Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Gubernatorial Candidates' Forum Thread

Final thoughts:
I'll get back to this one later. My hands are frickin tired.

8:40 -
Closing statements (1 minute):
Lourey: Please support me. I live on a farm, and have had my arm in a cow's uterus helping it give birth. (Yikes. I'd leave that part out of the stump speech, but as a short speech goes, not bad.)

Kelley: Hi family!...Daughter is a U of M Medical student, I know a bit about med school tuition. Please support me - go to caucuses, be a delegate for me.

Doran. Hi Maria. We need a candidate who can reach out and talk to independents and moderates. We need to talk about how to get there. Please support me.


Effectiveness (A vision for Minnesota):

Kelley: The candidates bring different expertises - Minnesotans are looking for a broader vision that puts all the pieces together. Education is the lynchpin to making sure we're successful as a state. (Getting into his stump speech piece on education). It's time to invest now for the future. Control health care costs. Innovate. We have the organizational and intellectual capacity to put it all together. Different figures on energy costs re: import/export, but keeping money in-state for energy, even 20% would be huge boon for state.

Lourey: So many people run for office for self-interest, who would take away our freedom of religion, who run on "less government" instead of "effective government". (This is very evidently a stump speech - it's much more controlled and clear than her previous answers). My vision is to have a dialog of truth. It can only be successful if people understand our social contract - my goal will be to bring Minnesotans together. (If this was a stump-speech thing, color me confused. How many people who aren't political science majors understand a damned thing about the Social Contract?)

Doran: People are tired of partisan politics. People see government as a dysfunctional institution. Most institutions with problems like that will bring someone in from outside - they don't re-hire the same people. People want honesty in their governor. (I wonder how well this will play if the Legislature actually gets its business done in the upcoming session on time). Minnesota has the 3rd worst rural roads in the country. We need leadership we can trust.

Lourey clapped for Doran, liked his ideas, Kelley jumped in to disagree..........

Kelley: Conflict in politics is okay, as long as it's constructive. I'm not running to run away from partisan politics - I'm running to make a better partisan politics. A strong, effective DFL is essential to our democracy. We can't be rolled over like the national Dems. We have to encourage people to get involved - this is about citizens coming together to solve problems. Partisan politics is one of the ways we get there. Encouraging people to participate is so important that I'm abiding by the DFL endorsement, because if people show up, we ought to listen to them. I wouldn't try to walk into a real estate development company and say "You're in trouble, I know how to fix it." Don't walk in and say "you're dysfunctional, I know how to fix it" without knowing how to fix the engine.

(That, my friends, was a zinger. Not a fan of Doran....)

Doran: I don't think there's anything too complicated about our state government that someone can't come from business and help out. (Later Note: This was an attempt at a parry, but Doran was NOT ready for Kelley's comments).

Lourey: Rambling about something related to a flag-burning amendment...getting cut off by the moderators UPDATE: Turned out to be a decent story. Wish it could be told at length.


Economy (health care, immigration):

Lourey: I love running for office so I can talk about universal affordable health care. I authored MinnesotaCare. Since 1994, we've been hanging on with our health care. You can blame me and Berglund for keeping the legislature longer to make sure that Health Care Access Fund didn't get raided. I'm the only candidate who has put out a plan for health care. I have the vision, I can get there as Governor. Little more rambling here.

Kelley: The first thing we should do to improve the economy is continue to invest in education. Must control health care costs. We must have universal health care. Stop waiting around for the federal government to do it, because they're not about to - our companies are having trouble competing because of health care costs. Health care ought to be portable between jobs. We should start with the plan put forth by the MN Medical Association. MMA has studied issues, issued reports, and are looking for a political leader to lead state forward on health care - I'll be that leader.

Doran: We didn't have health care when I was growing up - it was important for me as a businessman to pay for 100% of health care costs for employees and dependents. In order to offset increases, we had to increase deductibles and co-pays. American business is going to get out of health care - it's a competitive issue for them. We need to be prepared for that. I agree with Senator Kelley - the best solution is a national solution, but that won't happen. We can't wait for it. Neither the Left or Right has the right idea (Right - no changes, Left - government should take it over). Let's look at realistic solutions, like mine - a public/private partnership. Might have to check that out later. We need cost containment - need to put the consumer back in charge.

Lourey: Go to beckylourey.org. (Isn't it .com?) The federal government is privatizing Medicare, the most popular government program - moving backwards. It is imperative that a state, any state, start responding to the citizens on this country. We have the tools, and Minnesotans want UHC.

