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To date, 30 Minnesotans have been killed in the War in Iraq.


People And Parties

Minnesota's two major political parties are the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) and the Republican Party of Minnesota. The DFL once had strong control of Minnesota, after the election of young new governor Wendell Anderson in 1970 ushered in sweeping reforms in state government and education. Minnesota set such a high standard for economic and social progress that on Aug. 13, 1973, Time Magazine featured a cover story on "Minnesota: The Good Life."

The current governor is Tim Pawlenty (R), former mayor of Eagan, a large St. Paul suburb. The most powerful Democrat in executive office is Attorney General Mike Hatch. A consumer advocate, he and Pawlenty had several high-profile clashes in the first year of the Pawlenty administration but now have a more cordial relationship. Pawlenty was elected in an unusual four-way race in which the Green and Independence parties each had major party status and ran serious campaigns, when Jesse Ventura declined to seek a second term.

Republicans narrowly retained control of Minnesota's House of Representatives, 68-66, after a DFL net gain of 13 seats in the 2004 elections. Steve Sviggum of Kenyon is the current Speaker of the House. The Republican Majority leader is Erik Paulsen of Eden Prairie, a Minneapolis suburb. The DFL Minority Leader is Margaret Anderson Kelliher of Minneapolis.

The Senate is controlled by the DFL 38-29. The DFL Majority Leader is Dean Johnson of Willmar, a rural center west of the Twin Cities. The Republican Minority Leader is Dick Day of Owatonna. There is one Independent in the Senate, Senator Sheila Kiscaden of Rochester.

Senator Dean Johnson switched parties in recent years from Republican to DFL. As a Republican, he was at one time the leader of the Senate Republican Caucus, making him one of the few people in the country to be the leader of both political parties in the same legislative body.

Former Leaders

Minnesota has a well-deserved reputation for liberalism and unexpected political results. Historically, the differing political orientations around the state have produced unusual politicians and political movements. Part of this tendency in state politics is due to the fact that the Legislature was organized along non-partisan lines for decades, until 1973. Minnesota shows a propensity to elect candidates not endorsed by their parties, third parties, or those totally distinct from the mainstream. (The last mayoral election in St. Paul placed two Democrats against each other on the final ballot. Randy Kelly, not endorsed by the DFL, defeated fellow Democratic city council member Jay Benanav.) After endorsing George W. Bush in 2004, Randy Kelly was beaten badly in 2005 by the DFL endorsed candidate Chris Coleman.

Paul Wellstone served nearly two full terms (1990-2002) as a Democratic senator before he, along with his wife and daughter, were killed in a plane crash in northern Minnesota in 2002. Wellstone, who lived in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul, was a leading member of the Senate who helped craft legislation protecting the poor and underprivileged while opposing military extravagance and unfair trade deals abroad. He voted against the authorization for war with Iraq, as he had vocally opposed the first Gulf War almost immediately after he arrived in Washington, an unknown, in 1990. His wife, Sheila, was an outspoken advocate of legislation protecting battered women nationwide. While many believed him to be a radical, stubborn leftist, he played a key role in delaying and in some cases defeating Republican Senate initatives. Regardless, his unique committment to serving people and adhering to higher principles at the cost of expediency gained him respect and friendship across the aisle. His defiance, time and again, from his own party and the rest of Washington illustrated to Minnesota and his supporters nationwide that the Democratic Party was broad enough to support his iconoclastic style of politics.

Walter Mondale served as state attorney general (1962-1964), senator (1964-1976), vice president (1976-1981) and ambassador to Japan (1993-1997). He received the Democratic nomination for president in 1984, and was the first presidental candidate in American history to include a woman, Geraldine Ferraro, on the ticket, but was defeated in a landslide. The incumbent went on to sell missiles to Iran, while it is deemed unlikely that a nice Minnesota boy would do something like that. Mondale had a great deal of international experience, and helped orchestrate the 1973 Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt which ended the War of Attrition. Mondale returned to the spotlight when he waged an extraordinary emergency campaign against Norm Coleman after Wellstone was killed. He lost the remarkable race narrowly, but DFLers contend that in the volatile days after Wellstone's highly charged memorial service, the former vice president was polling increasingly well.

Jesse Ventura served one term (1999-2003) as governor, elected on the Reform party ticket, but quickly severed his ties with the party and served the remainder of his term as an Independent. While "the Body" drew criticism for his flamboyant style and refusal, at times, to deal with the deeply divided houses of the state legislature, his cabinet was composed of DFLers, Republicans and independents.

Arnie Carlson served two terms (1991-1999) as governor, a moderate Republican who often drew the ire of fellow party members for crossing party lines to support DFL-sponsored legislation. Was dubbed 'that darn Arnie'. Lost party endorsement in 1994 to Alan Quist a far right challenger, rallied in primary thanks to a large number of crossover votes. Carlson attended the University of Minnesota and strongly supported it in office, and had a serious distaste for the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board. It is a very little-known fact that Carlson was about to oppose publicly the invasion of Iraq just before Wellstone's death.

Minnesota Congressional Delegation

(4 Democrats - 4 Republicans)

Minnesota State Government


Major Cities

Political Party Links

Minnesota Elections

Minnesota News, Etc

Political Blogs

See also

Retrieved from "http://localhost../../../m/i/n/Minnesota.html"

This page was last modified 01:49, 1 January 2011 by dKosopedia user Jbet777. Based on work by Chad Lupkes, Henry Helgen and Eric Pusey and dKosopedia user(s) WarrenCohen, Corncam, Harkov311, RickDFL, Allamakee Democrat, Roseaucounty, CSTAR, DakotaGypsy, Aretino, HongPong, Brandonp, Punishinglemur, Jumbo, Doctorgonzo, Narched and Centerfielder. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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