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 Response Page - Civic Caucus Discussion - Gubernatorial Campaign  -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Civic Caucus Discussion of Involvement in the Gubernatorial campaign

The Questions:

_9.2 average _____ 1.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether the Civic Caucus should prepare a short list of the most urgent public questions facing Minnesota at this time in its history, which we would encourage candidates for Governor to address?

_8.7 average _____ 2.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether the Civic Caucus should conduct interviews with candidates for Governor, highlight the urgent public questions, and share summaries of these interviews?

_7.0 average _____ 3.  On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on whether the Civic Caucus should promote a more open primary election next year by urging candidates to file for Governor even if they don't receive party endorsement?

David Durenberger (8) (10) (10)

The challenge is to reach agreement on the questions and the response format.  Perhaps give them each the questions in advance and give them time to prep both the answers and what it is about them and their experiences, values etc that qualifies them to provide leadership in addressing answers.

Fred Zimmerman (10) (7) (10)

On the one hand, it might be fruitful for Civic Caucus to interview potential gubernatorial candidates. However, Gary Eichten and others will be doing this. I interviewed Governor Pawlenty for one of the manufacturing publications a few months ago. With no fault to the Governor, it did not work out as well as I thought it would. There simply was not time to explore any questions thoroughly.

I think Civic Caucus could best serve the community by formulating and communicating well-thought-out insightful and practical solutions to the most pressing problems facing our communities. What might be helpful is for Civic Caucus to forward to Gary Eichten some well-thought-out questions. I am sure he would appreciate it.

Al Quie (10) (10) (20)

Scott Halstead (5) (_) (_)

Question 1:   If this is a feasible process, Civic Caucus needs to partner with a statewide media


Question 3:  We need a candidate selection process that doesn't rely upon internal and external wealth and a few influential people.  We need candidates that bring consensus, accomplish and conduct/manage the states business interests in the best interests of the citizens and the environment. 

Eric Schubert (10) (10) (10)

Glenn S. Dorfman

The Civic Caucus should work with other civic-minded groups to help develop a comprehensive set of questions for candidates for Governor. As the Candidates receive a plethora of surveys from special interests and special interests disguised as public interest groups, the Civic Caucus, Citizens League and a few others could judge all submitted questions on the basis of the overall public interest rather than individual or group agendas.

This "referee" role would serve the majority of Minnesotans well in next years election.

Peter Hennessey (7) (8) (8)

The primary question you have to ask yourselves is, can you be truly non-partisan and reach out to a broad and representative spectrum of voters, or will you be intellectually honest and admit that you cannot possibly be non-partisan and therefore your questions, issues and recommendations will be unavoidably, openly and frankly partisan.

The secondary question is whether your contributions will be available to the general public (and will they pay attention) or circulated only among the civic-minded such as the Caucus.

Question 1: The list should not be short, it should be representative of voter's concerns. A governor does not have the luxury of focusing on just the top few problems.

Question 2:  To the extent that you can be non-partisan and fair, and the questions reflect general, not partisan, concerns, the interviews could be a great service to voters.

Question 3:  The place to promote candidates is within the primaries, but if there really is an unaffiliated candidate with a serious following, then by all means, the least the Caucus can do is include him in the interviews. But I oppose any notion of "open" primary. That is simply a means to deny a party -- a voluntary association of more or less like-minded individuals -- their right to select a candidate of their choice, by a bunch of outsiders who do not share their views. The place where independent candidates can compete and run without prior party endorsement is in the general election. If you are talking about candidates within a party running in that party's primary, then I agree that there should not be any endorsements by the party leadership in the primary; party endorsement should go to the winner of the primary -- isn't that what the primary is for? Otherwise we have machine politics, as I have personally seen here in SF; time and time again the Burton machine appointed the successors to one or the other of the brothers in Congress, including a wife and now Nancy the Speaker, also mayors and even congress(wo)men, guaranteed winners in wildly gerrymandered adjacent districts.

What you propose is a difficult task because the very questions will reflect the interviewer's bias. Liberals and conservatives, democrats, republicans and libertarians simply do not have the same issues and concerns, they do not have the same views about government's role in society. 

The difficulty of the Caucus doing a non-partisan job successfully is indicated by details in the proposal itself. Conservatives in general rely on common sense and experience, they do not turn to "experts" in "issues;" that is a liberal thing. Conservatives do not have to ask if "values" are "relevant;" only liberals wonder about that (dismissively). I agree it is a practical consideration to worry about interviewing too many candidates; but it is more often a liberal thing to prioritize a list like that, if only to show that conservatives are "fringe" candidates. Conservatives do not worry about bias in the media -- that is a given; only liberals would try to make you believe that public TV and radio are fair and balanced. 

