Archive for June, 2009

July 4th Message From CPT Ben Wiener

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Go to the East Central Truth Detector’s “Letters From a Soldier” link to read an Independence Day message about patriotism from CPT Ben Wiener.

Unallotments and Predictable Reaction

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Yesterday Governor Tim Pawlenty announced his “unallotment” decisions – his unilateral budget cuts because the Democrat-controlled legislature couldn’t figure out how (or more accurately refused)  to reform, streamline and reduce the size and scope of state government. The unallotments included $100 million in cuts to higher education, several hundred million to various health and human services programs, a billion and a half of delayed payments to K-12 schools, and a suspension of the political contribution refund (PCR) program (get those checks in by June 30th!).

The one reduction that was less than the Governor’s original recommendation was the reduction in Local Government Aid (LGA). However, that didn’t stop the usual and predictable reactionfrom city officials, particularly, cities of the first class (Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth), specifically Minneapolis.

Mayor R. T. Ryback, who recently returned from a trip to China, wasted no time in wailing and gnashing his teeth over Governor Pawlenty’s decision. With the city council president singing backup, here is what was reported by Politics in Minnesota:

“I deeply disagree with the governor, because his choices will hurt many people,” Rybak said. “The governor has offered no plan for putting people to work, only for cutting jobs during a tough economy, and has offered no strategy for fixing a broken state budget that continues to lurch from deficit to deficit.”

Rybak’s sentiments were echoed by Barb Johnson, president of the Minneapolis City Council. “Unlike the state, the city of Minneapolis has addressed its financial challenges head on by paying down debt, doing long-term financial planning and delivering services more efficiently,” Johnson said. “If the state had been as disciplined about managing its finances as we have been, they wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Does Councilwoman Johnson really want the public to look into how disciplined Minneapolis has been in managing its finances? Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has already begun, as evidenced by his blog about the $50,000 drinking fountains that Minneapolis city officials thought were a priority. The swanky drinking fountains have been in the news in the past year, as has been the story that Minneapolis spent the majority of its federal stimulus money on fixing up the Shubert Theater. Other examples of misguided priorities, such as carbon footprint reduction grants to community organizations, lobbying (yes – using taxpayer money to lobby the Legislature for more taxpayer money) and artistic manhole covers can be uncovered by a casual web search or combing through the city’s budget.

While Mayor Rybak & Co. may claim they will have to lay off cops and firefighters because of the big, bad Governor, here’s an idea. The reduction to Minneapolis for 2009 is somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million. The pseudo autonomous Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board gets a cut of Minneapolis’ LGA to the tune of $10,000,000+ annually. Looks like an easy solution to me.

Trust me, the wasteful spending is almost as egregious in St. Paul. And I can only imagine what Duluth blows its butdet on. Hopefully, you’ll hear more from other sources on how things aren’t as dire in Minnesota’s biggest cities and their officials may want you to believe.

This article is also posted at East Central Taxpayers.

It’s Hard to Define, but People Recognize it When They See It

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

No, I’m not talking about obscenity. I’m talking about socialism. And if you can believe the recent Rasmussen Poll regarding government ownership of GM and Chrysler, the people recognize socialism when it rears its ugly head, too.

The poll found that 80 percent, that’s right 80 percent of the people want the government to sell its interest in GM and Chrysler. A majority of Republicans, Independents and Democrats feel the same way.

Add this to the list of things that gives me hope and fills me wiht optimism. People know when government overreaches and gets involved in things when it shouldn’t. At least when it’s blatant socialism.

Another indication that things are looking up, as I have stated here before, a June 15th Gallup Poll found that conservatives are the single biggest ideological group, with 40 percent of respondents being self-identified conservatives. The second largest group were moderates at 35 percent, and only 21 percent identified themselves as liberal.

Who said it? (And a New Blog Feature)

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Yes, we are adding a new section to the East Central Truth Detector blog, called “Inside Baseball“. This will be a place to go on this website that allows a reader to delve deeper into an issue or find answers to trivia questions and brain teasers on the regular East Central Truth Detector posts. You will need a password to access the information, which you can request for free by e-mailing me at truthdetector@eastcentraltruthdetector.com.

So today, we will start with three quotes, and your job as the reader will be guess who said them. Two of the answers probably will not be a surprise. One of them might be.

