The Minnesota DFL Party held a 2014 kick-off event Wednesday evening, January 22nd at the home of Tom Braun and Felicity Britton. The event was held in a space above the Wild Rumpus children’s book store near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. This event was a fundraiser for State Representative Frank Hornstein (61-A) and was MC-ed by State Senator Scott Dibble. There were many notable statewide DFL figures there, including Governor Mark Dayton, Representative Keith Ellison (MN-5), and Speaker of the MN House of Representatives Paul Thissen. There were also a few members of the new Minneapolis City Council in attendance, including Linea Palmisano, Lisa Bender, Jacob Frey, and Alondra Cano.
The evening began with some introductions by Senator Dibble. He described Rep. Hornstein as the “most fun legislator” and talked up his sense of humor. He also stressed how crucial it was for Governor Dayton to win re-election this year.
Governor Dayton was the first speaker of the evening. To lighten the mood he started joking about some of the major issues that have dogged the 2013 legislative session: the Vikings stadium, the Southwest Light Rail, and MNsure. His speech then turned to the GOP opposition at the statehouse, describing them as the “extreme right wing” of their party and calling for the DFL to continue the majority they won in the 2012 elections. He also mentioned the fact that “123,000 more people” have come to live in Minnesota since he took office in 2011.
The next speaker was Rep. Ellison. He spoke about the defeat of the pointless constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2012 that would have enshrined discrimination into the state’s constitution, saying that it was defeated by “teamwork” and that “we are fortunate to have this team” of Senator Dibble and Rep. Hornstein. He touted district 61 as having the “highest voter turnout” in the last election, but warned that turnout may drop this year.
The next speakers were Erin Murphy (Majority Leader in the MN House of Representatives) and Speaker Thissen. Mr. Thissen spoke about some of the lesser-known initiatives of the 2013 session, including “ban the box,” which prohibits employers from asking about a potential job applicants criminal history when they fill out an application, and the state expansion of Medicaid. Ms. Murphy said Rep. Hornstein “has been my partner” and said that after the legislative victories of the past few years she recognizes her state again.
Finally, Representative Hornstein gave a brief talk. He described the people present at the event as the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” and gave a brief remembrance of the late US Senator Paul Wellstone. He said that it will be in the “western suburbs where our majority will be won” in 2014 and mentioned that an “off-year election is a real challenge.” He cited his colleagues Senator Dibble and Governor Dayton for the many successes the DFL enjoyed last session. At the end he reminded everyone that precinct caucuses will take place February 4th, 2014. To find the location of your caucus, click here. Stay tuned to your Examiner for more coverage of the 2014 elections in Minnesota.