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Saturday, March 06, 2004

Huge Turnouts for Democratic Candidates...

The other day, my parents went to their local Democratic caucus meeting in St. Louis Park, MN. They were there to help launch Steve Simon's DFL-endorsed campaign for state House of Representatives. My parents were some of the first to arrive, and they couldn't believe the turnout. Over 1,300 people packing in to a caucus meeting for local elections is practically unheard of, and it's only March! It's an exciting time to be a liberal...

I went to school with Steve, and he's a good friend of my older brother. I'm sure I'm one of many of my generation are willing and able to testify to the quality of his character. If there is a smarter, more civic-minded candidate for any elected office in the state this fall, I'd be very surprised.

Last year, Wes Lindstrom challenged longtime incumbent Ron Abrams in district 43. Abrams was victorious, but the 12 year congressional veteran got an unexpected run for his money in a heavily Republican district.
Simon's campaign, I believe, reflects a shift in the electorate as a whole: People realize that they're worse off with republicans at the helm. In fact, they're angry, and they're demanding better leadership.

Like many other states, Minnesota went from massive surplus to massive deficit rapidly during the Bush years, and still, the Republican mantra remains "no new taxes". Ron Abrams, chair of the taxes committee and Republican fiscal guru, is a cadaverous embodyment of Teddy Roosevelt's famous jibe,"There has never been a conspiracy against the common good in America without a Harvard mind behind it". When a political party so clearly panders to the interests of the wealthy and turns a deaf ear to the rest of its consituency, it needs to be removed from power.

Men like Abrams are far more interested in our corporate boards than our school boards. Don't believe me? Try a google search: "Ron Abrams" + Board of Directors. 163 hits. How about "Ron Abrams" + Budget Cuts + Schools? 155 hits. Of course, Ron would love to give the schools all the money they need, buy gradma her heart pills, and help out the autistic kid next door, but he already gave the money away in tax cuts to the Pillsburys and Daytons.

The realization is dawning that the state needs a long term vision rather than the policies of self-interest embodied by Ron Abrams and the country club set. Steve Simon will work for the greatest good for the greatest number of his constituents.

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