Pawlenty won’t seek third term, foul gas released on the Iron Range: coincidence?

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has enjoyed an antagonistic relationship with the Iron Range and, for that matter, the government he runs during his two terms. Pawlenty announced today he will not seek a third. In honor of the occasion, the Iron Range taconite mine MinnTac released a 10-mile-wide cloud of foul-smelling odorant that reached from Mt. Iron to Gilbert.

Oh, I’m sorry. I’m now told that the odorant leak was a coincidental accident. I wonder if there are any jokes I could make about coincidental accidents that stink for people who don’t live in Eagan.



  1. As far as I am concerned, Pawlenty has done enough damage to our state, so he wouldn’t get my vote anyway. Bye bye.

  2. Hallelujah!

  3. Anonymous says

    Why is it that so many Rangers have a sincere dislike (hate) for those not DFL or pro-union?

    They can’t seem to dialogue on issues…and instead, immediately to Eastern Europe ideology.

    It’s too bad. This attitude continues their long standing legacy of narrow-minded thinking wood ticks…which many aren’t.

  4. I get what you’re saying, anonymous, but I think you misunderstand the demographics and culture of the Range. There’s a reason why people here vote the way they do. As for why there is a fair amount of disdain for Pawlenty, prompting my rather ham handed gas gag, I’d argue that there’s a reason for that, too. LGA and education cuts, coupled with a Chamber of Commerce big business model for state government has hurt the institutions that matter most to the Iron Range. I know people like to argue about government being a good or bad thing, but on the Range the government is a major force for good. Spare me the communism talk. This area is not socialist, it simply believes in a healthy government/private sector partnership … a partnership that has been abused (in my opinion) by this governor’s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith. I would ask why southwestern Minnesota or Plymouth or Minnetonka vote Republican, too, but I know there’s a reason for that too.

  5. Anonymous says

    I grew up on the Range Aaron. Graduated from one of the very good Range High Schools…which were good due to the tremendous support from big businesses, the mines.

    It wasn’t government nor LGA (LGA didn’t exist) that made the Range schools some of the best in the nation in days gone by. Look it up.

    If the schools were good due to government support, if government was the common denominator, the schools wouldn’t be in the tough financial condition many of them are today. Government on the Range was strongly DFL and around in the early 1900’s, and still strongly DFL and around today….but schools are suffering. Why? Much less business activity, less support from the remaining businesses and a anti-business attitude by all our Range legislators. Look up it.

    The voting record of our legislators is 80-90% anti-business. Look it up.

    Our political leaders truly think government “creates” jobs and wealth. It simply ain’t so Aaron, businesses create jobs, wealth and prosperity.

    Coming from a broader perspective than you by having lived in Asia and Europe for 8 years and spent time in over 50 countries, I can’t spare you the communism or socialism talk. I’ve seen how it thinks, how it acts and what it does. The Range has too much in common. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, let’s call it a duck…

  6. Respectfully, I understand what you’re saying. I’ve “looked up” each of the points you mention. I know. You are quite the traveler. I get it. It sounds like you don’t live here now, though. I do. And I can’t stand watching the institutions to which you and I owe our early educations and support decline into mediocrity or oblivion.

    This area is on a natural trajectory of decline because of our declining business sector. But tax cuts won’t change that. Our area needs a bold publicly involved approach to diversify the economy and maintain our communities and schools. If there’s another way to do it that doesn’t involve surrendering to status as a resource colony and playground for those wealthy enough to buy up our lakeshore, I’m all ears.

    I’m not defending all the practices that have been done because some of them don’t work. When cronyism and boosterism take over money is often wasted. You’ll hear me talk about that here often. But this is SO not the same as China.

  7. Anonymous says

    My God Aaron….we even name builds after our beliefs – “Socialist Building” in Virginia.

  8. You’re talking about 1910 Iron Range socialism which is the reason we have an eight hour work day and public schools. Including the one you went to. Look it up.

  9. Anonymous says

    Aaron…my understanding is there are no tax cuts, only spending reductions to match our projected revenue. We must watch our spending, no different than you and I are doing.

    If we’re to raise taxes, we simply take more from someone at time when we don’t have it to give. Who should that someone be? I’ve asked my neighbors if they’re willing to pay more, they say no. I’ve asked my friends, they say no. I’ve asked my family members, they say no. There’s no one left to ask execpt my enemies but I know they’d say no also.
    Therefore, who should we take more tax money from? No one..

    The answer is to create an environment that’s favorable towards investment, business investment. It’s businesses that create jobs. Our legislators are doing some of that but no where near enough. Because of this poor business environment, the vast majority of companies don’t consider putting a business on the Range….unless other factors are so over-riding, such as natural resource availability – forests, minerals, water, shoreline, etc.

    P.S. – don’t chase away the full or part time residents because they’re buying lake shore. They spend money and need services. They creates service businesses which creates jobs and employs people..