Certainly the issues you selected for discussion since you put me on your mailing list (thank you) reflect the expectation or bias that many if not all of society's problems must be solved by government.

But no, on this day when we reflect on the foundations of this great nation, I have no reason to be skeptical.

Bill Hamm (0) (0) (0)

Question 1:  As Chair of the 8th CD IP I find your involvement in such an effort as a misguided effort to influence the election. Who chooses the most pertinent issues as nothing will show your political biases more? Your stepping on a slippery slope with your credibility with no way back to good footing once your committed, please reconsider.

Question 2:  Again not your place, and considering some of the biases I have seen on this site to date this would be a fool's game, stay out of politics; it is not your realm.

Question 3: Are you going to cross endorse as well? Mark Dayton will do just fine at that without your help.

Are you planning on joining Minnesota 20/20 in the political biased think tank arena and then try to call yourself multi-partisan. Only teachers buy that kind of garbage. Hope to have added to the overwhelming majority opposed to this direction change.

Alan Miller (10) (10) (5)

George Pillsbury (10) (5) (10)

Connie Morrison (8) (10) (8)

Bert Press (10) (10) (10)

Terry Stone (10) (10) (0)

To resolve the issue with interviewing such a large number of candidates without waiting until the parties have cranked up to forward their favorites, do the following:

--Send an initial survey to all likely candidates asking for their areas of interest and ask, within this survey, whether the candidate would be amenable to participating in a policy interview. Iím guessing that roughly half will blow off the survey and half of the respondents will have no interest in nailing down their ideas so early in the race.

--Be sure to put the ball in the candidateís court by requesting that, if interested, they contact the Caucus to arrange a time for an interview to be held in the next few months. This measure is actually a test of the candidateís ability to follow-through.

--Wait two or three months for the normal ablation and self-cannibalization of the candidate pool.

--Avoid the laudable but impractical urge to treat all candidates equally. Parents make this mistake with their children. All candidates are not created equal and there is no reason to pretend otherwise. There are crackpots, incompetents, power mongers, and charlatans in any field of politicians the size of our present and growing gubernatorial candidate pool.

This should result in fewer viable candidates to interview.  In a short while, I think we can all agree on a small number of the most qualified candidates and focus our efforts on the real world and a manageable population of real candidates. We shouldnít exclude a highly motivated candidate who wants to be interviewed, but we donít need to go out of our way to twist arms to get an interview.

Would it be asking too much if we requested that candidates for Governor not accept PAC money? It seems so fundamental. When we elect our governor, he should be our governor. Many tough decisions need to be made and it would be best if our Governorís judgment was uncluttered by special interest groups to whom he or she owes a debt of gratitude.

Question 3:  Itís not the system thatís broken; itís the electorate. Only apathy and ignorance allow extreme interests to control political parties.

Vici Oshiro (10) (10) (1)

Question 3:  I prefer the multiple endorsements proposal. 

Tim Olson (7) (7) (3)

Bright Dornblaser (10) (10) (10)

Question 1:  Suggested questions for the candidates:  What are the three most important priority issues for Minnesota, what is your position on them, and why?

How would restructure health and human services to reduce the state budget while maintaining a safety net for the economically disadvantaged?

What leadership actions/processes will you take to reduce the political polarization in MN governance?

Austin Chapman (10) (8) (6)

Charles Lutz (10) (10) (8)

Question 2:    And, while certainly not the most important one, a public question that should be included is whether a candidate supports moving to approval of same-sex civil marriage in Minnesota.

Chuck Slocum (10) (10) (10)

I recommend that the Civic Caucus do all that it can, through its members, to provide sound counsel and otherwise mentor the many fine candidates for governor. Though such individual and collective efforts, good things for Minnesota will result;  CC should quietly ďcause it to happenĒ in a nonpartisan manner.

John Nowicki (7) (1) (10)

John Cairns (10) (10) (5)

Ray Ayotte (10) (10) (10)

Donald H. Anderson (10) (0) (0)

Wayne Jennings (10) (10) (8)

On stating issues, candidates should detail the processes for accomplishing their priorities including finding allies and overcoming obstacles and status quo. They should also describe the funding.

