a Spring Conversation fundraiser.
In closing, we’d like to underscore the crucial role of active members and volunteers in building our local party. We cannot do it all alone, so we need your help. Please take a moment to consider helping us. We will need your volunteer efforts in a number of different areas, including supporting the precinct caucuses and senate district convention, researching and writing articles, neighborhood organizing, fund-raising, and our election week Get Out the Vote drive.
It has been a busy and productive year, and it promises to continue through 2016.