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 Response Page - Leafblad, Fragnito & Casserly  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Lars Leafblad, Geno Fragnito, & Michael Casserly, Sr.  Interview of 04-22-


Two representatives from Minnesota's CPA professional association and an executive recruiter describe the need from their perspectives for a state vision. Such a vision must be led by the governor, but may be supported and encouraged by the legislature. A vision that describes what the state seeks to be is a necessary precursor to effective state planning.

For the complete interview summary see:

Response Summary:  Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed by Leafblad, Fragnito and Casserly.  Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

1. Vision lacking. (8.2 average response) Minnesota lacks a vision of what the state's direction is or should be.

2. Objective necessary. (6.9 average response) Many assumptions about the future of the state can be listed, but without a well-defined underlying objective,  those assumptions will fall apart.

3. Governor to lead. (6.3 average response) While widespread involvement by the people of the state is essential, the process of preparing a vision needs to begin and end with the Governor.

4. Define action steps. (7.6 average response) A vision for the state is useful only if accompanied by specific steps for how the vision will become a reality.

5. Consensus more difficult. (6.9 average response) The state's challenge in gaining consensus on vision is much greater today because of more cultural diversity and political polarization.


Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree


Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Vision lacking.







2. Objective necessary.







3. Governor to lead.







4. Define action steps.







5. Consensus more difficult.







Individual Responses:

Debby Frenzel  (10)  (5)  (2.5)  (10)  (7.5)

Pat Barnum  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (2.5)  (7.5)

3. Governor to lead. The problem with this is that it becomes incredibly political. And every time the power shifts even a little, we'll start over with a "new" vision. I would rather there be a vision that stands the test of time (relatively, certainly changes in technology, economics, at a state and national level would require adjustments), no matter who is in power. In fact, wouldn't it be refreshing if during a campaign the candidates would debate how their plans and efforts will help meet the vision already set out and supported by the people?

4. Define action steps. This is where many organizations end up paralyzed. Getting everyone to agree on why you have a vision and what should be included keeps you from setting the overall vision (or mission statement), and then semantics of what "goals" or "objectives" or "values" should be established to support that vision get too blurry for leadership to actually move on.

Mark Borman  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

1. Vision lacking. Regarding a friendlier startup environment, you may want to take a close look at Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City is a fast growing technology center (a.k.a. Silicon Slopes). Utah ranks as one of the top states for doing business in some of the most important national rankings In a 53-page profile, Utah’s growth potential was featured in the March 2011 Delta Sky Magazine at     Did you see the 2010 State of the New Economy Index– see Page 7 for Overall Scores and Page 8-11 on Category Rankings.  Despite significant population differences, Utah is rated Overall 12th and Minnesota 13th.  Utah ranks 3rd in fastest growing firms (Minnesota is 21st) and 5th in venture capital (Minnesota is 11th).  Utah ranks 1st in Inventor Patents and Online Populations compared to Minnesota at 9th and 7th, respectively.    SLC’s small businesses achieve premium prices per recent BusinessWeek article.  Also, construction has begun on the National Security Administration’s new top-secret $1.5 billion dollar cyber security center at Camp Williams.    The Daily Pulse is an electronic daily newsletter with technology news from a collaborative of business and UT government sources—see   Lastly, Salt Lake City seems to be deploying The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life by Richard Florida (Jan 2004)

Polly Bergerson  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

5. Consensus more difficult. But, change of status quo needs to come before a vision. This state and our government need to realize that the election process cannot and should not guide how the government runs. We need to have people strong enough to make decisions for the common good and move back to a culture that is not dependent but nourishes independence, and they need to start with themselves. Look into their own motives and staff and begin changes there in order to make good solid changes for the future of this state.