Quote 1 [addressing the issue of tax increases]: “this is one of the districts that that change in the tax policy is the best for of all the districts in the state.”

Quote 2 [addressing the issue of gay marriage]: “They talk about the 515 rights that married people have that gay couples can’t have . . .  and some of those are things like if their partner is ill and they . . . they can go to the hospital but  they’re not recognized as a family member, even though they have been partners for many, many years . . .those are some quality things that I think we need to address.”

Quote 3 [addressing the issue of gay marriage]:  “Emotionally, I tend to be more with the rest of my generation on this issue, I tend to be more libertarian and would like to allow for gay marriage.”

Is the Pendulum Swinging to the Right?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

In the last few days, I have read news reports on elections, polls and trends, that each on their own might not mean much. But taken as an aggregate, and taken in the context of historical patterns, they could point to a resurgence of conservatism and the Republican Party. I will address these trends, not necessarily in chronological order.

1. A recent Rasmussen Poll finds that Americans now trust Republicans more than Democrats to address six of ten issues, including the top issue of the Economy. This trend could be a major turning point after two election cycles with Republicans being held in low regard by the public.

2. Off-year elections. No 2009 is not a “major” election year. But Virginia and New Jersey have gubernatorial elections this year. In New Jersey, Federal prosecutor Christopher J. Christie, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine. Corzine is unpopular with the voters and polling suggests a close race in a normally Democrat-leaning state. In Virginia, Democrat Creigh Deeds, who just won his primary election today, will to up against Republican Bob McDonnell in the general election. McDonnell has previously defeated Deeds in an election for attorney general by 323 votes in 2005. This is also a potential gubernatorial pick-up for Republicans.

Why are these “off-year” elections important? Rewind to 1993 when Republican Christine Todd Whitman picked up the governorship in New Jersey and Republican Geroge Allen won the governor’s race in Virginia. Tihs was also the year that Rudy Giuliani won the mayor’s race in New York City. These wins were an indication that the public was getting fed up with liberal politicians and were a prelude to the 1994 Republican sweep of the U. S. House and Senate, and many governorships including New York (Pataki defeated Cuomo) and Texas (Bush defeated Richards). Likewise, the 2005 victory of Democrat Gov. Tim Kaine in Virginia was an early indicatoin that Republicans were in trouble in the coming 2006 mid-term elections.

Now, I will say that New Jersey has a history of givinng Republicans false hope as well. In 2002, Democrat Sen. Robert Toricelli withdrew his candidacy because of corruption charges. Toricelli was replaced on the ballot, some say illegally, by former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat who came out of retirement to run again. Republicans were favored to win that race before Lautenberg’s name went on the ballot, bu Lautenberg prevailed. In the 2004 presidential election, when national security was the top issue, polling in late summer and into the fall teased Republicans with a possible Bush victory in New Jersey, but it didn’t come to fruition.

3. In the New York State Senate, Democrats, who had the majority for barely five months, lost it again when two Democrat Senators joined the Republican minority in electing new leadership Monday. This might seem like inside baseball, but these politicians are elected by the people of New York, and this coup would not have happened without a measure of public dissatisfaction with the new Democrat majority in the New York Senate.

4. Finally, the European Parliament elections. Dissatisfaction with socialistic policies by the left, voters all over Europe handed over power to center-right coalitions. “It’s Europe” you say, “Who cares?” For the first time in a generation, European politics moves to the right of the U. S. And speaking of historical patterns, let’s not forget that Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, one year prior to Ronald Reagan’s first election to the Presidency in 1980.

I may be ever the optimist, but these are some positive indications that conservatives and Republicans have not seen for some time and the pendulum does swing from right to left and back again. Let’s hope it’s started on its way back to the right.

(Soto)Mayor an Elitist

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

OK, bad attempt at a wordplay on the headline (My-you’re an elitist). But as promised, I am bringing you some commentary on happenings outside of Minnesota.

Some pundits who stated a few weeks ago that she’s a racist have now backed off of their original comments. And they probably should. Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh probably don’t know Judge Sonja Sotomayor well enough to know whether she has racial tendencies. Nor do I.

