Iron Range discord over Dayton’s LG pick?

Iron Range newsThe banner headline on the Sunday edition of the Iron Range’s biggest newspaper was clear: “All-Minneapolis Ticket.”

And despite Minneapolis’s status as a successful American city on the upswing, this headline is not designed to be a compliment for Gov. Mark Dayton and his new Lt. Gov. running mate Tina Smith. The Mesabi Daily News is reporting on grumbling among Iron Range DFL legislators over the Smith selection.

The story isn’t entirely negative. Clearly, local legislators hold a wide array of views. And even the most negative seem open to acceptance down the line.

My analysis is that your interpretation of what matters in the politics of 2014 is how you’ll interpret this story. To me, the Range is ceding political influence through lost population, decreased ability to deliver elections, and increasingly complicated “litmus test” loyalty pledges on the mining issue.

Which of Dayton’s policies, or the policies of his GOP opponents, will change as a result of this Lt. Gov. situation? I’d argue absolutely none.

To others, however, the image of an all-metro ticket is a metaphor, and something to talk about.


  1. “First, do no harm” applies to running mates as well as doctors. I can’t see this pick hurting Dayton unless Ms. Smith commits some colossal blunder during the campaign, like blurting “E-eighty-what?” down in corn country.

  2. Aaron
    Your correct. The days when a candidate from the Range on a state wide DFL ticket was meaningful passed long ago, about the same time Range schools lost their state hockey dominance. They don’t like us, they don’t need us.

    However, having a “cities” only DFL ticket just about as meaningless. Your statement – “Minneapolis’s status as a successful American city on the upswing” is baffling. Have you ever lived there or read what’s being said about Minneapolis? Just a short list of facts:

    * Minneapolis has an ever-widening achievement gap between whites and people of color. It’s not getting any better yet they spend more per pupil than any district in the state.

    * “Minneapolis as a great place to raise a family” — is being undercut by places we once joked about: Omaha, Des Moines, Madison, and other small metros around the country that enjoy booming economies and rising urban sophistication. David Feehan, who until recently headed the International Downtown Association, says, “Minneapolis-St. Paul has not been getting better at the same rate as these places.”

    *Low-income communities, particularly people of color, are falling dangerously behind when it comes to income, education and home ownership. A sense that “we’re all in this together” has historically been one of our cultural strengths compared to the rest of the country, but now Minneapolis ranks near the bottom on many measures of economic and educational equity.

    *Minneapolis’s reputation of a “brainpower” work force looks questionable when minorities (who are estimated to be 43 percent of the MSP population in 2040) perform significantly less well in school than white students. This worries Citistates Group president and former Metropolitan Council chair Curtis Johnson.

    *Minneapolis’s long standing pride in being a liberal, open-minded place vanishes after hearing people of color speak honestly about their experiences living here. “This is a hospitable place on the surface,” says Dave Ellis who moved to town in 1974 after college and worked for Dow Chemical, the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the United Way. “But it’s hard to be your full self here. Telling my story is very important to me, but to the dominant culture it sounds like anger and rage. I’ve learned to be hyper-vigilant in social settings, and after a while you don’t want to participate anymore.”

    *Many corporate recruiters admit that non-white professionals are reluctant to move to Minneapolis. “They see barriers to moving up in their career,” explains DeAnna Cummings, executive director of Juxtaposition Arts in North Minneapolis. “There are few examples of African-Americans or others in positions of power.”

    *In the eyes of many, we are an out-of-the-way city populated exclusively by blond-haired folks who eat spongy white bread and say “you betcha.” That’s not going to stir much excitement for an emerging generation raised on rap, dim sum and a desire for diversity says Cummings.

    *Minneapolis elected America’s first Muslim to Congress who says – “Obamacare is good because it forces people to work less.” HUH?? During the February 9, 2014 airing of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Congressman Keith Ellison said the loss of work hours due to Obamacare could actually be a good thing because Americans work too much anyway, compared to people in other industrialized countries. He’s obviously out of touch with the work ethic of our forefathers (including Minneapolis forefathers) not to mention modern-day Japan, China, India, Taiwan and the rest of S.E. Asia. What a buffoon.

    *It’s not just people of color who find it hard to fit in. Tom Borrup, founder of the national arts-based development firm Creative Community Builders, moved here from the East Coast more than 30 years ago. I heard that you were really accepted as a Minnesotan when you got invited to someone’s cabin. Well, that took about 15 years.”

    *Katherine Loflin, author of the Knight Foundation’s landmark Soul of a Community study, which studied 26 regions around the country to find what factors create a sense of belonging for local people. She found that “young talent” was the “least welcome” of all the groups in Minneapolis.

    *The Star Tribune recently shouted bad news on its front page: “Minnesotans ranked last in creating new businesses.” Our economic dependence on big, established companies is worrisome. “What if you took half of our Fortune 500 companies out of the equation?” asks Curtis Johnson. “I believe these companies are more mobile than we think.”

    *“The business climate here is terrible,” declares real-estate consultant Sam Newberg. “I’m not talking about taxes. I’m talking about all the bureaucratic obstacles, like needing to provide two bathrooms in a tiny store. We need to make easier to do the right thing.”

    * “What’s iconic around here?” asks Carol Becker, who teaches public policy at Hamline University and is an elected member of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation. “Besides the Juicy Lucy, which is just a cheeseburger turned inside out, what’s our special food?” The IDS Center looks a lot like skyscrapers everywhere, and the Walker Art Center’s cherry spoonbridge is hardly an Eiffel Tower. What are we best known for? Probably the Mall of America, an impression Sam Newberg finds “embarrassing.” The overwhelming majority of its stores are chains, and even local boy Snoopy has been ejected from the amusement park in favor of a cable TV channel. Is it any wonder people think of us as bland?

    Now, there are some good things about Minneapolis (can’t think of any at the moment), but to call it a “successful city on the upswing”? Wow, that requires filling in the blanks.

  3. Well, I see Ranger has been cherry-picking like crazy. Based on his “facts”, there appears no hope whatsoever for the Twin Cities . All due, no doubt to the Libruls.

  4. It’s a shame you’re so cynical Jackie, it gets us nowhere. Present your case, state some facts, give us some data. Sure, I cherry-picker but it’s real stuff.

    Geez…how do you expect me to get on board your mission for free hi-speed internet, one of the top two issues holding back the advancement of ignorant, white rural Balsamites when you act so childish?

  5. I should hang my head because I’m not ” adult” enough for you? LOL!!

  6. Ok..that’s a start Jackie…but don’t connect us to “links”, trolls can do that. Put your thoughts into your own words. I really question if you grew up on the Range…not the Range I grew up on.

    Regarding your “I should hang my head because I’m not ” adult” enough for you? LOL!!” comment,…as Lou Barle, my football coach used to say – “if the shoe fits, wear it”.

    Add value to a debate Jackie…add value.

    • But did you read the link? You posted a whole lot of stuff that was hardly in your own words.
      Sorry to disappoint you, but I did grow up and have lived most of my life, which is considerable, in GR. I realize that many of the hardcore don’t acknowledge my hometown as “da range”, but our fortunes have also risen and fallen with the economics of the area. Hmmm, Lou Barle? Well, that must be Greenway in the olden days. ..and to some degree that explains your stances on various issues.

  7. You’ve reached the point Twain warned us about:

    “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

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