Kelley: Immigration - illegal immigration is a problem. Minnesotans expect that people go by the rules - but illegal immigration is a federal problem, not a state problem. Instead of confronting Pres. Bush on this, Pawlenty keeps putting his arm around the President. No good. If meth is a problem, let's apply 10 officers from Pawlenty's new state police force (hadn't heard of that). We have undocumented immigrants here - but they are contributers to our economy, so that young people without documentation can attend college on in-state tuition.

Doran: Undocumented immigrants are paying taxes because they want to contribute - we are all the result of immigrants. We should have a system that allows undocumenteds to move toward citizenship.



Doran: early childhood education needs more funding. All day Kindergarten across the state. State should provide pre-K edu.

Kelley: The state has been providing a lower and lower percentage of its budget to education. We have to control other costs - health care, corrections - so that we can afford to invest in education. Agreed with Pawlenty that health care costs needed to be limited, but was immoral to do so by kicking thousands of people off their health care. Corrections budgets need to concentrate on violent offenders. As Governor, I'll be standing up against wacky ideas of current admin with respect to higher ed.

Lourey: $50,000 a year to keep a person in prison - early-childhood education and care. Reduces crime later in life. We need the investment in our young kids so they can get to college (instead of crime?) College is getting expensive. Non-partisan economist told legislature: START INVESTING IN EDUCATION. Back in 1991 we raised the top tax bracket to solve a state budget deficit to keep the U funded. Lourey's getting fired up about progressive tax increases. Sick to death of people who run for office saying "taxes are ugly" and "less government". Now she's just rambling about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Still rambling. I think she lost the audience a bit.

Kelley: back to affordability in higher education. Costs are bad enough as they are - but we need to think about communicating very clearly to every family with students coming up that going to college should be an expectation. Campaign point - all our kids should graduate from high school ready to go to college, whether they go or not. We need this goal to compete with India and China. State needs to try to guarantee poor families that the first two years of college will be paid for.

Doran: Contrast between Pawlenty and me is a story about.........story telling, story telling......boiled down: task force on education said we were underfunding K-12 education by a billion dollars - I would have had the debate instead of putting study on the shelf. Doran just made a mistake by asking Kelley if he was on the task force, allowed Kelley to get a few words in to break up Doran's narrative. I'm not sure Doran has a lot of respect for the legislators he's opposing up there, but that's a campaign point from him, so not a huge deal.


Kelley: Students need to get active in caucuses and primaries so they can help elect a Governor won't look at Colorado's system (transferring tuition increases to the students) as a good thing.

Lourey: We've got to get back up to at least 15% of state budget spent on education - we've got to raise more revenue.

Doran: Students in room are facing what boils down to a tax increase - students need to vote.



Environment, Energy, and Transportation:

Kelley: It's possible to link these three issues. I support expanding light rail network, electricity for system should come from wind power in greater Minnesota.

Doran: Most important thing we have in life is time. I agree with Kelley on light rail, but we need more revenue for transit.

Lourey: We're in a crisis re: oil. New green deal - crash course in colleges moving toward making Minnesota the "energy basket" of the nation. We import 20 billion dollars of electricity into the state. Solar, bio-fuels, we shouldn't be importing, we should be exporting energy. This is a big economic opportunity.

Kelley: I didn't wait around until I was running for governor to push for green energy - I worked for it in the legislature as well. You have to judge how long-term a committment it is - I've been talking about this for years.

Doran: Business opportunities exist in technology and green energy.

Dammit this debate format is HARD TO KEEP UP WITH

Lourey: I'm a small business owner, 70 employees, provide health coverage for all of them - we also have community development investments. Getting wonky with the technology and enviro-talk, but it's interesting stuff. We can't wait for the feds - no leadership on energy.

Kelley: Wonky talk on using waste water from paper-making as energy source, taking electricity from hydro plants to make non-fossil fuel fertilizers. Cool science-ey stuff, but I could understand how some folks' eyes could glaze over a bit.

Doran: A bit more on transportation - I know how to build things. We talk a lot about multi-modal transport, but it's taken us 20 years to get light rail built. We need to move ahead - other communities across the country are building lots of rail lines at once - we need to prioritize it, fund it, move it forward.

Lourey: Community development around rail lines is great - rural Minnesota needs rail lines too. As Governor, I will make sure Commissioner of....environment? I lost it......will listen to scientists


What has Governor Pawlenty's biggest mistake so far?

Kelley - Pawlenty made his pledge to the Taxpayers' League to get the party endorsement, did something he really didn't believe in. Pawlenty gave up his integrity.

Lourey - Giving away his responsibility to raise the kind of revenue that's necessary to make us competitive. Says Pawlenty's action with regards to the pledge was a lie - the lie was important.