However, based on quotes attributed to her, she has stated that a Latino woman could reach better decisions as a judge than a white male. Her comment was made in response to former U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor saying that a wise old woman would reach the same decisions as a wise old man. I’m not sure that Sotomayor’s attitude is racist as much as it is elitist. Regardless, her comments and her attitudes are relevant to her qualifications for the highest court in the land, if they are reflective of her judicial philosophy.

The long held idea that justice is blind, and that we are a nation of laws, not people (meaning no one is above the law), begins to diminish when attitues creep in that certain genders and certain races are more equal or “add value” to the court. An impartial jurist will apply the law and the constitution when judjing cases and coming to conclusions. A judge’s own life experiences, or the races and genders of people involved in the case shouldn’t matter. The law is the law, and the constitution says what it says.

In their attempt to justify Sotomayor’s elitist comments, the Obama administration and others who support her nomination say that she would have said it differently. How a person couches an elitist statement is not the issue, if the person is an elitist. And in their response to Sotomayor’s detractors, Sotomayor’s supporters talk about how her race and ethnicity somehow will “add value” to the Supreme Court. 

It goes without saying that if Bush appointees Samuel Alito or John Roberts had stated during their nominations that their experiences as white males allow them to come to better conclusions than others, they would not have been confirmed. There is a double standard in Washington and in the mainstream media on how these situations are treated, depending on the players involved.

There is also a difference in how Senators of the two parties handle nominees by the President of the opposite party. Democrat Senators have no problem going after a nominee they oppose, no holds barred. Republican Senators tend to be more timid, and fear being labeled racist, sexist, partisan or. . . elitist.

Now President Barack Obama used the political capital at his disposal to nominate, not just a regular liberal to the court, but an extremist that would make the likes of David Souter blush. He is just a few months out from a decisive election that put him in the White House, and his popularity is still fairly high. Democrats in the U. S. Senate have nearly a filibuster-proof majority, which makes it easier to confirm an extre leftist. Obama is not dumb, so just for insurance purposes, and in an attempt to shield his nominee from harsh criticism, appointed a minority woman of humble beginnings. Obama may not have this opportunity again to appoint and confirm a candidate as  liberal as Sotomayor.

How does a woman who grew up in housing projects, the daughter of a single mother end up as an elitist? I can only surmize it was her Ivy Leage education that influenced her. Somewhere along the way she was told that she is more equal and she “adds value” because of her gender and her ethnicity.

Republican Senators should oppose Sotomayor if her elitist attitude is part of her judicial philosophy. They can do it without coming across as partisan, sexist or racist.

2010 Gov’s Race: One Interesting Non-Development

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I find it interesting that former Congressman Jim Ramstad, who retired from the U. S. House of Representatives to pursue other interests, has not yet ruled out running for Governor. I know, I know, it’s only been two days since Gov. Pawlenty’s announcement. However, Rep. Dean Urdahl, and State Senator Dick Day have taken themselves out of the running. Who, you say? Never mind.

Back to Ramstad. His presence in the race would really scramble the GOP side. If Ramstad gets in, Republicans will have a seriously contested primary for the first time since 1994. After a decade of the party endorsement being iron-clad, we would go back to the days of the dual caucus/primary system.  His voting record and his moderate views give him zero chance of getting enough support to earn the party endorsement. And Ramstad is smart enough to know that. So he knows if he gets in he will likely skip the endorsing process and run in the primary election.

Of course I say these things presuming Ramstad would run as a Republican. Republican strength in the western suburbs, which Ramstad represented in Congress, is eroding, and he’s not as well known in Greater Minnesota as he is in the Twin Cities. Would Ramstad run as an independent, or even as a Democrat? He could actually make the case for fitting in either way.

I hate to give away secrets here, but if I were in the upper echelons of the Independence Party (wait, does the IP have echelons?) I would be working night and day to recruit the Rammer.

I know Democrats would fear the Rammer as a GOP or IP opponent. I fear him getting in the race, period.

Pawlenty Steps Aside – Let the Speculation Begin

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

(This post was updated 3/3/09, because I knew my original post left out some prominent names. Additionally, according to media reports and blogs today, Carol Molnau, Sue Jeffers and Michele Bachmann are not likely to run for Governor.)

