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       Sept. 16 Internal Discussion                                                                                     Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.

These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus internal discussion

Civic Caucus Interview Group Discussion
 held on September 16, 2016

Diagnosis and prescription as important in public policy as in health care


Today the Civic Caucus interview group focused its discussion on options for a major recommendation on improving public policy in Minnesota. In discussing definitions we distinguished between design and action. We looked at a timetable for completion of a report by December 1. We'd like to emphasize a central recommendation that if implemented would cause other improvements to occur, rather than preparing a laundry list of needed changes. Among options discussed today: (1) establishing a public-policy institute, (2) strengthening an existing community sector organization or organizations, (3) starting from scratch and recommending something entirely new, and (4) looking to the state's charitable foundations. Some of us think the report should also include recommendations on improving the State Legislature.

For the complete interview summary see: link to interview

Individual Responses:

Wayne Jennings
It's a stunning assortment of issues and courses of action. Focusing on one area seems wise. I look forward to the draft realizing its preparation will be challenging.

Joe Vene
Diagnosis and Prescription:  I could not but be alarmed at the Sunday, September 25, 2016 Mpls Sunday StarTrib News Story -- Science and Health, in re:  "The Politics of Pain" and "As aggressive prescribing fuels an opioid epidemic in America, the Drug lobby is spending millions to keep it legal".  It would appear Civic Caucus would want 

to weigh in on this dilemma posthaste.  Your Subject line surely invites such enquiry. 

Here in Beltrami County, and elsewhere, as an example, deaths have resulted from substance abuse/overdose.  Drugmakers are complicit in this addiction epidemic.  

I believe Civic Caucus would be as concerned as are the many policymakers and advocacy groups.

Thank you for your attention to this great concern.  The opioid lobby is alive and well.

What of the rest of us?

Lou DeMars
It seems to me that many high quality suggestions from the public and many of our wonderful private and nonprofit organizations are suggested to the various levels of government but meet their death rather quickly if the Democrats and Republicans canít agree on a road to implementation. I believe one of the major reasons for these failures is how candidates are supposed to run for elective office.

For me I believe if we could find a way to have candidates run for office without the need to raise large sums of money so that when elected the winners are not as influenced as much by campaign contributions as they currently are.

The solution is Public financing of political campaigns in a fair and constitutional way. Every time I ran for office in the past a major part of what had to be done is to "beg" for money from many sources in order to be viable. It is demeaning, unhealthy, and disgusting. I believe it causes too much devotion to misguided ideals and ideas. If a way can be found to have campaigns paid for by the public or maybe a group of non-profits (although this creates another problem) so that no elected officials are not subject to special interests because of campaign contributions.

Of course there is also the problem of special interest groups that can organize and take over caucuses in order to push their agenda. This has been happening for several years in Minneapolis for sure, in fact some of the delegates are also paid by the city as neighborhood city staff. I believe this system of governmental staff becoming delegates that then have the power to endorse candidates is also effecting how other office holders are being elected. In this case and outsider has little chance gaining an endorsement and because of the lack of endorsement stands little chance to win the election. The bottom line is something needs to be done about the political caucus system in Minnesota.


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The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
Dan Loritz (Chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman




The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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