Many legislators collecting paychecks during shutdown. Among them: Sen. Al DeKruif and Rep. Kelby Woodard

An article in today’s Strib lists our Northfield-area legislators, Sen. Al DeKruif and Rep. Kelby Woodard, as among the 139 who are collecting paychecks during MN gov’t shutdown.

Maybe I’m missing it but I don’t see anything about their rationale for doing so. Here are the links:

Sen. Al DeKruif:

Rep. Kelby Woodard

I’ll invite them to comment here.

59 comments to  (Including 12 Discussion Threads) Many legislators collecting paychecks during shutdown. Among them: Sen. Al DeKruif and Rep. Kelby Woodard

  • 1
    Griff Wigley says:

    Michelle,

    No matter how much you might disagree with our elected officials or other leaders, I insist that they be treated with the utmost respect on Locally Grown. I’ve removed your comment. Feel free to try again.

  • 2
    David Beimers says:

    Here is what Al DeKruif recently posted on his Facebook page:

    “Governor Dayton shut down our state government. When constituants (sic) try to contact him, this is his reply:” and then he posted the form response letting folks know that due to the shut down, he can’t get back to them.

    This is pretty ironic, since Sen DeKruif hasn’t bothered to respond to a single one of the emails that I’ve sent to him since he was elected.

    • 2.1

      David:
      Senator DeKruif seems to be EXCEPTIONALLY bad at communicating with constituents. I have contacted him (on an unrelated issue) three times — first by email, second by ordinary mail, third by certified mail — and I haven’t heard a peep from him or anyone at his office, after about 2 months since the initial contact. I know others who have written him regarding budget issues and have heard anything either. No matter how much a politician agrees or disagrees with the constituent, ignoring them is completely unacceptable.

      • 2.1.1
        Patrick Enders says:

        Sean,
        That seems unusual. I’ve written to a decent number of legislators over the years, and at the very least I think I’ve always received at least a form letter or email in response.

        Perhaps he’s been busy while the legislature has been out of session -- or perhaps the staffer responsible for constituent correspondence was put out to pasture for the shutdown?

      • 2.1.2

        No, it’s definitely not shutdown-related. My first e-mail to Sen. DeKruif was May 12, while the legislature was still in session. I also posted it here. Having received no response after about a week, I thought he perhaps misinterpreted it as a snarky joke. So I wrote in a snailmail letter:

        I realize tone can be difficult to discern in write, but let me assure you, I was quite sincere in my request of you, and I would like a response. My e-mail address is sdho@sdho.org, or you may direct postal mail to the address above.

        and included the original e-mail. I wrote another letter in mid-June, with previous correspondence again attached. No response. I agree this is very unusual behavior, but it sounds like David has had a similar experience.

      • 2.1.3
        David Beimers says:

        Patrick -- I wrote to Sen. DeKruif at least four times since he has been elected and have never received a response. I agree that it is unusual to not receive a response.

  • 3
    Raymond Daniels says:

    I just don’t see how anyone sen. or rep., from any party, should be drawing a paycheck. In the real world, I would be fired for not doing my job.

  • 4
    Kelby Woodard says:

    Griff: Thanks for the opportunity to respond. After much consideration, I have decided to accept my paycheck and am donating this money to charities to lessen the impact on Minnesota families caused by this unnecessary shutdown. While my check is considerably smaller than the Governor’s compensation, I encourage him to follow the charitable legacy of the Dayton family and do the same. Accepting or not accepting a paycheck should not be a political stunt and I believe this would be the best way to relieve at least some of the pain on Minnesotans caused by this shutdown. While this is a real hardship considering the time I continue to spend away from my family (four kids with one on the way) and my business, it is the choice I have made. I begrudge no legislator who has taken a different approach, however.

    I have repeatedly called on the Governor to call a special session and sign our lights on bill that would keep the government in operation as we continue to negotiate a final deal. At the very least, I believe he should sign the budget bills he deemed ‘popular’ so that we can use them as a foundation for moving the negotiations forward.