Governor Tim Pawlenty announced at a 2 p.m. news conference today that he will not be seeking a third term as Governor of Minnesota. If speculation about his aspirations for national office hasn’t already begun it will now be in full swing. There will be p(aw)lenty of people joining the chorus of speculators on his chances of landing on a national ticket. Closer to home, however, I prefer to start the speculation and analyzing of potential candidates for Governor. Many are called, so I will try to keep my analysis brief . Few are chosen but we won’t know for sure who it will be until summer/fall 2010.

Let’s start with the Democrats. Those who have filed campaign committees up to this point include (in no particular order):

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner: Experience as a county prosecutor worked for Amy Klobuchar, but she had her father’s name. My sources inside the DFL say Gaertner wearing out her welcome already.

Former U. S. Senator Mark Dayton: Money is no obstacle for Dayton, but his eccentric behavior while a Senator will no doubt come back to haunt him.

Former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza: Like Dayton, money is no object, but his history of opposition research on member of his own party could hurt.

State Represenattive Paul Thissen of Minneapolis: A congenial fellow, but outside of Minneapolis it’s Paul Who?

State Senator and 1994 DFL gubernatorial nominee John Marty. Republicans to Democrats: “If you can’t give us Ole Saviour this time, please give us our second choice, John Marty.”

State Senator Tom Bakk (DFL – Cook): Probably the most original of the DFL bunch, but that’s not saying much. His Iron Range sensibilities make him a little different, which could be a negative when it comes to getting his party’s endorsement.

Democrats who have not filed a campaign committee but being mentioned as potential candidates:

Finally, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher is considered a potential candidate, although she has not filed a campaign committee yet. Speaker Kelliher had been considered a potential front runner up until the end of the 2009 Legislative session. Most observers and experts viewed the 2009 session as a loser, strategically and politically, for Democrat Legislative leaders, including Kelliher. She may have a tough uphill climb if she gets in the race.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak have been mentioned as potential candidates, although they are both running for reelection to their current positions this year. Coleman, in particular has been traveling around the state, presumably to elevate his name recognition. Being known in the population center of the state is a plus for either of these potential candidates. However, once the frivilous spending  in their cities (that will cause people in Greater Minnesota scratch their heads)  is revealed, people will wonder why they whined about having to lay off firefighters and policemen when their Local Government Aid was cut.

Now, the Republicans, in no particular order. (Even if it appears that I have an early favorite, I am decidedly neutral at this point. These comments are simply my brief description and analysis.):

Sue Jeffers, 2006 GOP primary opponent to Gov. Pawlenty: Former owner of Stub & Herbs a downtown Minneapolis bar, Ms. Jeffers was an adamant opponent to the statewide smoking ban. Her libertarian views will appeal to some factions in the GOP, but it remains to be seen how much wider her appeal will be. Ms. Jeffers still has a campaign committee from her 2006 challenge to Gov. Pawlenty.

Brian Sullivan, Republican National Committee National Committeeman: You may remember that Sullivan was Pawlwnty’s main challenger for the GOP endorsement in 2002. The memorable state convention that year went until the wee hours in the morning as it took 13 ballots for Pawlenty to garner the 60 percent vote required for party endorsement. Sullivan was gracious in defeat, and many observers commented at the time that his demeanor will help him as a future candidate. Sullivan has been known as a staunch conservative, but more recently, some have tried to pigeonhole him as a party establishment insider. Sullivan, a successful businessman, could self-fund his campaign, but financial independence is a double-edged sword for GOP candidates.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Marshall. Seifert is resigning his position as Minority Leader, and considering a run for Governor. Siefert has successfully held together the House Republicans in sustaining the Governor’s vetoes (well, except for that annoying little gas tax,  license tab fee and metro sales tax increase passed in 2008). Seifert is known for his quips and using illustrative word pictures to get his point across. May be the most fun candidate to watch and listen to.

Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, Rochester: One of a diminishing number of Republican legislators from the Rochester area. Senjem is an affable fellow, but isn’t known for his leadership skills.

State Representative Tom Emmer: The conservative lion of the Minnesota House. Emmer is known for fiery speeches on the House Floor. He has the type-A dominant personality to be the CEO of the state. His challenge will be to put together a coalition of supporters beyond the GOP base to get there.

