Monday, November 27, 2006

Week of November 27, 2006

The recount has been completed, and the Gardner campaign is the winner! The final vote margin was three to four votes. (There is a little haggling over that last ballot.) The Board of Canvassers will certify the election on December 11th!

The recount process is interesting, if not a little tedious, to watch. There were five tables set up in the basement cafeteria of the State Office Building. At each table are two people from from the Secretary of State's office and one person each representing the two candidates. Ballots are separated into several piles, including one each for ballots where a voter cast a vote for either Phil Krinkie or me, one for blank ballots (e.g., where the voter did not vote for the House race but voted for other offices), and write-ins. The candidates' representatives may contest a ballot if something looks awry.

On Monday morning, I attended an orientation for incoming legislators on Anoka County's activities at the county government center in Anoka. Several county government division heads made short presentations, and all but two of the county's commissioners were in attendance. Obviously a Vikings stadium proposal in Blaine appears to be dead, but among the priority needs cited by county staff and commissioners were unfunded mandates from the state (such as county incarceration of state offenders) and transportation.

On Tuesday afternoon, I met with James McCormick, Chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities along with MnSCU's Director of Government Relations, Jerry Janezich, who had been a State Senator. They showed me how many MnSCU students are from district 53A. The number was 1,995! That includes 755 Century College students and 303 at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.

On Wednesday through Friday, I attended an orientation for freshmen legislators in Chaska. It was very tiring, as it went from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.! Saturday was a caucus retreat.

Constituent contacts:: Shoreview resident concerned that the legislature will spend all the projected surplus and make government bigger; North Oaks resident wants mental health to have parity with other medical services; Lino Lakes resident wanting all credit bureaus to accept payment by credit card when asking to freeze their credit report

Letters of introduction sent from: Minnesota Board of Dentistry; and the founder of Minnesotans for Marriage (no return address, web site, or other information listed in the card); AAA Clubs of Minnesota; Chicano Latino Affairs Council; Metropolitan State University; MN Board of Public Defense; Prairie Island Indian Community; University of MN Extension Service (Regional Center, Andover); Centerpoint Elementary School in White Bear Lake (serves students from 53A in Lino Lakes); Delta Dental; Anoka Co Integrated Waste Management Department; MN Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting; MN Credit Union Network; University of MN Extension Service-Dean's Office, Leadership and Civic Engagement program, and Urban Operations program; MN State Fire Chiefs Association; Concerned Citizens of MN (affiliated with The John Birch Society); International Union of Operating Engineers (Local 49); Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah; Arc of MN; Cook Hill Girard Associates Ltd (a lobbying firm); MN Catholic Conference; Alliance for Student Achievement; MN Nurses Association

The MN State Board of Public Defense gets the wasteful mailing award! This office sent a 56 page agency overview that was printed on one side of the paper and which included about 100 words on a page. Could have been done on about 15 pages.

Organizations seeking a meeting or inviting me to an event: Office of Governor Pawlenty; Congresswoman Betty McCollum; Minnesota Chamber of Commerce; Mounds View School District; City of Shoreview for December 8th Shoreview Business Exchange; St. Paul Area Trades & Labor Assembly (AFL-CIO); Municipal Legislative Commission; Association of Metropolitan School Districts; Homes for All/MN Housing Partnership; TakeAction Minnesota; Gregg E. Johnson, Chief Judge of MN's Second District Court, St. Paul

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Week of November 20, 2006

The recount for House District 53A will be Monday, November 27th at 9:00 a.m. at the State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul. I'm told that the process could take about one and a half days, with a lot of procedure to be laid out in the first two hours or so.

On Tuesday, I met with Jan Witthuhn, Superintendent, Mounds View School District to discuss education issues. Top issues include the increasing cost of health care, the need to adjust the state's funding formula to accommodate districts with declining enrollment, and testing requirements.

On Wednesday, I met with Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett and two Ramsey County employees about the county's 2007 legislative platform.

Letters of introduction sent from: Lutheran Social Services; The Art Institutes International Minnesota; Minnesota Utility Investors; Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd (a lobbying firm); Agricultural Utilization Research Institute; Ramsey County Commissioners Jan Parker & Victoria Reinhardt; Politics in Minnesota; Minnesota Zoo

Organizations seeking a meeting or inviting me to an event: Waste Management; P.S. (Public Schools) Minnesota; Mayor of Circle Pines; St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce; Sexual Abuse Prevention Network; Coalition of Greater MN Cities; Lockridge Grindal Nauen on behalf of St. Paul Radiology Roseville/Arden Hills; Catholic Charities; Friends of MnSCU; League of Women Voters for North Oaks, White Bear Lake, and Maplewood

Organizations meeting with me or discussing issues on the phone or by e-mail: University of Minnesota Government Relations; American Plastics Council

Constituents contacting me: North Oaks residents briefing me about Highway 96 landfill, which has been leaking vinyl chloride from White Bear Township westward; Lino Lakes resident about a credit reporting bureau not accepting checks for credit reports.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Week of November 13, 2006

Right now I'm going through orientation, and I'm still working almost full-time at the Recycling Association of Minnesota until the end of the year, so there won't be a whole lot going on yet.

Last week was the election, when I won by 55 votes! A recount is required but it has not been scheduled.

This week I met with the Shoreview City Manager to get briefed on legislative issues that affect the city and its residents. Those issues include transportation funding and property tax rates.

I attended a meeting for the Rush Line Corridor, which is a transit corridor that would run from the Union Depot in St. Paul up Highway 61 and Interstate 35 to Hinkley.

Friday included freshman orientation for incoming House members from both parties. I have a new e-mail at but no phone or office until swearing-in on January 3rd.

Letters/calls of introduction received: North Metro Chamber of Commerce; MN Teamsters; Tubman Family Alliance; St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce; MN Attorney General-elect; MN Transportation Alliance; Office of the Legislative Auditor; MN Bankers Association; U of M's Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment; MN Pipe Trades Association; Rep. Betty McCollum; National Association of Industrial & Office Properties-MN Chapter; Fresh Energy; AFSCME Local 65; MN Licensed Beverage Association/MN Municipal Beverage Association; Planned Parenthood; American Cancer Society-MN Chapter; Association of Metropolitan School Districts; MN Cable Communications Association; Care Providers of MN; MN Health & Housing Alliance; Xcel Energy; MN Credit Union Network; MN Association of Realtors

Requests for meetings or attendance at events: Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett; Anoka County (several commissioners and departments); Mounds View School District; City of Lexington; City of Circle Pines; MN Farm Bureau Federation; MN Association of Townships; Education Minnesota; University of Minnesota-Government Relations; MN AFL-CIO; P.S. (Public Schools) Minnesota; MN Taxpayers Association; MN State Colleges & Universities-Chancellor's Office; Ramsey County Community Human Services Citizens Advisory Council; MN State Senator for Growth & Justice event for legislators; Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Constituents or organizations in district calling/writing/e-mailing about issues: local volunteer for MN Senior Federation on property taxes; Centennial School District Early Childhood Program on early childhood programs