    Thanks again for the opportunity Griff. I find the discussions generated by Locally Grown to be quite interesting.

    Warm Regards.

    • 4.1
      Mike Bull says:

      Just to be clear, Rep. Woodard, you are committed to donating 100% of your salary to charity during the entire state government shut down?

  • 5
    Paul Zorn says:

    Griff,

    Thanks for posting convenient links to our legislators’ websites.

    I found little content on Sen DeKruif’s Senate or “campaign” sites — what I found runs heavily to short videos in which the senator recites standard talking points. If there’s more substance or nuance to be had I missed it, and Mr DeKruif has never bothered to answer my e-mails requesting information or clarification.

    Rep Woodard’s “campaign” site now has some content. All of what I found (other than information about Rep W, his family, etc.) has been posted in the last two weeks, and all of it relates to the shutdown and Gov Dayton’s supposed responsibility for it. Most of what I saw struck me as political (fair enough for a politician) but simplistic (e.g., citing what fraction of state income tax top earners pay—but now word on other taxes or on what fraction of income these folks earn). Pretty lame, IMO, but way better than anything I could find at Sen DeKruif’s site.

    Should our solons receive salary during the shutdown? I respect the choice not to, but don’t really care much either way. For one thing, legislator salaries aren’t that great; for another, it’s nice to be able to demand that legislators earn their pay.

    So, Griff, thanks for getting this started and inviting our legislators to weigh in. But I hope they’ll address the important issues, too.

  • 6
    Ben Miller says:

    I think most reasonable people would find some disconnect in having *any* of our legislators collecting their paychecks when some 22,000 state employees have been laid off. This disconnect becomes all the more acute when one considers that many of these legislators, particularly the freshman Republicans such as DeKruiff and Woodard, adopt positions that make compromise an untenable position. I suggest Erik Black’s thoughtful analysis in MinnPost:

    http://www.minnpost.com/ericblack/2011/07/07/29804/from_a_state_that_works_to_shutdown_what_changed_in_minnesota_politics

    Perhaps Mr. Woodard will remember that he secured his seat with a margin of 37 votes; I think the voters will in 2012.

  • 7
    Michelle Hawkins says:

    I sent an email to Woodard and Dekruif today, actually it was a cut and paste of my comment here, however ..Grif..

    Surprisingly I got a lightening fast answer from Mr Woodard.
    Respecting GRif as our fearless LGN leader, I have left out my part of the conversation.

    Michelle:

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond to your question. I do have great respect for my elders including my own dear mother who was threatened with being slapped by an anonymous person in a recent editorial. I have decided to accept my paycheck and am donating this money to charities to lessen the impact on Minnesota’s families caused by this unnecessary shutdown. As far as per diem, I announced a few weeks ago that I would not take per diem after the regular session. While this is a real hardship considering the time I continue to spend away from my family and my business, it is the choice I have made.

    I will also continue to urge the Governor to sign our ‘lights on’ budget that will continue to provide the funding necessary to keep the government open and you in your job. He is the only one with the power to call a special session and end the shutdown. The only reason for the Governor not to do so is purely political.

    As far as services for you, there are many organizations in Northfield that can help you in the interim. If you are hungry and in need of shelter I can put you in touch with these groups to help you.

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me as always.

    Best Regards,

    Rep. Kelby Woodard
    District 25B
    651.296.7065
    539 State Office Building
    100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
    Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
    ********

    I thought it was sweet of him to offer to put me in touch with “agencies” for food and shelter. I didn’t tell him I had already been using those agencies before the shutdown and there is a limit to how many times a year one can ask for help.
    I don’t care WHO caused this shutdown, or who is using prolonging tactics, the time for partisanship is over, it’s time to get back to work on solving this mess, bargaining, negotiating, compromising.