Rick Krueger  (5)  (2.5)  (5)  (10)  (10)

1. Vision lacking. We not only have "a" vision but multiple visions.  The general tone of the discussion left one to conclude it is the governor that sets the vision.  However, this is a representative democracy with split powers along with checks and balances.   In such a process it is difficult for anyone to have vision when others are poking them in the eyes, which appears to be the sport of the political process.  As the old adage goes, "governors propose, the legislature disposes".  This is a dynamic not as prevalent in corporate cultures.  In addition, the infusion of information technologies has probably led to more people reinforcing what they already believed versus searching for answers based on the facts; players inside and outside the political process now can manufacture their own "facts".  So is there "a" vision, no, and there is not going to one in the foreseeable future.

2. Objective necessary. Future assumptions such as in the transportation arena have not inspired policy makers to take action on an issue critical to our future economic well being.  Election cycles and campaigns generally have more to do with what will take place on major issues than the assumptions. The fact of the matter is, the legislative process is disjointed (although some issues that seem unrelated impinge on the outcome of others).  But that just makes things more difficult, but not impossible to address long-term structural issues.

3. Governor to lead. The governor needs to have a vision, but see the answer to #1.  There was the reference in someone's presentation to Minnesota Milestones initiated around 1991.  I know a lot of time and energy went into that effort, but MM didn't even get proposed until late in the legislative session that year and generally didn't garner impact on the legislative agenda even years after.  I think the intent of MM was to become more outcome based in all things including budgeting.  However, one major deficiency is that departments measured what they could identify and not necessarily what ultimately was important.  Another problem is that legislators and interest groups who didn't buy in on any level became major obstacles. To be objective, those that were inclined to believe an agency was operating ineffectively, still thought so after.

Gary Van Eyl  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

1. Vision lacking. In order to excel a community (state) needs to have a vision and to identify with the reasoning behind this vision.

2. Objective necessary. Where will Minnesota be in 5 - 10 - 20 - 50 years?  We need a plan to excel in the future.

3. Governor to lead. You also need buy in by the legislative branch of our government.

5. Consensus more difficult. To achieve this buy in you need to have the governor (a staff member) and a representative of both the party leadership to work together for this vision.  If each party had this vision in mind when making decisions for our future they would at least have to agree on accomplishing the vision with their decision.  Good luck!

W. D. (Bill) Hamm  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)

1. Vision lacking. Issues like our miserable failure of an education system, in the shadow of our lost historic excellence, has taken all the trust out of this progressive power wave. It had steadily gained force since teachers and public employee unionization in 1964, until now when the rubber is meeting the road. When we finally undo the damage they did undermining local decision-making it will be hard to form any holistic non-socialist vision.

2. Objective necessary. As an example, we can talk all we want about fixing the education system but until we actually do it. The assumption is that we are actually going to fix education this time. What we lack is any well-defined objective on how that is going to be done, so we do like the Independence Party and keep doing what has consistently failed every time before. Yes, the assumption will fall apart again on every issue that boils down to hyper-partisan politics.

3. Governor to lead. Historically this has worked for us in the past; it didn't work for us this time. None of the top 3 candidates showed any sign of the vision we need. I strongly suggest that it may be a long wait and that we should consider and act on other possibilities while we wait.

4. Define action steps. Seems like a common sense statement of the failure of so many great visions.

5. Consensus more difficult. The problem is the minorities holding power in both parties are out of touch with the people they serve. The hopeful thing is that we are seeing movement toward change.

Greg Davidson  (10)  (10)  (2.5)  (7.5)  (10)

1. Vision lacking. I've lived in the metro for 29 years working mostly in small business lending; and recently with a larger economic development group. I don't see leadership and collaboration. Bloomington is still competing against Eden Prairie, against Minneapolis, etc. City & State regulations, and the cost of all taxes are high compared to most other US States. I hope The Itasca Project in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, corporate leaders and Legislators from both parties create a plan with some short-term goals to: assist business start-ups, increase education outcomes, and promote the positives the Metro offers versus other coastal states, e.g.: average housing costs are lower, shorter commute times, some VCs, decent science grads from area colleges, sports/parks/arts; and decent further development of international connections via our corporations, University and foundations that many mid-west regions don't have.

