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Sunday, September 07, 2008

September 9 Primary is of Primary Importance for Ramsey County Residents

Most primary elections are ho-hum non-events but this is definitely not the case for Ramsey County residents this year. This year we voters have the opportunity to replace three big spending, big government career politicians with fiscal Conservatives from the private sector. The primary contests will pare down the candidate choices in the general election to two candidates in each district.

In most cases it is difficult to unseat long time entrenched politicians, and in the case of the Ramsey County Board it is even more difficult as the board operates pretty much in an out-of-sight, out-of mind mode. I'd wager that most Ramsey County residents have no idea who their commissioner is and incumbents often end up running without, or with just token, opposition. The election is also classified as "non-partisan" which tends to limit the amount of advertising and media coverage - unfortunately this is almost always to the advantage of the incumbent.

This time around Ramsey County taxpayers have three viable, fiscally Conservative candidates to challenge the big spenders on the board (listed in the order of the district they are running in):

Jim Schottmuller in District 1 (Arden Hills, Gem Lake, Mounds View, North Oaks, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Township). Jim is looking to oust RINO poster child Tony ("Choo-choo") Bennett, a loudly self-proclaimed Republican who is hard to distingush from a DFLer. Bennett is endorsed by Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce PAC, Joint Council 32 Drive (Teamsters - how many real Republicans do these guys endorse?), AFSCME Minnesota Council 5 for Ramsey County, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota Council, St. Paul Building and Construction Trades Council (AFL-CIO). This list of liberal special interests does not have a lot in common with one of fiscally or socially Conservative organizations, to say the least.

Richard "Rick" Moses in District 2 (Lauderdale, Little Canada, Mounds View Precinct 4, New Brighton, Roseville, St. Anthony). Rick is running for the seat currently held by Jan Weissner Parker, a 30-year career liberal politician whose main schtick is a monotonously repeated claim of "I'm non-partisan" while consistently towing the DFL line end-to-end.

Dennis Dunnigan in District 7 (Maplewood, North St. Paul, White Bear Lake, Hillcrest area of St. Paul (Ward 6 Precinct 12)). Dennis is going after the seat currently held by Victoria Reinhardt, a prototype touchy-feeley, tree-hugging, big government liberal whose endorsements pretty much reflect what she's all about.

A big problem with career politicians is that their day-to-day interactions are largely with other personally ambitious politicians and political decisions have a direct impact on their long term personal financial and cushy employment situation. The challengers noted above are all fiscally Conservative, have successful private sector careers, and are not part of the career politician crowd.

District 2 candidate Rick Moses states this well in his literature with a "compare and contrast" between the incumbent and himself. His assessment is also applicable to the District 1 and District 7 contests as well:
[For a long time the incumbent] has worked almost exclusively in government - that's her paycheck and her retirement fund. Is it therefore not surprising that she voted to give herself a 25% pay increase last year?

Those of us who work in the private sector don't have this nice little arrangement. Serving in government without having experience in private industry is a recipe for taxation. How can someone with little or no experience in private industry understand and respect the workers in private industry who actually pay the government's bills?

Without private sector experience it becomes all too easy to tax more and spend more - while never having to cut anything. After all, why make tough decisions when you can simply arrange for the taxpayers to pay a little more?
The election of Schottmuller, Moses, and/or Dunnigan would help to reign in the current out-of-control Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, and the election of all three would be the greatest thing for Ramsey County taxpayers in a very long time.

As a practical matter interest and turnout in primary elections is usually pretty low, which generally benefits incumbents. However, if supporters of the challengers come out in force the tables can be turned as each vote carries much more weight than in a large turnout election. While a victory in the primary does not get a challenger into office it does get him into the general election. As an added bonus, a well-entrenched incumbent could actually get eliminated from the contest before the general election, resulting in a general election for an open seat where strength of ideas rather than auto-pilot votes for the incumbent will determine the outcome. If the general election comes down to a strength of ideas contest, the three Conservative challengers are in a very good position over the competition.

Fiscal Conservatives in Ramsey County need to get out in force on Tuesday and vote for the fiscally Conservative candidate in their district. This is probably the best chance we will have for a long time to get some fiscally responsible representation on the Board.

I encourage everyone to take the time to look over the web sites of all of the Conservative challengers (linked above) to evaluate the compelling case each makes for their election and to see how badly the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners needs to be reigned in to serve the interests of the citizens.

Please make the effort to get out and vote in the primary on Tuesday and also get as many like-minded people as you can to take advantage of this rare opportunity to make a real difference and to strike a blow for limited government that works in the best interests of the governed rather than a huge bureaucracy that provides lucrative employment for an elitist group of career politicians.



Blogger Right Hook said...

The always erudite "Mr. Dilettante" has also posted some wisdom on the importance of this primary. Check it out here.

9/07/2008 10:16 PM  

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