    I just want to work for my living. I’ve been homeless before, I worked my out of it. I’ve been in a wheelchair for 3 years, I worked my way out of that too. I’ve been in the ghetto, on subsidized rent, I worked harder than my own physical condition was supposed to let me do, and I got out.
    I’m tired.
    I’d rather die than go back to any of it.

    PLEASE Mr Woodard, Mr Dekruif, I want to pay my own way.

  • 8
    Senator Al DeKruif says:

    The question has been asked why I am willing to take my pay during a government shutdown when around 22,000 workers are laid off. I’ve been looking forward to answering this question.
    First of all the Republican majorities in the house and the senate did our jobs. We passed a balanced budget, lived within our means with a generous 6% increase in spending. At a time when MN and the nation are trying to grow our way out of a recession this is all our state can afford and a tax increase would slow our growth and MN’s opportunity to position ourselves to compete in the national and international economy. The Republicans in the House and Senate are still working to find a solution while many state workers will be laid off (not by their choice but still most will be drawing unemployment).
    My belief is that the state shutdown should never have happened and would not have been unnecessary had the Governor came to the table to negotiate with the Majority Party before the shutdown. After the shutdown it became very clear to me that this shutdown was planned by Governor Dayton and the DFL leadership in the House and Senate for months.
    Look at who lost the most power; I would say the former Majority Leader in the State Senate, Larry Pogemiller who lost the majority in the senate during his watch. The DFL held the majority in the State Senate for 38 years and losing it was a major blow to the DFL and Senator Pogemiller. There are direct ties between Governor Dayton and the Senator through Michele Kelm-Helgen who is the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff and is very involved in day to day negotiations on the budget. Michele was the former Majority Leader Pogemiller’s Chief of Staff. I come to the conclusion that Senator Pogemiller has more to gain and more to do with the state government being shut down than I do so; I have stated publicly that during the state shutdown, and even though I am still working, I will refuse to take per diem and will base whether or not I receive my salary during this time on whether Senator Larry Pogemiller takes his. I have sent this reply to the Secretary of the Senate so my position will go into effect automatically if Pogemiller chooses to not take his pay.
    One last point I’d like to make is, the Senate Republican Majority Leaders where close to a deal with the Governor at one point. When the Governor stepped out of the room and met with DFL minority leaders Senator Bakk and Rep. Thissen and came back into the room a few minutes later, he pulled that proposal from the table. This proposal included trying to make a deal that didn’t include tax increases.
    It will be up to the DFL leaders in the House and Senate and the Governor to decide when they have inflicted enough pain on the people of Minnesota before they end this shutdown. Their plan is to Inflict Maximum Pain for their Political Gain, and blame this shutdown on the Republicans, in order to win back the majority in the Legislature in 2012. I would ask, Governor Call us Back and end this madness!

    • 8.1
      David Beimers says:

      I’m sorry, but these words ring hollow with me. Saying that you will only give up your pay only after a specific member of the minority party is unfortunately the type of leadership that the GOP has consistently shown this session; demanding that the other side capitulate. You are our elected official, not Larry Pogemiller.

      Your words are especially ironic when you complain about the role of Michele Kelm-Helgen. Given that the spokesperson for the Minnesota Senate Majority Caucus (Michael Brodkorb) also happens to be the Deputy Chair of Republican Party of Minnesota, this is certainly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

      And yes, most state employees will receive unemployment. However, eligibility for unemployment kicks in after two weeks and then is capped at a much lower percentage than their regular income. And that is really beside the point. The point is that state workers have work to do, work they take pride in, and work that is valued by the vast majority of the state. It’s time to set the ideology aside and compromise so people can get back to work.

      • 8.1.1
        Kathie Galotti says:

        Thank you, David B. Very articulate and I agree 100%

      • 8.1.2
        Mike Bull says:

        Senator, I’m afraid I agree with David — saying you’ll do the right thing only if some other Senator decides to do the right thing seems to me to excuse-making, not leadership.