3. Governor to lead. Governor needs to help bring private and public leaders together, and then be the spokesperson. It will take a leader(s) to say we need one regional economic development association that promotes the metro and the state; but that the current disparate economic developement agencies aren't making the grade.

4. Define action steps. There will need to be a strong leader who's willing to say, the plan is not perfect, but we need to start something within a year; and not study this topic to death. Plans need to be flexible. I believe many larger companies/government (groups) spend too much time planning and specifically needing to meet the plan; and forget that life/business change; thus meeting a specific plan is not as important as is growth and quality improvement.

Don Anderson  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (10)

1. Vision lacking. Are our leaders more concerned about reelection than a vision for the future? It seems like that is their main agenda.

3. Governor to lead. The Governor needs cooperation from all other parties, including the Legislature, in order to develop a meaningful vision.

Ray Schmitz  (5)  (0)  (2.5)  (10)  (10)

1. Vision lacking. My problem is with the concept: “vision for the state”, what does that really mean?  If a business drafts a vision statement it tends to focus on the business that exists and how it can change, but government is now so broad in its business that finding a vision would be absurdly complex.

2. Objective necessary. See above; the real future of the business of government is easy to define and focus on, but (it is) entirely too easy to get political goals mixed in.

3. Governor to lead. Back to my first point, lets find goals and work toward them.

5. Consensus more difficult. I am not sure that diversity is a problem but certainly polarization is because it has become a goal instead of something to be worked around.  That is, the goal is to get elected and to control.

Peter Hennessey  (7.5)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (7.5)

1. Vision lacking. If Minnesota is anything like all the other states or even the entire country, this is true.  But, what is questionable is the underlying, implied assumption that there should be a vision at all, especially at the government level. If the government (at any level) is the servant of the people, then no one working in any government job should have a "vision." Their responsibilities are specified in the constitutional and legal foundations that created their jobs in the first place. The "vision" is defined in the Declaration of Independence, in the US Constitution, in the Federalist Papers, and in the corresponding documents at the state and local levels.

2. Objective necessary. This may be true in a philosophical, logical sense. Maybe, but I doubt it, because it is only in the legal profession that you assert and objective and then try to create supporting assumptions or find evidence to support it. In every other profession, first you observe facts -- seemingly random, unrelated at first; then you form a hypothesis, and then you test it objectively against observations under as many different conditions as you can arrange, to see if the hypothesis hold up.  See also "But," in question 1.

3. Governor to lead. See question 1.  A free people do not need a governor or any other level of government to give them a "vision." A free people, a free market of goods and ideas create their own vision, arising from free participants engaging in free exchange and free competition.

4. Define action steps. No, No, No. See the previous question. What are you advocating, a micromanaged dictatorship from above? How does that square with our founding as a free people?

5. Consensus more difficult. Whoa, horsey. Of course you are creating unnecessary complications when you first destroy the founding philosophical principle of a nation that was created not by biology but by philosophy. E Pluribus Unum, remember that one? Decades of politically correct propaganda for "diversity," or "multiculturalism," or "tolerance" for everything except the "white male establishment," a politically motivated immigration policy, etc., have deliberately divided us, fragmented us into hostile camps; the Ruling Class in our governments and in our schools have maligned and refused even to mention the traditional American emphasis on the few basic ideas that unite us into one people regardless of biological or geographical origins. Until you reverse that "vision," you will continue to make problems worse and worse.

Dave Broden  (10)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (7.5)  (0)

1. Vision lacking. Minnesota needs a visions-this vision must be a "Brand" and make a statement that has "Ownership by all Citizens of Minnesota"--including all demographics and across all corners of the state. To do this, any effort to form and define a vision cannot be St. Paul driven; it must start and mature as a statewide objective. A vision by one area of the state may be different than another --thus some melding of ideas and thoughts must be central to the definition. A vision that does not have statewide buy in, ownership, and commitment will likely be worse than not having one. A Minnesota "Brand" can be done and must be done but in this case the process and structure of who forms the vision will be critical.

