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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

DFL Gov Candidate Series: Rep. Paul Thissen

Category: MN 2016 Governor
Posted: 08/06/17 22:32

(This is the 3rd Installment in the DFL Gov series)

by Dave Mindeman

Full disclosure at the outset - I have supported Paul Thissen for Governor in the past.

It is too early to choose just yet for this cycle, but I have always been impressed with Paul's consistent progressive stands on the issues. He would definitely support single payer if it got to his desk - although he would want any bill thorougly vetted in committee. He would fight for the social safety net in Health and Human Services. He has been a champion on transportation issues; including light rail.

In regards to mining, he favors smart but safe mining goals. The approval process needs to be played out in full and it must be absolutely iron clad in regards to financial assurances for any future clean up. But if mining meets all of that criteria, he would support a go ahead.

On rural issues, Thissen believes in the state setting goals on issues, but allowing local entities to find the best way to implement how to proceed. Rural areas don't like the state dictating terms but they also need state support in infrastructure like broadband, as well as a return to meaningful LGA funding. Paul notes that Democrats have sought more funding for broadband year after year, only to have Republicans cut it back.
Paul wants to focus on what is good for the state as a whole without looking to help rural or metro areas alone.

I have always found Paul Thissen to be one of the more personable legislators. When he talks to people one on one directly, he always seems to connect. Maybe he is not a red meat type speaker, but that comes from a sincere desire to offer vision rather than division.

It is hard to imagine a tougher challenge than trying to deal transparently on policy with Kurt Daudt. But Paul has done his best in the past and wants to make transparency mandatory in state government for the future.

We have to find a better way to end these legislative sessions - and on that, I feel confident that Paul Thissen would find that way.
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DFL Gov Candidate Series: Rep. Tina Liebling

Category: MN 2016 Governor
Posted: 08/06/17 22:27

(This is the 4th installment in a DFL Gov. candidate series)

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Tina Liebling has been good for the Rochester area and now wants to carry that forward for the state. I should say that Ms. Liebling has her work cut out for her - despite here exemplary representation in southern Minnesota, her name recognition for a state wide race will be a challenge.

However, she has a solid progressive perspective. She definitely would sign a single payer bill and if a MNCare buy-in is the best we could do for now, she would be on board.

Tina would propose 2 years of tuition free education at Minnesota's technical colleges. She is concerned about the oncoming future worker shortage...and education is always the key.

On rural issues, she believes the Democratic messaging has been a big shortcoming. Rural areas have always had the disadvantage of slower economic improvement. Infrastructure investments, which Democrats continue to support, can help improve that timeline.

We discussed the end of session and Ms. Liebling is adamant that she would NOT have signed the tax bill. Gov. Dayton needed to veto the bill and then take the Dept. of Revenue insert to court as its own separation of powers issue. The executive branch should have been on the offense. She also feels that a governor needs to be fully engaged and involved in the legislative process earlier in the session timeline.

She does support the Governor's buffer zone for farming. Maybe with a little more tweaking however. But she says, clean water is a need for everyone and the ag industry has to share responsibility to keep things that way.

And as for mining, Tina Liebling would keep the BWCA protected first and foremost.

During our talk, I found Tina to be straightforward on issues and would seem to be a fighter for the things she feels strongly about.
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DFL Gov Candidate Series: Rep. Erin Murphy

Category: MN 2016 Governor
Posted: 08/06/17 22:23

(This is the 5th in a series of DFL Gov candidate interviews)

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Erin Murphy has been in the legislature for some time. She has been in the majority and in the minority. Now she wants to make a difference in the executive branch.

She tends to look at things as a broader vision rather than what is expedient for the moment. Her progressive credentials are impressive but she prefers to get everyone on the same page.

In regards to single payer, she has been a supporter for some time. If a MNCare buy-in is the intermediate step, she would evaluate that if and when it would come up.

On rural issues, she maintains that broader vision. The state moves forward as a unit. Not with rural and metro separated. And she feels strongly that rural areas need to have their issues discussed personally. She has traveled the state extensively and has met rural leaders on their own turf and listened to what they have to say. To Erin, that personal connection is more important than agreeing with one side or the other.

Education is a vitally important issue for her. She has supported Gov. Dayton on Pre-K and wants very much to expand Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) - because kids need to come to their elementary schools already prepared.

She mentioned the troubling aspects of Police officer involved shootings and killings. She wants a review of the state's deadly force legalities and make appropriate changes. These recent tragedies have to stop.

She and Paul Thissen are both candidates for governor this cycle. They have worked together in House leadership for a number of years. I asked her (and Paul) about how it feels to be opponents this time around. Both said they are not worried about any problems. They are good friends and respect each other immensely. They may have a few differences in approach and style, but they do not anticipate anything that will interfere with each of them focusing on their own campaigns.

Erin Murphy has been at this the longest after her early announcement. She has probably established a good network for her campaign. We will see if that early work pays off.
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