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