Saturday, April 29, 2006


Some Points and a Story

Because they continually get buried by other issues, here are the links to my interviews with CD5 candidates - If other candidates or staffers are reading, the invitation is still open and waiting for you. Plus I like getting to talk one-on-one with the candidates. Makes me feel special.

Keith Ellison
Gail Dorfman

Hopefully there will be many more to come. But onward and upwards with this weekend's missive. It's not reporting per se, rather it's a story. It's my story. Since being publicly identified by Jay Ziegler, I figured that my readers and the blogosphere as a whole deserve to know where I come from and how I got involved in Minnesota politics.

My name is Joe Bodell. I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in North Reading, Massachusetts, about twenty minutes north of Boston. After graduating from NRHS, I went to Tufts University, a bit closer to Boston, and majored in Computer Science and Political Science. My fiancee still maintains that neither area of study makes me a scientist.

You see, it's my fiancee that brought me to Minnesota. We met at Tufts in 2003. I graduated in 2004, already employed by the Kerry Campaign in the Boston field office. It was our job to make sure New Hampshire went blue - we went from a 2000 deficit of 7,000 votes to a 2004 win by more than 10,000. In the aftermath, we told ourselves that if we had won Ohio and not New Hampshire, we still would have lost. What we did had meaning.

My fiancee was slated to graduate in the spring of 2005, and wanted to move home to the Twin Cities to be near her immediate family. I decided that us being together was the most important thing in my life, so I decided to move here with her. Around Christmas 2004, we came to visit, to scope out the city so I had some familiarity with it before we moved. While here that frigid week, I was lucky enough to meet a State Senator by the name of Steve Kelley. We chatted over a tasty lunch about Minnesota politics, and he told me something that sticks with me to this day - "Minnesotans care about a lot of things, but there are a few that a big majority agree on - transportation, and education. If a candidate can focus on those things, they can really bring the entire state together." In the following months, I devoted my free time to studying the current state of political affairs here, the political history, the caucus process, and anything else I could learn about what would soon be my new home.

We moved in May of 2005, deciding to spend a few months living with my fiancee's parents in St. Louis Park while we found jobs and saved a bit of money. Steve Kelley announced his candidacy for Governor four days after we arrived. I made a couple calls, sent a couple emails, and that, as they say, was that.

Unfortunately, a political something of an oxymoron, actually. Political pay tends not to be very good, especially for the hours political staffers keep. In order to afford getting our own place, I regretfully had to interview for and find another job in technology (to put that CS major to work!). I started in October of 2005, and am still in that job now.

Politics is my passion. It's my hobby. It's pretty much the only thing I'm interested in other than my fiancee, cooking, and my cat. And baseball. Since I started MNCR in August, I have tried, albeit sometimes unsuccessfully, to regard political goings-on with a critical eye, separate from my past work and continuing support of Senator Kelley. I believe I have something to offer the grassroots, the netroots, the establishment, everyone, by my education, my passion for writing and speaking about politics, and I will continue to offer my opinions and reasons why I have them. I will be at the State Convention in June working for my horse, and others will be there working for theirs, and if the Gubernatorial endorsement is nothing more than a referendum on whether Steve Kelley deserves to be on the ballot in September, so be it. I believe he's done the work necessary to claim a right to be there, raised the money to make it possible, and will make a great Governor of Minnesota.

But that part of the story is yet to be written. Don't you worry - you'll be able to read all about it right here at Minnesota Campaign Report.

Blogger johnnie78 said:
You're doing a great job. Keep 'em coming. Hope to meet you in Rochester.
Blogger Jay said:
ummm your college is pretty exclusive and North Reading is as middle class as the Minnetonka-Wayzata area. Except its more white.
Blogger MN Campaign Report said:
Don't you dare tell me about the town I grew up in or the school I went to. Don't you dare, Jay. It's none of your business and you don't know a goddamned thing about me or where I'm from.
Blogger Jay said:
I know how to read demographics, you could say I use to get paid to do it. My analysis on North Reading is right on. You could try to tell me where I'm wrong before you lose your voice.
Blogger MN Campaign Report said:
Your analysis means exactly dick. You don't know the first thing about it other than what you can find in public records.

Any comment you make in the future on this blog about anything but Minnesota campaigns will get deleted. I don't have time for this.
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