  • 9
    Sharon Kaiser Miller says:

    Excellent analysis by Erik Black. Thanks for sharing this, Ben. I do not believe that government is a bad thing as many conservative Republicans would have you believe. I have traveled places in the world without functioning governments and am happy to live in a place where we have good roads, schools, health care, fair judicial systems, etc.

    I do believe there is waste in government that should be trimmed away. Absolutely. One of these would be paying legislators when other state workers are going without. There is no argument (donating to charity) that would make me change my mind. I’m sure the MNDOT employees who are standing idle would be happy to be in the position to donate to the food shelf, not use it.

  • 10
    Kathie Galotti says:

    Yeah, the “I’m donating my salary to charity” response doesn’t make it for me. Nor does all the finger pointing. Gov. Dayton has publicly and repeatedly attempted to compromise. It’s time that the tea party frosh in the legislature come to realize that “compromise” is not a dirty word.

    • 10.1
      Patrick Enders says:

      Kathie,
      I’m pretty sure that the ‘tea party frosh’ and Republicans will be holding out for a fair bit longer. Just remember that the party has two core principles:

      1) Taxes on the wealthy must only go down.
      2) There can be no compromise on principle #1.

  • 11
    Ben Miller says:

    I’d like to thank both Senator DeKruif and Representative Woodard for responding in this forum. While I disagree with their policy positions, I think the exchange between our elected officials and the electorate on sites such as this are the life-blood our democracy and demonstrates that politics in Minnesota, while divided, is still transparent and vibrant.

    I think that the Governor has demonstrated leadership by offering repeated compromises throughout the budget negotiations. I would ask my elected officials to reexamine their “no-new-taxes” positions since Ernst and Young accurately reports that Minnesota is in the top 10 states ranked for the “competitiveness” of their business tax climates:

    Minnesota has been a great place to live and raise a family because of strong and vibrant business community as well as a strong and vibrant government that supports education, infrastructure, and public health protection. You can’t have one without the other and this has been a tradition in Minnesota since the early part of the last century. Let’s keep it that way.

    A resolution to this shutdown will require significant compromise from both sides. I think the Governor and the minority have demonstrated that they’re willing to compromise while trying to address the structural issues with the budget that have become a perennial issue.

    My vote in 2012 will go to the candidate that voted to (or would have) balance the budget with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

  • 12
    Ben Miller says:

    I apologize -- the link I referenced above is available here as a pdf.

  • 13
    Phil Poyner says:

    I also found this article in the strib interesting. http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/125274539.html Governor Dayton’s comment (Republican leaders, he said, appear open to compromise in private, but worry about getting hammered by non-elected party officials and the GOP freshmen who will not budge.) seems very similar to the situation that Sen DeKruif described above. It’s getting real old trying to figure whether both sides are suffering from the same problem, or whether one or both is just lying to me. Regardless, if both sides aren’t at least meeting every day, they’re doing it wrong.

  • 14
    john george says:

    I think we need to recognize that the tug of war is between two different economic philosophies- socialism and capitalism. The underlying human nature that both these philosophies are built upon is greed. Socialism’s greed is in envy of what other people have that you do not. Capitalism’s greed is keeping everything for yourself. I think also that we need to recognize that neither philosophy does anything in changing this basic instinct. I have two quotes here that I think illustrate this.

    Winston Churchill- “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ingorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherant virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

    Margaret Thacher- “The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”

    Capitalism goes awry in that it does not provide any altruist motivation to distribute wealth. There is a famous Christian philosopher, now deceased, who once said, “The greatest problem facing mankind is the compassionate distribution of accumulated wealth.” Unless there is some change in peoples’ hearts, this will not occur. The socialists’ answer is to legislate coerced distribution. The capitalists’ solution is let people earn their own keep. There is a better way, but most people are not open to this type of life change. It is a two edged sword. To the socialist, it says in II Thes. 3:10-12. For the capitalist, Matt. 19:21 applies.

  • 15
    Patrick Enders says:

    John,
    I think we need to recognize that Democrats are not Socialists.

