Senate District 25 race: the candidates, the issues, the campaigns

Norgaard, Cox, Dahle

A week from today, Jan. 3, citizens  head to the polls to elect one of the above candidates to the Minnesota District 25 Senate seat: L to R: Vance Norgaard, Ray Cox, Kevin Dahle.

Use the comment thread attached to this blog post to weigh in on the candidates as individuals, where they stand on the issues, and how they’re conducting their campaigns.

In Wednesday’s Northfield News, Dahle and Cox each have guest columns.

The paper’s letter-to-the-editor section (Wed., last weekend) has many letters on the race.


  1. Ross Currier said:

    What about Vance Norgaard?

    December 27, 2007
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Julie evidently hasn’t confirmed Vance yet, Ross. He wasn’t at this morning’s long-term care forum and he didn’t have a guest column in this week’s paper so I’m not sure what’s happening with his campaign.

    December 27, 2007
  3. Julie Bixby said:

    Griff & Ross,
    I did email Vance and invite him but have not received a response yet.

    December 27, 2007
  4. Ken Avidor said:

    How does Ray Cox get away with saying he is a fiscal conservative when promotes that ridiculous boondoggle “Personal Rapid Transit” (PRT)?

    December 28, 2007
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    Ken, I remember Ray voicing some support for the idea of PRT after Vance Norgaard mentioned support for it in the debate. But has he promoted it in any substantive way lately? He last blogged about PRT in March, 2004.

    December 28, 2007
  6. Ken Avidor said:

    I checked with Ray Cox and he replied November 13th.


    I have continued to like the concept of PRT for a number of reasons. I think the ability for the car modules to go off line to the stops, keeping the line service flowing, is a great feature. I also like the concept of elevating it so ground space is only taken up by the support standards. Let me know if you have specific questions.

    -Ray Cox

    December 28, 2007
  7. Ken Avidor said:

    Too bad the election is the 3rd of January.

    Ray Cox needs to explain why he is in favor of the taxpayers funding PRT, an infeasible boondoggle that is opposed by Transit for Livable Communities and the Sierra Club North Star:

    Sierra Club North Star resolution against public funding of PRT:

    Transit for Livable Communities resolution against public funding of PRT:

    December 29, 2007
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    On the front page of today’s Strib Metro section: Voters’ choice: Highways vs. taxes

    With a victory in this week’s special election, on the southern fringe of the metro area, for a seat in the Minnesota Senate, the DFL would have a “supermajority” in the Legislature, meaning it could overturn Pawlenty’s vetoes.

    December 30, 2007
  9. Holly Cairns said:

    Ouch. The Star and Trib endorsed Ray Cox on the 28th. I guess I’ll switch my blogroll to another news source.

    Further, the Strib endorsement was incorrect about some of the issues. Cox was not a founder of the CRWP but was a financial supporter, for example.

    recently changed his website. He talks about the greatest fear– and also he goes more into the issues.

    December 30, 2007
  10. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Endorsements do not tell the true story.

    Cox, a champion of the environment? Not really. His voting record and communication skills may be better than most Republicans, but frankly, that is not saying much.

    Under a Republican majority, the House Environment and Natural Resouces Committee (with Ray as co-chair), was more of an “anti-environment” committee than anything else. From my observations, the party leadership released him to vote with DFLers in that committee at times, depending on the numbers. After a particularly disappointing vote, I asked Cox why he voted the way he did. He said if he hadn’t done it, it would have been somebody else. He told me I knew how the game was played.

    That is not the kind of representation I want at the Legislature.

    December 31, 2007
  11. Ken Avidor said:

    Listen to how Ray Cox talks to the right-wing bloggers on the “Northern Alliance Radio Network” here (12/15/07 podcast):

    It’s interesting when he talks about spending taxpayers’ money “wisely” on transportation that he doesn’t mention his support for Rep. Mark Olson’s PRT boondoggle.

    Will Ray Cox explain his support for the PRT boondoggle in the Northfield News, on this blog and his own blog before the election?

    December 31, 2007
  12. Holly Cairns said:

    Hmm, I need to look up that boondoggle. I’d like us to have smart, public transportation options.

    I think there is a growing need for the reliability public transportation offers.

    Interesting points, Stephanie. Here here!

    December 31, 2007
  13. Holly Cairns said:

    Okay, Ken, I followed your links. While I didn’t care for the “PRT is a joke” link, the rest did a nice job showing me what PRT is.

    PRT does sound like a gigantic waste of money. I hope no elected official runs with the idea.

    December 31, 2007
  14. John Thomas said:

    It is fairly obvious, to even a commoner like me, that PRT makes no sense.

    We need a system to move large amounts of people, longer distances, and get them off the highways.

    The first thing we need to do is to develop a plan, and work towards it. This can start with more actively funding pooling and ride sharing, as well as longer distance transit lines from the farther out burbs to Minneapolis and St. Paul.