State Representative and former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer: Has statewide name recognition and experience running statewide campaigns. Does she want to return to statewide service, or has she found her niche as a legislator?

Former State Auditor Pat Anderson, like Kiffmeyer, has statewide name recognition and campaign experience. Anderson is a product of the “Eagan Mafia” that produced prominent GOP politicians like Pawlenty via the Eagan City Council.

State Labor Commissioner and Former Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum: Sviggum was a great promoter of fellow GOP House candidates when he was his caucus leader. However he has never junped into the arena of statewide campaigns himself. Will 2010 be different?

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann: Bachmann certainly fires up the conservative base. However, her propensity to spout controversial things at inopportune times has caused the GOP to divert precious campaign dollars from targeted races to bail her out in a district that should be safe for Republicans.

State Representative Laura Brod: The feisty representative from New Prague has established herself as an expert on far-ranging issues from taxes to Health and Human Services. She handles herself well in House Floor debates. Lack of statewide name recognition could be a problem. However, she is a fresh face and could have the best chance of anyone to earn the support of all factions of her party.

Let’s not forget U. S. Senator Norm Coleman: Yes, Norm’s main job right now is to keep Al Franken to from getting seated in the U. S. Senate. Coleman has always considered himself an executive more so than a legislator. While Minnesotans may have Norm fatigue at the moment, the number of candidates potentially getting into the race could cause campaign fatigue in the coming 12-15 months. As the plethora of candidates line up, and as people find flaws with each one of them, Coleman’s stature as a U. S .Senator may leave hin the last one standing. After all, isn’t that how Sen. McCain got to be his party’s nominee for POTUS in 2008? Norm’s revival coud be a mere 12-15 months away. You read it here first.

Another name mentioned in the media is former Congressman Jim Ramstad. Ramstad’s stature and broad appeal would make him a favorite to defeat any Democrat on the ballot. Given his moderate views and voting record, his challenge would be to find his way to the general election ballot via the GOP nomination.

Others have been mentioned such as State Senators David Hann and Geoff Michel,and even former State Senator and former chief of staff to Pawlenty David Gaither.

One State Senator that at least one fellow legislator is encouraging to run is Sen. Julie Rosen. A potentially attractive candidate, but like most GOP state senators it will be difficult to cite accomplishments and  demonstrable leadership skills as reasons to elect her Governor.

That’s it for now. I’m sure I forgot some names. Others will appear unexpectedly. Many are called. Few are chosen. The speculation and analysis will continue. Stay tuned.

MN House Meltdown IV – The Final Minutes of Session

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

The final minutes of the 2009 Legislative session in many ways were a repeat of the end of the 2007 session. The Democrat majority had all session to balance the budget in a way that would be acceptable to the Governor. Governor Tim Pawlenty had been very clear all along that he would veto tax increases. However, that didn’t stop Democrats from trying to jam through a huge tax increase bill in the waning minutes before the constitutional deadline for adjournment.

The difference that this year brings compared to previous years? As Rep. Tom Emmer (R – Delano) stated during the debate referring to the 33-page mega tax increase bill, “I’ll give you credit for one thing – you managed to do, in much fewer pages, a lot more damage than you did with a lot more pages the last time!”

And that was the only difference. Billions of dollars of tax increases in a complicated tax bill plopped on legislators’ desks literally minutes prior to the constitutional deadline for adjournment. Democrat leadership didn’t want the public to know, and it could be argued, they didn’t want members of their own caucus to know what was in the bill. Just vote yes.

This led to the procedural meltdown that was nearly a replay of the 2007 session. Majority Leader Tony Sertich (DFL – Chisholm) making a motion to end debate, Republicans, trying to stop the bill by asking questions and demanding standing votes and roll call votes, and ultimately, a clearly rattled Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher cutting everyone off and getting the bill to a vote ahead of the midnight deadline in spite of the fact several Republican members were seeking recognition to be recognized and speak.

It was an ugly scene for anyone to watch.

The bill passed the House 82-47. Republican Reps. Buesgens, Emmer, Hackbarth and Holberg did not vote on the bill. DFL Reps Kath, Obermueller, Otremba, Pelowski and Poppe joined 42 Republicans in voting against this tas increase. The bill was then rushed to the Senate where a similar scene took place. In that chamber, all Republicans refused to vote. The bill passed 35-1 with Sen. Sparks (DFL – Austin) casting the lone “no” vote. 

