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After Shocks of the Precinct Caucuses!

March 17, 2002

Two weeks ago, the Minnesota precinct caucuses created a stir across Minnesota as people showed up at their local neighborhood political meetings, many for the first time ever, to submit their education-related resolutions and to discuss them with their neighbors. We heard by letter, telephone and email the same story -- people coming, offering their resolutions, sharing information and getting elected as delegates! It was like having hundreds of small neighborhood education presentations at one time across the state. And what an impact it had!

Resolutions on the new education system and its aligned workforce and baby ed system were passed overwhelmingly just about everywhere they were raised. People learned about Small Learning Communities. They learned about the new early childhood certification -- TEACH. They learned about School-to-Work and the state- planned workforce system.

Congratulations on a very successful turnout!

The effects were felt almost immediately. Efforts at the legislature to pass into law a single appointed central planning board over Minnesota's economy, workforce, jobs placement and jobs certification were suddenly stalled.

In very short order, the plan to create the Minnesota Economic Leadership Team (MELT) was declared dead for the year.

Our voices were heard loud and clear on March 5th!!

We have no illusions, however, about this being the end. MELT was delayed for one year. That is an amazing accomplishment, but it will be back in full force in 2003.

Governor Ventura's chief of staff, John Wodele, was stunned. "This [plan] was the result of a task force pushed by the Legislature. They crossed all their t's, dotted all the i's, answered all their [legislators'] questions. We cannot find any real legitimate reason why it should be delayed," Wodele stated to the Star Tribune on March 14th.

The real scandal in all this is that this new creation of a single central planning appointed board over the economy, the workforce, education and jobs placement is not being discussed or reported in any newspaper or electronic media in Minnesota!

We saw a hint of controversy in one statement by the Star Tribune reporter: "There was opposition from some Republicans who saw the move as a step toward a state-planned economy, legislators said."

That's all. What reader would know what on earth they were talking about by simply reading that statement? The news media have become complicit in efforts to foist a restructured and redefined governance system upon us by keeping the public in the dark.

Even the legislature's official description of the bill makes no reference to MELT! Citizens would never know that legislators were on the verge of passing legislation that would take huge steps in the direction of restructuring state government. This is nothing short of a stealth takeover! Where is the reporting? Where is the discussion? Where are both sides being heard? Why is there nothing but silence? If this is such a great idea, why are they so frightened of public discussion?

What about candidates for the Legislature?

This Tuesday, March 19th, the courts will announce the new legislative boundaries for all 67 Minnesota Senate districts, all 134 House districts and the Congressional district boundaries for all 8 Minnesota Congressional Districts. There will be a scramble of candidates everywhere, starting Tuesday.

With new boundaries for all, this is the time for new candidates to step forward. Delegates who were elected at the precinct caucuses will be those casting the votes for endorsement. An endorsement requires 60% of the delegates and alternates seated at a convention.

Consider a run for the Legislature.

If not you, consider who might be the right person. Legislators are everyday people. Is there a great candidate already in your new district? Jump on those candidates' bandwagons. Call them up and say, "what can I do to help?"

We need new blood in the legislature. We are a government of the people. We will carry the message of the March 5th precinct caucuses all the way to the final passage of legislation that protects and defends our freedom.

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