2. Objective necessary. We need to be careful about the statement or statements such as the question 2. It certainly is possible to make a list of some very key and critical needs and then act through the executive, legislative, and private sectors to make these happen. It is unlikely that the assumptions or results would fall about but the effectiveness and results may be less than desired or require several actions. It clearly is not appropriate to state that Minnesota cannot shape its future without a stated singular vision. Multiple, well stated objectives will help--lets not delay one for the other.  Minnesota can likely agree on a list of objectives from which to start. Let’s get going.

3. Governor to lead. I will be one to challenge this common theme that the governor must be the one to start the vision action and ensure that it happens. I give more credit to the potential of the legislators who have the sense of the state from their area.  The legislature can establish and plan and actions to establish a “vision” or “”. The private sector has shown leadership with some parts of a vision; education groups can do this and (have) in the past (can they do it again?) The Star Tribune played a major role in state actions--now we see TPT and MPR having interest. If we lock into a view the governor must do we get the action or should multiple vision start and then coordinate at the end?

4. Define action steps. A vision for Minnesota is really no different than a corporate or organization vision except that it encompasses a wider diversity of demographics, geography, economy, governmental units etc. In all strategic plans most begin with a vision, then a mission, followed by a well defined set of tactics and then the specific actions. The Minnesota vision ("Brand") must be linked to these steps but the various levels do not need to be set in the first step. Let’s get a vision and some keys linked to the vision in several priority areas and then evolve the details. One key point to remember is that Vision and Mission and Tactics must be dynamic and allowed to change at all times-- a static vision, and related actions will not achieve the objective of a stronger and better Minnesota for all.

5. Consensus more difficult. To state that establishing a vision and approach is more difficult due to diversity and polarization or any other factor is a statement that we have leadership who will not or do not believe that these actions will be beneficial. Changes in diversity, economy, and politics should be viewed by leaders as a need and opportunity for change and related action--not a time to do nothing because it is perhaps too hard to do. It is moving on the “too hard” things that separate strong leaders from managers. We have had too many years of managing Minnesota, not leading Minnesota --lets see some leadership and move ahead.

Dennis L. Johnson  (7.5)  (2.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)

5. Consensus more difficult. General comments: Almost did not respond since I think "the vision thing" is a fruitless search for a Holy Grail that will magically unite a very divided populace in Minnesota. It is a great time-waster, reminding me of so many of the fruitlessly vague academic discussions I sat in on at the U. of Pa. and later.    As long as half the state wants to be California, with snow, and the other half wants to be Texas, with rainfall, no progress can be made toward a common vision. And maybe there is little need for a "vision".  If the panelists had named one example of a state that has succeeded because of a "vision", I would be more impressed.    Maybe it is enough to have a state that encourages its citizens to pursue their own visions with the least constraint necessary from the state. Those who believe in an overriding vision created and led by a governor are, at best, statists and progressives. We now are seeing the results of this statism on a national scale. It is doomed to failure.

John Sievert  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

5. Consensus more difficult. I do think many things transcend all of these obstacles - for example if we are for economic development and we properly understand the requirement for education in that (on a fact basis) then that part of the vision can be obtained.  However, there needs to be the missionary work to explain the why and the how of it.

Will Shapira  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)

1. Vision lacking. I think it must begin with the governor, but of course this is going to vary from one governor to the next. Complicating Minnesota government, though, is the self-serving goal of the new Republicans and Tea Partiers who are hell bent on making their political agenda Minnesota's, taking their cue from national counterparts. Politics first, good government.... where? if?  

2. Objective necessary. See response to No. 1.

3. Governor to lead. A governor always should request input from the people and take the best from it. See also answer to No. 1.