    • 15.1
      john george says:

      Patrick- I think you and I may differ in our opinion of that. Socialism inherently calls for a strong central government, with the government taking on a greater responsibility for the health and physical welfare of the population and the redistribution of wealth than the private sector. This has been the economic leaning of the Democratic party for some time. No, Democrats are not pure socialists, just as the Republicans are not pure capitalists. What we have in America is a mixture of economic philosophies, just as there is a great ethnic mixture. This has worked for some time, but I believe it is the polarization of extremism in both camps that has produced a log-jam.

      • 15.1.1
        Mike Bull says:

        John, while I don’t think I’d agree with your labels, necessarily, I absolutely agree with this sentence in your last post: “I believe it is the polarization of extremism in both camps that has produced a log-jam.”

  • 16
    Patrick Enders says:

    John,
    By your selective description of Socialists, Republicans could just as accurately be called Anarchists. Or maybe “not quite pure” Anarchists.

    After all, “Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful” and “Anarchists seek to diminish or even abolish authority in the conduct of human relations”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchists

    But finding parallels between one political organization and another does not make them synonymous.

  • 17
    Ray Cox says:

    I think the salary issue is a rather silly thing to talk about. Our legislators were elected to do a job, and the state determined that they would pay about $32,000 per year for the job. They also decided they would pay it in 12 installments. Just because the legislators are not in St. Paul does not mean they should not be paid. While I wish the budget was resolved, I do not belittle them for accepting a paycheck. They are still on duty working as our legislators. I think with our particular legislators you can also make a strong argument that they did in fact do their job in preparing a balanced state budget. It so happens that Gov Dayton didn’t like their budget. That seems to me to be a problem that Dayton has, not our legislators.

    I was serving in the legislature in 2005 when we had our last state government shutdown—although it was only a partial shutdown. I do not recall any talk about legislators paychecks at that time. I do remember that I did not draw any per diem pay, but that simply was an individual legislators decision. There was one major difference between the 2005 shutdown and the current shutdown. In 2005 the legislature had not given the Governor a balanced budget. This year the legislature did. So the difference in 2005 was really centering on the House and Senate and their failure to craft a balanced budget for the Gov to sign or not sign.

    • 17.1
      Phil Poyner says:

      Compensation of elected officials…I think that would be an interesting topic, one that would go across party lines for a change.

  • 18
    john george says:

    Mike & Patrick- I think this is an example of how limited any term is to discribe any political position or philosophy. They can also be devisive rather than unifying.

    Patrick- Anarchists? I think libertarian might be a better term. An anarchist refuses to conform to any authority, no matter what side of the “aisle” they happen to be on. I first consider you a fellow Northfielder, Minnesotan and valued acquaintence before I consider you any particular political stripe. Too bad partisan politics has tunnel vision to see only its own side.

    • 18.1
      Patrick Enders says:

      John,
      I didn’t say that Republicans are anarchists.

      I said, in SAT terms, that Republicans are to Anarchists as Democrats are to Socialists.

      Given that I also said, “Democrats are not Socialists,” you can draw your own conclusions as to how I feel about the relationship between Republicans and Anarchists.

      • 18.1.1
        john george says:

        Patrick- Sorry that I misunderstood your point. I think I see it here in this sentence, “…But finding parallels between one political organization and another does not make them synonymous…” To that I agree.

    • 18.2
      Paul Zorn says:

      John G,

      Agreed, simple labels (socialist, capitalist … those you proposed in #14) seldom describe complicated situations well.

      So much said, IMO our current political dustups (here and nationally) do indeed reflect differing philosophies (if that’s the word) of government, even if they can’t be neatly summarized as -ism’s. The “right” wants less government involvement in traditional areas and more in social policy; lower taxes, they hope, will promote the first goal. The “left” sees a larger role for government in promoting public goods (including the economy) and ameliorating social problems.

      This argument is ineradicable and perennial, like buckthorn. What I find striking now is how differently Republicans and Democrats now hold their views. (Yes, there are exceptions on both sides.)

