Minnesota Congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is making the case that she and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who's also vying for the GOP presidential nomination, are have very different policy records.
Bachmann for President Press Secretary Alice Stewart issued a statement responding to the Pawlenty campaign's assertion that Pawlenty and Bachmann share very similar positions on the issues.
Governor Pawlenty would have us believe that there is 'very little difference' between his positions and those of Michele Bachmann. But in fact, there is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty's past positions and Barack Obama's positions on several critical issues facing Americans. On issues such as unconstitutional healthcare mandates, climate change regulations, and Wall Street bailouts, there's very little daylight, indeed, between Governor Pawlenty's record and the Obama administration's policies.
Bachmann and Pawlenty are among several Republicans working hard in Iowa in hopes of strong showings in next month's Iowa Straw Poll which will be help in Ames in mid-August.
State Senator Linda Berglin, who served in the Minnesota Legislature for nearly 40 years, has announced she's retiring from the Senate next month. The Minneapolis Democrat has been influential in setting health care policy. She helped create MinneaotaCare, a state subsidized health insurance program for low and middle income Minnesotans.
Berglin said the fact that Democrats no longer hold the majority was a factor in her decision, as were a decade of budget cuts to Health and Human Services programs.
"During the last six months, I felt that my talents and skills have been underutilized in the Minnesota Senate," Berglin said in a prepared statement. "As I see so much of what I have worked on over the years being chipped away or repealed entirely, I worry that our state is moving away from the community spirit that has made us such a great place."
Berglin was a member of the "Gang of 7" lawmakers who helped craft the MinnesotaCare program in the early 1990s. It was created to help contain rising health care costs and flourished when Minnesota's economy was prosperous in the late 1990s.
"I would say the creation of MinnesotaCare would have to be landmark," Berglin said when asked what she considered her top achievement. "There are many other states in the nation that are envious of us because we have that legislation.
Berglin said her biggest disappointment was chairing the Senate Health and Human Services Finance Committee during eight years of budget deficits. She was forced to protect proposed cuts to MinnesotaCare and other social service programs from 2003-2011. Governor Pawlenty pushed for those cuts during his eight years in office. Republicans, who took control of the Minnesota Senate in 2010 election, also worked to cut funding for those services in the 2011 legislative session.
Berglin said losing her chair of the powerful Health and Human Services Finance Committee is one of the reasons she's decided to leave the Legislature. She also noted disappointment that the health care provider tax, which is used to finance the MinnesotaCare program, will be repealed by 2019.
Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said Berglin was one of the most outstanding legislators over the past fifty years. He said she worked to protect the poorest people in the state.
"When she approaches the Pearly Gates, that's going to be a quick entry because she protected the most in need in our society," Pogemiller said.
Berglin was first elected to the Minnesota House in 1972. She moved to the Minnesota Senate in 1981. The Minnesota Legislative Library says Berglin is the longest serving female in the Minnesota Senate and is tied with Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis for serving in the Legislature longer than any other woman. Both were sworn into office in 1973.
"I'm so glad that there are more now," Berglin said when told that she served in the Senate longer than any other woman.
Gov. Dayton issued this statement thanking Berglin for her service:
"Senator Berglin has been one of the great leaders of the Minnesota Legislature for the last 39 years. I join with her many friends and admirers in thanking her for her dedicated service and her lasting contributions for the betterment of our state."
Berglin is taking a position as Public Policy Manager with Hennepin County with a focus on health care. Her retirement will be effective on August 15th.
Dayton will have to call a special election to fill her seat. His spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci, says Dayton has not made a decision on when the special election will be called. Her district is considered a DFL stronghold.
Dayton also needs to call a special election for Senate District 46. That seat was vacated when Sen. Linda Scheid, DFL-Brooklyn Park, died in June.
You can listen to Berglin's news conference here: Listen
The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library also compiled this web page documenting Berglin's career.(1 Comments)
DFL Rep. Jeff Hayden is wasting no time. He announced he was running for DFL Sen. Linda Berglin's Senate seat just three hours after Berglin officially announced that she was retiring on August 15th.
Hayden, who was elected to the House in 2008, says he hopes to continue Berglin's legacy.
"Over the last few years I have been honored to work with Senator Berglin to combat the home foreclosure crisis, create new jobs, and expand access to quality, affordable health care access," Hayden said in a news release. "We have made great strides, but huge challenges remain," said Hayden. "I am excited to announce my candidacy today to run for the State Senate so we can continue fighting for a better Minnesota."
Hayden is the first of what could be many Democrats to announce a run for the seat. Senate District 61 is considered a DFL stronghold. Governor Dayton has not declared when he will call a special election for Berglin's seat.
You can read the full release from Hayden here.
Posted at 3:56 PM on July 25, 2011
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Good morning, and welcome to the Daily Digest.
After nearly 40 years of service, state Senator Linda Berglin announced her resignation , effective Aug. 15.
DFL Rep. Jeff Hayden didn't waste any time announcing that he'll seek Berglin's vacated seat. Gov. Mark Dayton hasn't said when he'll call the special election.
Minnesota investors and bankers are watching the debt ceiling debate in Washington closely.
Gov. Mark Dayton was up early at the Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation to shake hands with returning state workers.
MinnPost has a behind the scenes look at what led Dayton to end the government shutdown.
State parks are again accepting online reservations .
Reps. Keith Ellison and Erik Paulsen talked with Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer about the debt ceiling debate in Washington.
The House and Senate are taking two tracks on the debt ceiling debate. The big difference? House Republicans want to raise the debt ceiling now by $1 trillion, and tie a second increase to future debt reduction. Senate Democrats want to slash the deficit by $2.7 billion and extend borrowing authority immediately.
Being the wonk that I am, I'm digging this comparision of the GOP and Democratic plans.
Last night, President Barack Obama asked the public to contact lawmakers and demand "a balanced approach" to solving the debt ceiling impasse.
The Race for President
Rep. Michele Bachmann is headed to California in September to address the California Republican Party at its fall convention.
The game of "he said, she said" continues between former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Bachmann. This time, Pawlenty fires back, criticizing her for having a tendency to say "things that are off the mark."
Iowa news station WQAD reports that Bachmann refused to grant an interview after an anchor asked Bachmann earlier this month about an undercover video made in her husband's counseling clinic.
The Des Moines Register fact-checks a few Bachmann and Pawlenty statements.