Doran - Pawlenty forgot where he came from. I was raised by a single mom, went to public schools, Governor has similar roots - but Pawlenty forgot where he came from. If you remember where you come from, you don't do all the bad things Pawlenty has done as governor.


7:32 -
What is your position on strategic positioning?

Doran - We don't have a strategic vision for this state - business-talk. Again, I don't quite understand this question. (Later Note: Doran REALLY blew it on this question, and had to recover in extra time, but he really can't be blamed for not being intimately familiar with issues facing the U. Not really a strike against Doran, but big positive for Kelley for being familiar with the issues that the U-DFL would be bringing up)

Kelley - Strategic positioning means positioning the University of Minnesota for future success - our economy has grown BECAUSE of the U of M.

Lourey - It requires several things - vision, information, leadership. Decisions we make must look forward to the seventh generation....we need to know where we want to go. Living wages, opportunity for everyone....

Lourey and Doran blew this one. The question was specifically geared toward the University of Minnesota. The moderator just gave Doran another 30 seconds to "clarify". Kelley spoke before Lourey, basically gave her the answer, and she still talked about state government and statewide vision.

7:27 -
First question: Why should students support you instead of Governor Pawlenty?

Lourey: Under Pawlenty's lack of leadership, tuition has gone up 50% (stat check?) at the U. We need a governor who will invest in education - from early-child to post-secondary - that's what made our state strong. Interrupted by moderator - they're keeping the answers short

Kelley: Tim Pawlenty is not listening to young people, or anyone else, except for Taxpayers' League types. Listening to concerns of students and educators is a key. We can't continue to be successful if students are being saddled with heavy debt. Connections to health care, transportation, environment.

Doran: I've traveled the state, met with Dems, Independents, GOPers - one clear thing comes from all - people of Minnesota are tired of partisan politics. Want a vision? Vote for me. Not sure this answered the question.


7:20 - Getting started - forgot to mention that it's a U-DFL event. Just talked to Eva Young for a few minutes. Moderator just made a mention of the upcoming "Rock the Cauc" event. Somehow I don't find that to be the *best* name for an event.....but oh well.

7:05 - Fast and furious now - Steve Kelley has brought the whole family along for this one. Kelly Doran's wife Maria is in attendance. Still no sigh of Becky Lourey, and I'm certain she'll show up eventually. Lots of college students filtering in, asking for literature from all three campaigns.

7:04 - Kelly Doran overheard speaking to a campaign staffer, and I'm paraphrasing closely to his exact words here: "it's not about how many people you get to these things...we're talking to the same people over and over again"...I'm such a gossip.

Update: Just spied Eva Young of LloydLetta - I think....yes. Might have to introduce myself. Given the ships-in-the-night we had at the Straw Poll event the other night, it would be nice to actually *meet a fellow blogger.

About five minutes to go here - looks to be a relatively sparsely attended event. College students. Plenty of campaign lit, lots of signs. Looks like the organizers have set out four tables, one for each candidate. Needless to say, I've hunkered down at Mike Hatch's table. I shouldn't have too many problems. I'll post updates as time-noted updates to this post, so keep an eye out.

Blogger a.nony.mous said:
"but big positive for Kelley for being familiar with the issues that the U-DFL would be bringing up"

you don't think that Steve Kelley's chairmanship of state Senate education committee would give him a leg up in answering a question about a reasonably obscure question really only relevant to people at the U?
Blogger MN Campaign Report said:
Sure it does! I'm not saying it wasn't relatively easier for Senator Kelley to answer that question, and I acknowledge that Doran was put in a tough position by having to go first with a question he knew nothing about - but Lourey's response was ridiculous. Kelley answered before her, and she STILL didn't answer relevantly. Doran did recover reasonably well in the extra time the moderators gave him.
Blogger Pat said:
Wow, great job liveblogging this. I believe that I am the guy who logged you in to the wireless network :)
...so big props to me, I guess. (Kidding.)

To be fair to Mr. Doran, I don't believe they phrased the Q about strategic positioning correctly. They should have specified that it was the strategic positioning at the U. But it was clear from his extra 30 second response that he still didn't know the details of the event.

I also found the format somewhat confusing.

I took a bunch of notes, and I will hopefully be posting something later today or this weekend on the debate. But since you did such a good job summarizing what was said, maybe I'll just link here and fill in with my own reactions to what went down.

(U-DFL member)
Blogger MN Campaign Report said:
Hi Pat - yeah, thanks for that login, I appreciate it a ton. The format *was* a bit confusing, I agree....but that's life in politics :)
Blogger Pat said:
Haha, yep. Thanks again for doing this. I did get a chance to do a write-up... check it out. Kinda long though.
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