      Democrats are famously unable to agree on anything, and they’re living up (down?) to that stereotype. Republicans, by contrast, seem fully in thrall to their most zealous, rigid, dogmatic, and “faith-based” faction. (I use “faith-based” less in any religious sense — though that sometimes arises in troubling ways — than to suggest adherence to basic articles of political faith rather than openness to scientific or data-based refutation. Climate science comes to mind.

      For Democrats and Republicans to get along better requires, IMO, less that either side abandon basic philosophies than that both sides hold their views more flexibly.

      • 18.2.1
        john george says:

        Paul Z.- I think you have struck upon an important concept- flexibility. I’m not sure what is driving the inflexibility in our government, but I think it is there, and at all levels. We are experiencing it on the city level, the state level and national level. As I stated before, our differences in political approaches have not been an impass in the past. There is something missing, now, and perhaps it is societal rather than political. It seems that in the past (and perhaps I am being too simplistic and nostalgic) their has been a common understanding of what the “common good” actually is. It seems that this standard(?) has slipped by the wayside somewhere. This topic is one which could generate much discussion in and of itself.

      • 18.2.2
        Patrick Enders says:

        If you have by any chance been following the negotiations currently going on over the raising of the debt ceiling, you might see that Democrats, as represented by our President, have been exceptionally flexible in their negotiations -- even offering extremely painful and lasting cuts in social services, all in the name of trying to reach a grand bargain on reducing the debt.

      • 18.2.3
        john george says:

        Patrick- I think my comment about some of our governmental problems bein societal is proven out by what we see going on in Washington, St. Paul, and City Hall. There is division and polarization going to a level that we have not seen in the past. Perhaps all out efforts to recognize and make a place for all the ethnic minorities is spilling over into all our thinking. Insted of all of us considering ourselves American first, of Swedish descent secondly, I hear so much more about how each ethnic group is demanding to establish their home country in our society. Having your own celebrations around ancestral traditions is not the problem. The same goes for political convictions. Being a “Birther” or “Tea partier” is more important than being an American. The attitude that you have to believe and act just like “me” or you are not American is bringing division rather than unity.

      • 18.2.4
        Patrick Enders says:

        John,

        I’m not sure what, specifically, you are referring to on the local level. We do seem to have some vehement disagreements between our various political and elected leaders, but most of those disagreements (EDA squabbles, plans for a possible business park, etc.) don’t seem to break down cleanly as disagreements between distinct political/social groups. Rather, there seem to be plenty of liberals on several different sides of those issues. As far as I can tell, conservatives don’t seem to clearly fall on one side or another on those issues, either.

        On the national level, I’m not sure what you mean when you talk about “all out efforts to recognize and make a place for all the ethnic minorities.” Also, I really don’t hear much at all about “how each ethnic group is demanding to establish their home country in our society.” As a result, I’m not sure that I can follow the rest of what you are trying to say there.

        Looking at national politics, I really don’t think that both sides (Democratic and Republican) are intractible in their positions. If you look at the compromises that President Obama is willing to offer to Republicans for the sake of reducing the national debt, you will see that he was willing to offer what I (as a liberal) would consider to be shocking concessions on a number of issues, in order to achieve a bipartisan agreement.

        Conservative columnist David Brooks rightly called Obama’s offer an “amazing moment” and “the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred billion dollars of revenue increases.” He also called it “The Mother of All No-Brainers.” He was not exaggerating.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/opinion/05brooks.html

        On the other hand, Republicans are not willing to take even such an amazingly lopsided deal, even though it is tilted very heavily in favor of Republican priorities.

        There is, indeed, a complete lack of compromise happening on the national level. However, this is not due to bilateral intransigence. It is due to unilateral intransigence.

