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2002 Election Review

November 9, 2002

The landscape of Minnesota politics has been utterly transformed. Minnesota has a new set of players and entirely different legislative dynamics. Our opportunities for stopping the disintegration of our schools, the central planning schemes for the workforce and the economy, and the massive government take-over of early childhood have been significantly improved through the election of 2002.

Thank you to every person who became engaged, some as far back as your precinct caucuses. You have influenced your neighbors, families and communities, and you have made a difference in our state!

Visit our website to see which candidates who responded to our candidate questionnaire were elected on November 5th, visit our website.

The first question people ask us is, will the Profile of Learning finally be repealed?

We would expect so. But it will not be easy sailing.

In a speech given Thursday to business leaders, the Star Tribune reported, "Reprising another campaign theme, he [Pawlenty] said the state must scrap or overhaul the Profile of Learning graduation rule. Minnesota needs to have 'nation-leading curriculum and standards and we don't anymore,' he said. 'That's not good enough.'"

"Scrapping," not "overhauling," the Profile was the promise of the Pawlenty Republican endorsement and campaign.

Governor-elect Tim Pawlenty was the only governor candidate to campaign on repealing the Profile of Learning. The Moe/Sabo DFL ticket featured two state senators who are strong supporters of the Profile. As Senate Majority Leader, Moe has overseen its implementation. The Penny/Robertson Independence Party ticket featured one of the strongest Profile allies in the Senate in Martha Robertson. The success of either Penny or Moe would have made Profile repeal a difficult task.

But there are other issues. Baby Ed was dealt a heavy blow in our favor with the loss of key Senate supporters, particularly Senators Roger Moe and Julie Sabo as Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The same could be said of the drive for a single central planning workforce system that uses the schools as an aligned labor supply chain.

NEW COMMISSIONERS:

The most dramatic changes will be seen in the appointments of new Commissioners to head every state government department. Commissioner Christine Jax will be replaced in January. Who replaces her as Commissioner of Children, Families and Learning will send a signal about the kind of changes our new Governor will make.

The entire Department of Children, Families and Learning needs a house cleaning. That means the Deputy Commissioner and the various Deputy Commissioners need replacing, as well. The bloated bureaucracy of the CFL has tremendous cost saving potential in a year of huge government deficits.

Who will head up the Departments of Trade & Economic Development (DTED), Economic Security, Health? All of these Departments work together with the Department of Children, Families and Learning to create a single aligned central planning system. Rebecca Yanisch, Commissioner of DTED, is a key implementer of the new workforce and economic planning system. Who replaces Yanisch is key to what direction Minnesota will take.

THE MINNESOTA SENATE:

The greatest legislative victory was the re-election of Sen. Michele Bachmann over Sen. Jane Krentz in a new district 52. Bachmann was targeted for defeat by numerous well-heeled special interests because of her effective leadership in St. Paul. Estimates before the election were that $2 million would be spent to defeat her in that campaign.

Bachmann was straightforward about her opposition to educational restructuring and a centrally planned economy and workforce system. She was subjected to shrill smear attacks, many of them last minute mailings. BACHMANN DEFEATED HER OPPOSITION BY 8 PERCENTAGE POINTS! It wasn't even close.

We look forward to her continued leadership in the Minnesota legislature.

The Senate changed dramatically. For example, the Senate Education Committee has lost the strong Profile proponent Sen. Martha Robertson who was the ranking minority member of the committee. Other Profile supporters on the Senate Education Committee who are now gone are Sens. Julie Sabo, Jane Krentz, Len Price and Deanna Wiener.

Two sad defeats are the loss of Lynn Zaffke against Senator Sheila Kiscaden, and Rep. George Cassell against incumbent Senator Dallas Sams. Kiscaden lost the Republican endorsement over the Profile of Learning, among other issues. She switched to the Independence Party and won in Rochester in a close race.

Newcomers in the Senate are allies in various ways. In most cases, incumbents who were defeated were replaced with supporters of our efforts.

With last year's Profile repeal one vote shy of passage in the Senate, and with a Governor who will sign a repeal, we look forward to dramatic and positive action.

(See our review of Education Committee Membership affected by this election)

THE MINNESOTA HOUSE:

We gained some allies in the House. The biggest victories over our opposition in the House were Rep. Mark Olson's win over Rep. Leslie Schumacher, Rep. Jim Rhodes' win over Rep. Betty Folliard, Rep. Bill Haas' win over Rep. LuAnne Koskinen, and Rep. Swenson's win over Rep. Ruth Johnson. Those races pitted incumbents against each other. Schumacher and Folliard were two of the most vocal and shrill critics of MREdCo. Their absence will be welcome. Schumacher also served on the House Education Committee.

Retirements account for many changes on the House Education Committee. Longtime Chairman Rep. Harry Mares retired, leaving that Chairmanship open for a new appointment. We are hopeful that the new Chair of that committee will be an ally in our work. Rep. Gray, a Profile advocate, retired, as did Rep. Ness.

Now the real work begins. What replaces the Profile of Learning is every bit as important as repealing it. The assessments (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments -- MCAs) are the enforcers of the Profile standards.

We will not be free of the Profile of Learning if we continue to rely on assessments that force schools to teach the federal curriculum. See our recommendations for replacing the Profile of Learning at:


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