Some 80 odd citizens of Southwest Minnesota gathered tonight from across nine counties all or part of Minnesota’s Senate District 22 for the local GOP legislative endorsing convention at the Fulda American Legion Hall. This is grassroots politics nitty-gritty. The flash of the Presidential beauty race at the February Caucus is long gone. Even the hope of the March BPOU Convention for a productive legislative session has melted with the winter’s snow. Now crops are going into the field and the boys in St. Paul are starting to smell like fertilizer…
Although our incumbent State House Reps were still at work in St. Paul (or perhaps because they were absent) they both received unanimous nominations for re-election. Rep. Joe Schomacker of Luverne and Rep. Rod Hamilton of Mt. Lake sent video greetings piped over a laptop hooked into the PA. Senator Doug Magnus of Slayton is retiring this year, prompting Bill Weber, former mayor of Luverne, to put his hat in the State Senate ring. Bill is so-far unopposed.
Several luminaries graced the convention. Two candidates for US Senate, both veterans, took to the stage: Pete Hegseth (two pictures above) and Doc Severson (picture right above). Both are fired up to take on DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar this fall. I was really impressed with Hegseth’s youthful energy and passion, while Severson dedicated himself as a conservative leader in the MN House.
The judges who redistricted Minnesota split SD22 between the First and Seventh Congressional Districts. Allen Quist (above) is in a contested contest with Sen. Mike Parry for the RPM CD1 nomination to take on DFL Rep. Tim Walz. Parry had come out to Slayton’s Pizza Ranch the weekend before the new maps were released. I guess between the two, I’m OK with being shuffled up to the 7th.
I was going to take video of Lee Byberg, endorsed GOP candidate for CD7 to run against DFL Rep. Collin Peterson (who also visited the Slayton Pizza Ranch, just after the new maps came out). Byberg was born in the USA to Norwegian ministers, but grew up back in the Old Country. Listening to Lee is a trip back to the original Minnesota accent, ya you betcha. I didn’t get the video, tho, because, I kept dropping my camera phone to clap. Good guy with a good message.
Overall it was a good night. Political conventions are always a bit frustrating, with the usual arcane rituals of Robert’s Rules of Order and social niceties. But I’ve always like our Senate District. It’s bigger than our county BPOU, but small enough to be able to hear people speak from their hearts. The picture at the top shows the stage with the previous chair, Rich Koch of Jackson, who was redistricted out of SD22, with the former and new chair, Lynn Chambers of Worthington. I’m sitting out the Congressional District and State party conventions this cycle—somebody else’s turn to debate those platforms—so this was my big party event for the silly season. The world is run by those who show up, and I think we have a good crew showing up for the election of 2012.