      • 18.2.5
        john george says:

        Patrick- Your comment about the local level of disagreements is accurate. Being a city with a diverse collection of Liberals, it is no surprise that there can be descent within the ranks. I think that is a microcosm of what is happening on the state and national level. The Republican party has been overtaken by some stong anti-government minorities. I have felt that the Democratic party has been overtaken by some stong social minorities. It seems both parties have drifted away from what the were a couple generations ago. Part of this is just the changing dynamics of successive generations coming along. IMO, a lot of the intransigence does not necessarily fall along party lines. It falls more along strong apolitical idology lines. By apolitcal, I am meaning subjects that don’t directly have anything to do with governing, such as gay marriage, abortion, buying out multimillionaires, etc.

      • 18.2.6
        Paul Zorn says:

        John G,

        We agree on something! You refer to

        … subjects that don’t directly have anything to do with governing, such as gay marriage, abortion …

        Yes, let’s keep the government out of these things; people can make their own decisions.

      • 18.2.7
        john george says:

        Paul Z.- I guess wonders never cease, do they?

  • 19

    During a shutdown the lawmakers need not take a salary (Are they working earning our trust ? ) Shame on the one’s taking pay : That is really bad when they cannot Comprimise

  • 20
    kiffi summa says:

    A small digression: In reply to 18.2 and 18.3, I would offer the perspective of a designated LWV City Council observer … which is that of a lot of years ‘on the job’ but a totally PERSONAL perspective… one that I would not express within the reports I write for the League of Women Voters.

    Although there are not partisan differentiations declared in our local politicians, there is a lot of highly differentiated philosophical perspective. These express themselves along the lines of who supports the “common good” expressed through government, and who is of a more libertarian bent.

    There are councilors who do not always like the choices they must make to act within the existing law, and others who question, what can be done to go beyond the existing law to deny some action.

    There are those who consider what is best for all segments of the community… as nearly impossible as that may be… and those who always bring up the fiscal needs of the business community.

    There are those who want as much public input as possible, while feeling it is ultimately their responsibility to be decision makers, and those who always ask what other cities are doing and cannot act without more and more information.

    There are those who act primarily on principle, and those that act on costs.

    There are those that act in favor of the public perspective, and those who will always defer to the city’s staff, or sometimes any hierarchal position.

    Whether or not you might agree with anything I have said here, you should be glad that we do not have the further defining of roles by attaching partisan political party labels to those who have enough differences already to categorize them except as those you might like to support, and those you probably would not.

  • 21
    Griff Wigley says:

    Nfld News editorial: Time to focus on what’s important

    No matter what side of the debate our representatives fall on, what seems to be lost is that the shutdown still exists with no end in sight.

    The bottom line is that it’s more important for lawmakers to end a shutdown that is costing the state millions of dollars and affecting thousands of peoples’ lives than to debate whether their pay should continue.

    • 21.1
      Griff Wigley says:

      Can anyone decipher that last paragraph of the editorial?

      • 21.1.1
        Kathie Galotti says:

        Are they trying to say, “Who cares whether or not lawmakers are taking a pay check--the important issue is getting this shutdown over with?”

        If so, I partially agree. The not taking pay is a largely symbolic gesture--at least for Dayton--who’s got a lot of wealth to tide him over. Still, I thought it was a nice gesture, and I thought the same of Amy Koch. It indicates at least some recognition that their own actions and inactions have real effects on others and some willingness to shoulder some of the pain. On the other hand, I’m more interested in who gets a deal done than I am in who takes a check, who donates their check to a charity, who waits for someone else not to take a check….etc.

  • 22
    Margit Johnson says:

    Questions about the shutdown and Mr. Woodard’s contributions to charity can be directly asked of him on Thursday, July 14 from 6-8 PM in the meeting room at the Northfield Public Library at Third and Washington.

    He’s holding a town meeting, which has not been widely publicized.

    I just learned this evening that the meeting room was reserved on Tuesday for Thursday’s town meeting.

    • 22.1
      Griff Wigley says:

      Margit, I just got a phone call from Rep. Woodard who said he’s knows nothing about this meeting. It wasn’t anyone in his office that scheduled it so he’s mystified about how it happened. But regardless, there is NO meeting tonight.