    Thanks for listening.

  10. Anonymous says

    In 1910 socialism was strong. One hundred years late, in 2010, socilism is stronger than ever. Conditions have changed, the political thinking hasn’t

  11. The commentator is right: there did used to be more business support for the schools and communities, even though, early on, the big businesses exploited the people until there was a united front to stopping that.

    When my kids were little, US steel had programs that visited the tiny communities, to provide some “culture” to the boonies. I haven’t heard about that for a long while. Now we hear about many of the big businesses on the Range and surrounding areas being bought by foreign companies. Do they give such “support” to our area? Were they sold for a profit?

    The forestry companies had big programs to reforest the land they owned, looking toward the future. Now they just sell the land after they cut the trees. The forest product factories are closed.

    I can’t help but think that the current recession is due to more than the big banks, finance companies making mistakes. There is enough greed to go around. When Wal-mart said that they wouldn’t pay as much in whole sale prices, companies contracted to build factories in China, etc. {They marked up US goods 20%, but Chinese goods 80%, according to a Wal-Mart manager interviewed on PBS.) But that left a lot of workers with no/less pay. After awhile, there was less to spend.

    Cars need to get better gas mileage, so there is less steel in each car. [Good or bad? Depends on where you live, I guess.] But impacts the Iron Range. Cars last longer these days too.

    The current educational decline on the Range and surrounding areas has gone beyond lack of direct business support. There are too few students to support the wealth of programs that would be ideal. And there are more state mandates of programs that the schools must provide. Obviously, these are at odds.

    The other issue is taxes: Taxes are considered evil by some politicians. Nobody wants to pay more taxes, but we do need to accept the obvious: services need to be paid for. Wider, fancier roads cost more to build and maintain. Emergencies services need to be supported, no matter how many people are in the area.

    When we see bigger houses in the suburbs and bigger “cabins” [mansions] on the lake shores, when business can build new office buildings costing $10,000,000 [new office building just announced for Mountain Iron], we can conclude that there is money out there. Should we “take” from these people to support all the programs that everybody benefits from? That is the political questions always out there.

    But nothing is free and it is about time that politicians start counting the real costs of all the programs they promise and approve. And if we feel a benefit from programs, buildings, roads, schools, etc. then lets stop complaining about having to pay for them.

  12. Wait a minute. This conversation is far too reasonable.

    Anon, you said, “The answer is to create an environment that’s favorable towards investment, business investment.”

    I agree fully. How? The only way to overcome the competitive disadvantages you describe is to make our communities, schools and environs exceptional … better than average. Otherwise, there is no point in trying anything. At this time in our history that means public investment.

    There weren’t any tax cuts this year but the early part of the 2000s (the same time that public, private and personal debt were combining to create our current economic mess) the mantra in DC and St. Paul were tax cuts. The mojo was upset. No one wants to pay taxes. Everyone wants stuff. We can argue about what should be funded and what shouldn’t, and we might end up on opposite sides, but Pawlenty, like Bush, has been selling an alternative reality. I resent it and that’s why there hasn’t been a lot of love for him on this blog.

  13. Anonymous says

    Aaron…I say we need a favorable business environment, that costs nothing but time and passing favorable legislation, not money.

    Our so-called representatives need to spend time with business leaders asking them what the government can to to help business compete. Ask any of the locals..Solberg, Sertich, Anzelc, Rukavina the last time they knocked on the door of the top ten, top twenty employers in the state, on the Range, to have a dialogue with them. You’ll be disappointed with the answer. Their interest is with union leadership, not business leadership. i.e….Baak is planning to run for governor. His stated number one priority is to talk with union leadership to see what he has to do to win them over. No mention of talking with business leaders.

    You say we need money from the public, public investment. Where do you suggest this money come from, the locals? Those in the twin cities? Why oh why are Rangers always asking for a hand-out, for someone else to help (bail) them out? Sounds like socialism to me..

  14. I think I’ve reached my limit for comments on a three week old post, but I’ll bite one last time.

    The representatives you mention (some are friends of mine, some are not) DO meet with business people all the time. You are probably thinking of the less friendly relationship they have with the state chamber of commerce, an organization dedicated to breaking unions and driving down wages and benefits.

    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on the socialism word, it’s a alarmist tag no different than me calling Eagan “fascist”. Government has a role to play in protecting and enhancing society. Blind trust in business is no better than blind trust in government. A vigilant citizenry is the only solution.

  15. Oh, and when you factor in the private and public contributions of the mining industry to the state’s economy over the past 100 years — or the contribution of the agricultural community over time — these places have more than paid for themselves. Is it too much to ask that our kids have advanced math, forensics and parks to play in, too?

  16. Anonymous says

    OK…but in conclusion, a Mark Twain quote comes to mind –

    “Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul”.

  17. Ditto.

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