In the end, the Bill was vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty, which was expected.

So why did the Democrat leadership play that game? Simply so they could say they sent the Governor a balanced budget. Yes, Democrats needed to jam through a colossal tax increase to cover all the spending they sent the Governor during the previous month.

The Governor will not call the legislature into special sessoin. He will use his unallotment authority to unilaterally make spending reductions. DFL legislative leaders recently sent the Governor a letter saying they would not help him with unallotment. No surprise there. They’ve been no help with the budget all session. Why would they start now?

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives in the Republican Caucus. Tihs blog is not paid for or sponsored in any way by any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee. Opinions expressed herein are those of the website administrator and not necessarily those of any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee.

Faust Flip-Flop Keeps Marijuana Bill From Going Up in Smoke

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

(Yes I’m still catching up on posts from 2009 Legislative session action.)

Rep. Tim Faust (DFL - No Man's Land)

Rep. Tim Faust (DFL - No Man's Land)

On May 11th, the House Ways and Means Committee heard Senate File 97, the “medical marijuana” bill authored by Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL – Virginia).

First a little background. Since this is the East Central Truth Detector, I will say up front that I really don’t think the average voter cares whether someone who is dying of a terminal disease smokes a little pot if it eases some of their pain. This is not even a partisan issue, as there are prominent proponents and opponents to “medical” use of marijuana in both parties. The larger issue is whether core supporters of  “medical marijuana” are using potential legalization of the “gateway drug” for medical use as a gateway for broader legal use down the road. The other issue, which I will get to in a bit, is whether  a representative of a district that has had a high number of meth labs in recent years should treat the issue of “medical” marijuana as cavalierly as he did on May 11th in the Ways and Means Committee.

A little more background. The Ways and Means Committee is the last major committee stop for all bills with fiscal impact before they are debated on the House Floor. On May 11th, Ways & Means Committee Chairman Rep. Loren Solberg (DFL – Grand Rapids) was absent, leaving Vice Chair Rep. Tim Faust (DFL – No Man’s Land) in charge.

After debating the bill for about 20 minutes, a roll call was taken of the committee members present. All members cast their votes audibly,  aye or nay, and Faust, being the last to vote voted nay. After a short pause (and realizing the bill would have died in committee on a 9-9 vote), Faust asked, “Can I change my vote?” After another short pause, Faust stated, “I’ll change by vote to yes . . . the motion passes 10-8.”

While his change of heart in a matter of seconds is not documented in the committee minutes, the audio archive clearly records the Faust flip flop. Go to the House Ways and Means audio and video archives, scrol down to Monday, May 11,2009 and click on “listen now”. Faust’s “no” vote occurs at about 31:43. Faust’s “Can I change my vote?” question occurs at about 32:02 (turn volume up) and his “yes” vote occurs at about 32:06.

The bill eventually passed the House Floor, but was vetoed by Governor Tim Pawlenty.

A couple of observations. First, if he didn’t want to be the one to sink Rep. Rukavina’s bill, he simply could have not voted, then the bill would have passed out of the committee, 9-8 (several other committee members were absent, so this was a non-issue). But doing quick math as people are voting is probably not Faust’s strength. Second, one would think the vice chair of arguably the most powerful committee in the House would know whether he can change his vote. But Faust had to ask anyway.

But the most important observation is, given the propensity of the number of meth labs that cropped up in Pine County and Kanabec County in recent history, the representative of District 8B should not have used his vote as a tool to help out his political cronies.

When former Rep. Judy Soderstrom and her supporters played up the fact that Rep. Soderstrom was a co-author of the bill that essentially put an end to the meth labs in our area, it was poo-pooed by Faust and the local DFL activists. Now Faust’s vote and the way he handled himself when the “medical marijuana” bill was before him makes one question whether he really cares about this issue, or if for him, it is all politics.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of the Minnesota House of Representatives in the Republican Caucus. This blog is not is not endorsed by or supported in any way by any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee. Opinions expressed herein are those of the administrator of this blog and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any legislative caucus, political party, candidate or candidate’s committee.