      • 22.1.1
        Kelby Woodard says:

        Griff:

        I just heard from the organizer of tonight’s event that they are still having the meeting and that I was listed as invited. They know I am not available to attend. My apologies again for any confusion…just want to make sure people are not expecting me there this evening.

      • 22.1.2
        Griff Wigley says:

        Kelby, ahhhh, I see the event listing on Nfld Patch:
        http://northfield.patch.com/events/community-meeting-19

        The Minnesota AFL-CIO is holding a community meeting from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 14, at the Northfield Public Library to discuss the Minnesota government shutdown.

  • 23
    kiffi summa says:

    here’s an interesting little fact: on July 8, the Judge who decides what will be paid during the shutdown “granted a petition from the MN State Retirement System re: continuous payments for elective state officers.”

    Not sure if that means retired elective state officers or refers to the current elected officials..

    • 23.1
      David Beimers says:

      MSRS administers retirement benefits for retired state employees. They contract with ING to manage the vast majority of retirement benefits. Former constitutional officers (governor, attorney general, secretary of state, etc) also receive retirement benefits. However, those are managed directly by MSRS staff. I believe this is because it is a legislative appropriation as opposed to a pension, but I can’t recall specifically. Anyway, this gives MSRS permission to continue to pay Arne Carlson and others their retirement benefits.

  • 24
    David Ludescher says:

    The paychecks are a non-issue considering that DeKruif and Woodward couldn’t work at the Legislature even if they wanted to.

    This is the second time in less than a month that Woodward has been in Northfield; I think he deserves to be paid, especially if you consider the fact that he would have been working less if the governor had signed the budget bill.

  • 25
    David Henson says:

    Because we are a democracy, elected officials are a different class than government employees. They should accept checks so there is no confusion (although I would like to see a return to voluntary elected officials). The thing is if voters want to elect representatives and ask them to cut government in half then they can do this … but the creation of a huge bureaucracy makes democratic change difficult. This is why I think communism and socialism are antithetical to democracy and freedom.

    I find it ironic the media focuses on the impact on our lives in the arenas of gambling, alcohol and cigarette availability … if the shut down shuts down these activities then we may see a net benefit.

    • 25.1
      Phil Poyner says:

      I don’t really understand what you’re getting at in your first couple of sentences. Perhaps you could rephrase?

  • 26
    Kelby Woodard says:

    Margit:

    I just read your post regarding my attendance at a town hall this evening in Northfield. Unfortunately I will not be at this event and did not schedule the meeting. I was informed of a town hall that a group had invited me to for Tuesday of this week that I had to decline due to a scheduling conflict. I am not sure if this is a related event. Rest assured I will make sure Griff is aware of any scheduled meetings coordinated by my office and apologize for any confusion there may be with regards to tonight’s meeting.

    Thanks and Best Regards.

  • 27
    Ray Cox says:

    As I said in an ealier post, legislative pay really doesn’t have anything to do with the shutdown. Legislators are elected for a two year term (or 4 year for the Senate) and the state has decided to pay them in increments. They could decide to pay them in one lump sum at the beginning, in 4 equal portions, or any other configuration. Regardless of what many people are saying, legislators are in fact still working, are still helping constituents, and addressing many other issues. If you want to get into this kind of thought….you’ll just end up having the wealthy run for office.

    The so called town meeting at the library was pulled together on very short notice without any input from our local legislators. It sounds like they were informed it was taking place and they should come. Post cards to union building contractors and union members were received in the mail today. If Rep. Woodard and Sen.DeKruif were in fact actually hosting a town meeting it would have been advertised well and people given advance notice.

    • 27.1
      Phil Poyner says:

      Ray, regarding your first paragraph, I agree. I have particular concerns that we’ll end up with only the wealthy running for office, even at the state and local levels. When people get mad at our political system and start suggesting “the so-and-sos not get paid”, it seems that folks aren’t considering the logical repercussions of that action.

  • 28

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