    Ideally, my long range plan would be to have rail from St. Cloud, through the cities, to Rochester, and another from Duluth to Albert Lea.

    There should also be a east-west rail from the Valley-Fair/Casino area to either Hudson, or Red Wing. (Red Wing could be a branch into the Rochester line).

    Also, as a newcomer to Northfield (2001), I would like someone to explain to me the history behind the Dan Patch line, and why this is supposedly no longer an option. It is my perception that the railbed is still there, and would only need to be refurbished to carry passenger traffic.

    Significant right of way is already available for a east west corridor as well.

    We REALLY need to get off of our dependency for more and more highway lanes. By the time we get these lanes built, there will not be enough oil, and no one will be able to commute to the cities due to the high costs involved.

    I am already doing all I can by vanpooling with 9 other people, but, I still want more. We need to look at telecommuting centers, where folks can go, and have a cube and bandwidth… but not have to travel to the cities to be in the office. Voice over IP, and other technologies will help to make this possible.

    We need to be looking at viable, proven alternatives, not more of the same, and not more lanes. We need to look at being more efficient. PRT’s from Northfield to the cities are just not going to happen. It just does not seem to be economically viable.

    So, my question to the candidates is… what do you feel that you can do to improve transit for residents of District 25, in your FIRST term in office, if you are elected?

    Ethanol, Big Oil, and more lanes are not answers I am looking for.

    Thanks for your time.

    -John Thomas

    December 31, 2007
  15. Holly Cairns said:

    Ack! According to his blog, Brodkorb is in Northfield campaigning for Ray Cox! Do any of you read Minnesota Democrats Exposed? Why would Brodkorb campaign for Ray? I find Brodkorb insulting and tabloidian.

    January 2, 2008
  16. Paul Fried said:

    Brodkorb is the son of a close personal friend of my uncle. And yes, “insulting and tabloidian” are a few good adjectives for the blog for starters.

    Maybe they were trying to energize the base? And alienate those across the aisle? In Northfield? They should have tried to get BrodKorb and Ray on KYMN or something….

    That blog title is especially clever: DemocratSEXposed. It’s very Limbaugh/Coulter/Hannity, in-your-face, but also clever and concise. The bleeding-heart liberals have never quite been able to muster up the same sort of un-civility on a consistent basis.

    Whatever wins elections, huh?

    January 3, 2008
  17. Ken Avidor said:

    “Whatever wins elections, huh?”

    It didn’t… not this election.

    Congrats to Kevin Dahle.

    January 4, 2008
  18. Holly Cairns said:

    Paul! No way! Brodkorb’s uncle? Small world.

    Hey, if any of you can post to Brodkorb’s site, my IP is tagged or I am using disallowed words. So, can you post the following to this entry


    Hi Jeff! I’m Scot C’s older sister (not the twin)! Remember him from elementary school? Hope it’s you instead of another Jeff Fecke.

    Hey Brodkorb, thanks for campaigning for Ray.

    The ads Dahle used just pointed out Cox’s voting record. They weren’t negative, Rove Style ads. Dems aren’t there, yet, but I wish they would listen to Drew Westin more. You dems out there– read Drew Westin’s Political Brian.

    Yes, the true Democrat won. I have to say this, though– Ray is a nice guy and I like him personally. His weblog coach is loyal like no other and we have to put up with him saying how wonderful Ray is all the time. Geez. Small towns make elections hard.

    January 4, 2008
  19. Holly Cairns said:

    Hmm, that’s interesting, Ken. I wonder if you’ll reach the fame that Brodkorb has by commenting on only Brodkorb. Brodkorb reached fame status by using “rumors” and “ifs” against ALL DEMS. Nasty Nasty Nasty.

    Your blog will only help if people read it… ah, I see. That is why you are blogging on

    Are you from Northfield?

    January 4, 2008
  20. Ken Avidor said:

    No, I’m not from Northfield. I’m from MInneapolis.

    I think its important that voters know the facts about PRT. Ray Cox gave out some false information about PRT. I know from experience that the media doesn’t know enough or care enough about PRT to correct Cox’s misinformation.

    Why is that important?

    Rep. Mark Olson and Michele Bachmann promoted PRT with Dean Zimmermann in 2004.

    Both are up for re-election this year.

    January 4, 2008
  21. Paul Fried said:

    Holly: My uncle is his mother’s boyfriend, so Mike and I are… almost cousins-in-law.

    Ken: I was joking about whatever wins, of course. Seems very strange (and counter-productive) to bring Brodkorb in.

    Thanks for your attention to PRT.

    January 4, 2008
  22. […] Exactly one month later, December 27, Mpls Star Tribune endorsed Cox and complained that while Dahle was a good man, he simply lacked any experience as a politician. Ray Cox, the Trib claimed, although a Republican, was a moderate in his politics. They cited his stand on environmental issues among other things. (Thanks to Northfield blogger site Locally Grown.) […]

    January 5, 2008

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