4. Define action steps. Specific steps help a lot but must not preclude alternative suggestions.   See answer to No. 1 also.

5. Consensus more difficult. Could not agree more. Who has the answer to reducing if not eliminating political polarization? That would be a good topic for another panel and the sooner the better.

Bruce A. Lundeen  (7.5)  (5)  (10)  (10)  (2.5)

3. Governor to lead. The Governor should act without positioning for re-election, speaking to and for both sides of the aisle.

5. Consensus more difficult. It would seem the economic health of the State would be on another level, and it is upon another level in which a vision resides.

Anonymous   (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

Chuck Lutz  (9)  (7)  (9)  (8)  (8)

Shari Prest  (9)  (8)  (9)  (9)  (10)

Chuck Slocum  (10)  (10)  (5)  (10)  (5)

3. Far easier to get a governor on board than the rest of us; it’s what happens in between the beginning and the end that really matters. 

5. I tell clients, “plan your work and work your plan…”  Far easier to do in the private sector than with an expansive, multi-jurisdictional state--$32B budget and 5.3M residents—with game-changing elections every two years. Dealing with cultural diversity and political polarization is only part of the “ownership” challenge. All of this makes it even more important that proper state of Minnesota “visioning” be done and done well.

John Milton  (7)  (8)  (8)  (10)  (10)

It’s not so much cultural diversity, rather it's the insane polarization of the politicians, and the loss of what once was a moderate Republican point of view (think MN Miracle).

Tom Spitznagle  (10)  (8)  (8)  (10)  (6)

Paul and Ruth Hauge  (8)  (9)  (6)  (9)  (9)

George Pillsbury  (10)  (10)  (5)  (5)  (7)

Good Luck  

Wayne Jennings  (10)  (8)  (8)  (8)  (9)

I love the idea of a state vision to guide and inspire us. Don’t know if it’s possible but let’s explore that idea.

Carolyn Ring  (8)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (na)

Terry Stone  (0)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (0)

1.  The idea that Minnesota lacks a vision of what the state's direction is, or should be, is fatally flawed. Minnesota has two powerful and crystal clear visions for Minnesota; each with its eager adherents. One vision is for a Minnesota with personal responsibility and the opportunity to excel and enjoy the benefits of doing so. This vision believes that every Minnesotan is born with the opportunity to work hard and compete; with few limits on growth and success while unencumbered by government to the greatest extent reasonable. This first vision believes that citizens can and should spend their money more productively than the state government of Minnesota. This vision believes that personal property rights assure the finest stewardship of property; and protects our state from the tragedy of the commons.

A second vision believes that gender, racial, economic, academic, cultural and social equality need to be achieved at the expense of productive components of the Minnesota population. This vision believes that less productive members of our Minnesota society must be elevated at the expense of the more productive members of our society.
Adherents to this vision dehumanize the accumulators and holders of investment pools with terms like rich and fortunate while insisting on imposing a definition of fair that justifies the confiscation of money in disproportion to Minnesota infrastructure and services used by successful Minnesotans. This second vision aspires to have us believe that one’s presence in Minnesota, legal or not, is attended by a number of birth rights providing individuals with a vast cornucopia of services provided by government and funded by the productive components of Minnesota society. This vision of Minnesota believes that the commons best provides integrity of the environment and best decides our transportation needs, the heating methods our homes, what habits we practice, where we can use an outboard motor, what we can do on our private property, how much of our crop land is dedicated to our gas tank and how much of our money we get to keep after paying the 37 taxes of Minnesota.

These starkly different visions are so well defined, a political party has arisen to propitiate for each of them. It is simply misguided to state that Minnesota lacks a common vision when, in fact, it has two of them; both well-known and exhaustively delineated and articulated visions.