Steve Tjeltveit (8) (9) (4)

Bob White (10) (10) (8)

Question 1:  Emphasize short.  Doing so would help make clear comparisons.

Question 2:  Keep in mind two purposes. 

    One purpose is to get a sense of the candidate's personality, general approach to issues, and ideas on decision-making.  This is subjective and impressionistic; it does not lend itself to wide distribution.

    The second purpose is more like the public-questions list -- short and specific.  But unlike written responses, a discussion of selected issues during an interview gives a candidate a chance to expand on them and permits give and take. A summary could be widely distributed.

Steven Hardie (10) (10) (5)

Paul Hauge (10) (10) (8)

Interviews with a nonpartisan group should be welcomed by potential candidates and being exposed to insightful questions should be of great value to candidates who run with only minimum exposure to the real issues.

Royce Sanner (10) (10) (10)

Jim Keller (10) (10) (10)

David Broden (10) (10) (10)

Question 1:  The Civic Caucus definitely should prepare a list of questions, and it should be broad based and explained as a set of questions of true statewide attention. The format for the question distribution may be as critical as the specific questions. If the Civic Caucus establishes the questions alone and distributes the questions this will get one type of response. If we can be the catalyst for the questions and have them distributed and communicated by perhaps a group of media or other public service groups it make get more ensured attention both from candidates and from the public as well as the media and other critics. This topic needs to proceed ahead with focus on the questions, how to distribute, and how to follow up and distribute the responses.

Question 2:  Again this requires some thought about 1) which candidates; 2) how: and which questions. Then how do we distribute the responses to have impact.

Question 3:  The Civic Caucus should promote and encourage active and open primary election process. However how we do this requires some thought. We also need to wait for an appropriate time to suggest that all or most candidates file for the office. The CC position to begin with should be that we need high priority on the governor race and the related discuss across the state and within the political process System. Since we are locked into the caucus system as it is for next year then perhaps we should help (in some way to force the caucuses to work as an open process)--Making the caucus system work will be difficult but perhaps not impossible. When the system appears to fail then all filling should be the focus. Thus timing and pressure must be the focus.

Clarence Shallbetter (9) (9) (7)

David Dillon (10) (10) (10)

Kent Eklund (9) (8) (2)

Robert A. Freeman (8) (10) (3)

Rick Krueger (8) (3) (9)

Question 2:  If I didn't doubt that you would be successful in getting all key candidates, I would be more receptive to #2.

David Pierson (10) (10) (10)

Bill Frenzel (10) (10) (5)

Question 1:  Short list; short questions.

Question 3:  Depends on candidates and the situation.

Donna Anderson (10) (10) (9)

Norman Carpenter (10) (10) (5)

See Jay Kiedrowski piece in the Star Tribune:

Gene Franchett (10) (10) (10)

Pam Ellison (10) (10) (10)

Larry Schluter (10) (9) (9)

I would wait until later in the year to interview candidates who are really serious about running.  This would probably include those who have setup a formal campaign committee.  We need to get the candidates to focus on the real long term issues that affect this state and how they would accomplish them rather than short sound bites. 

Kathleen Anderson (10) (10) (10-plus)

Shirley Heaton (10) (10) (5)

I firmly believe the purpose of the Caucus is to be fully informed on as many issues as possible and delving into the political side is imperative. As for the open primary proposal for next year -- a nice idea but timing is too short unless there's a way to explore it through the Independent category.

Sheila Kiscaden (9) (3) (5)

 Question 2:  Given that there are already close to 30 will not have time to interview them all in a sequence or order that will make sense, especially if you intend to encourage an open primary approach and will need to interview all candidates.

Question 3:  All the rules and financing favor candidates from recognized major parties. And even with three recognized major parties the final result has been electing a Gov on a plurality rather than a majority of the vote...and I am not totally comfortable that is a positive outcome for the state.

Jim Olson (7) (10) (8)

Peter Heegaard (10) (10) (5)

It may be necessary to conduct interviews by phone or by questionnaire because of the numbers. I think the choice on primary entrance should be left to the candidate.

Lyall Schwarzkopf (8) (8) (5)

Question 3:  Both parties will want to endorse and they will not be interested in an open primary.

Shari Prest (10) (10) (7)

David Detert (10) (10) (2) 

Christine Brazelton (10) (10) (5)

It is important as we compare candidate's responses that the questions start out the same, and that our follow up questions remain as consistent and neutral/non partisan as



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

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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