2. It is not true that: assumptions about the future of the state can be listed, but without a well-defined underlying objective, those assumptions will fall apart.  It is up to the individual to live the life he finds most fulfilling and vote for candidates who will take that vision to St. Paul and implement a government that best serves that individual choice.
It is not the role of the governor or the legislature to divine a golden path into the future on behalf of the less well-informed citizens of our state. It is the responsibility of the governor to look up the meaning of tsunami and execute the legislative intent of the people of Minnesota. It is the responsibility of the legislature to fulfill one of the most crystal clear visions and subsequent mandates in recent memory. The vision has changed to better serve the people and the people have explained this very carefully in their writing style that consists of little exes scribed unto the November 2010 ballot.
For the attentive, both assumptions about the future and a well-defined underlying objective are bold and obvious; as rarely seen before.

3.   It is not true that while widespread involvement by the people of the state is essential, the process of preparing a vision needs to begin and end with the Governor.
The vision for the future of Minnesota comes straight to state government from the ballot box. The proper role of the governor is to avoid blowing off the voters, to eschew catering to special interests, to avoid additional revenue streams for further bloating state government and to review the global success rate of centralized planning.
4.   A vision for the state is not useful only if it is accompanied by specific steps for how the vision will become a reality. It is the job of the people to share their vision at the ballot box and for the legislature to encode that vision in the required laws to achieve that vision. Frequently the role of the legislature will be to remove laws in which previous debunked faddish or unsustainable visions were previously encoded. The lure of centralized top-down command and control of a state vision is palpable. Yet, once set in place, a central committee-style vision takes on a life of its own and an undesirable inertia that serves our state poorly.

5.   Some believe that the state's challenge in gaining consensus on vision is much greater today because of more cultural diversity and political polarization. Actually, political polarization is much more intense today because of cultural diversity that provides stronger multiple visions for Minnesota.  Rural cultural is pitted against metro centric culture. Rural taxpayers receive little benefit from light rail schemes born of metropolitan global visions. Urban renters have more enthusiasm for common public property while homeowners and rural landowners have less need for common public assets. Urban dwellers see private property rights only as a distant dot in their rear view mirror. Citizens in counties that have not decimated the expectations of private property rights through zoning have an interest in state protection of those rights.  Urban taxpayers are not, or should not, be fond of supporting a rural higher education network that is largely dysfunctional, wildly expensive, bloated and ultimately inefficient and unsustainable.  Citizens who have low incomes will have enthusiastic attitudes about tax schemes that “soak the rich”. Taxpayers who hold our state’s pools of investment capital and the seeds for growing the trusts and foundations that fuel our state will think poorly of efforts to confiscate their money.  Citizens who live among core city crime will better understand the need to fund our criminal justice system. Relatively crime-free counties will be less eager to support tax policies that fund criminal justice components of Minnesota government.  Taxpayers from a culture of socialism will have a hard time appreciating a vision that worships personal responsibility, individuality and superlative achievement.  No, polarized politics isn’t keeping us from singing a single unified chorus of Cumbaya. The diversity of interests and the excesses of cultural trends have demanded different visions that drive political disparity.

Roy Thompson  (9)  (8)  (5)  (7)  (8)

It is hard to hit the bulls eye when you don't know where the target is.
Or, it is hard to know when you get there if you don't know where you are going.

Al Quie  (na)  (na)  (10)  (10)  (0)

It is difficult to express a vision for a "state". The discussion below shifts from bemoaning a lack of vision for state government and something more nebulous, using the words "the state". The latter would include all economic, political and belief systems.
Speaking of State government only, it is obvious that the governor is the person who has most responsibility to articulate its vision. The governor's vision for the finances of state government can be helped by people who head both for profit and nonprofit organizations. The vision for education can be assisted those who understand the forces which impede children's cognitive development and the impact of parents and teachers on each child. The governor's vision for health and human services or the infrastructure likewise should be developed with the help of knowledgeable people in these areas. The problem is that there are two goals involved. One is money and other is the product delivered or the service to the people. For instance, is an automobile company in business mostly to make money or to provide efficient vehicles to make peoples lives more satisfying and productive? The leaders of any institution needs to over ride their selfish interests. That is where developing the state government's vision or even goals fall down. Such easy slogans as "no new taxes or revenue" on the one hand or "tax the rich" on the other are an impediment to establishing a vision. Basically, a vision for the state government needs to incorporate three words, no matter how expressed, Liberty, Justice and Safety.

Leanne Kunze  (4)  (9)  (7)  (9)  (10)

Fred Senn  (10)  (7)  (7)  (6)  (10)

Shirley Heaton  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)

How interesting the subject this time since Florida just elected into office a 'take charge' governor -- a billionaire who was able to run his candidacy pretty much on his own terms -- who has upset nearly everyone you meet with his vision-changing agenda. And he didn't do too badly with the legislature, which just completed its session, getting quite a bit of his program approved --although I can't help wondering what kind of tradeoffs he had to make to get his way. His game is to turn business loose, invite more diversification thereby setting an environment for more money, more jobs, etc. etc. etc. So have another caucus like this one, this time next year, and I'll be able to relate whether or not Minnesota is on the right track with its plans (as I'm certain there is no doubt but there should or will be) so I'll not be responding to the report, this time.

Bright Dornblaser  (10)  (5)  (8)  (9)  (4)

Jim Kielkopf  (7)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (0)

Interesting and thought-provoking comments from the CPA trio, but as I read through their discussion it occurred to me that we can thank God the state is not entrusted to a CPA firm.  While true that Minnesota seems to lack a shared vision for the state, I disagree of with most of their comments after that. First, the state is not an organization, like a firm or a hockey association, which are governed largely by institutions outside of their own purview.  The state is the body of institutions -- it is an organization set up for the purpose of governing the activities of other organizations within it, and literally nothing else.  (Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economics last year because of her work in this area.)    The state doesn't need a vision, but leaders within the state do if they are to use the institutional framework of the state to compel their fellow citizens to coordinate their activities in ways to achieve their vision.  But that's just an exercise of raw power, nothing more.  To argue that the governor needs to set the vision for the state is to argue that the governor needs to be powerful enough to compel his political opponents into cooperation with his vision instead of theirs -- a very naive interpretation of how government works in a democracy. 

The fact of the matter is that elections provide for defining visions, and there is a good reason why the visions of past governors such as Rudy Perpich are gone now -- the opposition Republican party has grown stronger and can now contest DFL visions of the state, but they aren't strong enough to compel the state to accept its own.  Discussion of visions and the hope for righteous king (I mean governor) to lead on it are inherently undemocratic.  It is up to us to contest the vision and organize to enact it -- to compel the governor and legislature to enact it and the bureaucracy to implement it.  That's what FDR meant when he said, "I agree with you, now make me do it."  In a democracy, we have to lead from the bottom on things like visions.

Arvonne Fraser  (7)  (7)  (3)  (7)  (7)

The governor needs to get buy-in from the legislature and the citizenry.  A vision needs goals and objectives and what elements are necessary to achieve them.  It is not a one-man job.

Ralph Brauer  (10)  (9)  (3)  (4)  (2)

This would have benefited from some input by a historian. I would suggest starting with James MacGregor Burns who defines the essence of transformational leadership as values NOT vision.  Burns writes, "The only solution to would-be national leaders in democracies is to attempt to mobilize people behind values that powerfully express the wants, needs, hopes and expectations of large numbers of people." I would suggest Burns is right--what Minnesota has lost sight of is not vision statements and objectives, but values. Minnesota has gone from being a "We" state to a "Me" state. I rated the last a "2" because I am tired of hearing our "problem" is cultural diversity.  Diversity is a strength not a weakness. As for polarization I don't see it. Polarization implies two opposite perspectives. At the moment we have one faction that says "It's my way or the highway" while everyone else is trying to make things work.

Tom Swain  (2)  (2)  (5)  (5)  (2)


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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