Present: Verne Johnson, chair; David Broden, Marianne Curry, Paul Gilje, Jim Hetland, Jan Hively, Dan Loritz, Marina Lyon (by phone)
A. Context of the meeting: The Civic Caucus this summer is updating its strategic plan, with discussions of the plan taking place every other week, with interviews with public figures on alternate weeks.
B. Possible Civic Caucus role in the campaign for Governor —Based on a memo distributed by Paul prior to the meeting, the group discussed whether the Civic Caucus might play a helpful, non-partisan role, in connection with issues that probably will come up in the race for Governor. The memo suggested the following:
* That the Civic Caucus put together a list of high priority issues where the new Governor will need to make important choices. The Caucus could encourage all candidates to address such issues and choices.
* That the Civic Caucus conduct interviews this fall with candidates for Governor, spotlighting the issues/choices raised by the Civic Caucus, and share summaries of these interviews broadly in the state.
* That the Civic Caucus consider a proposal to the political parties that they don't discourage candidates filing for Governor even if a candidate doesn't receive party endorsement, thereby making the primary election next year more of an open primary.
During discussion of the memo the following points were raised:
1. Consult broadly if we prepare a list of issues/choices —One member said there are people in the state who are well equipped to suggest priority issues, such as Jane Leonard of Minnesota Rural Partners. Another suggestion was Joe Sertich, knowledgeable in higher education and in rural economic development.
2. Importance of a vision for the state —Let's not just expect a discussion of issues, a member said; we want a campaign on a vision that will get Minnesota moving again.
3. Importance of values —How do we get a discussion of the values that candidates have, member asked?
4. Too many candidates —How can we conduct interviews, with so many possible candidates, a member asked? We might have to set priorities over this fall, it was noted. By precinct caucus time it is likely that some names will have dropped out.
5. Survey the candidates —One suggestion offered was that we could ask candidates to respond via email to our list of issues. However, that denies the opportunity for give-and-take. Moreover, candidates are besieged by many organizations with such requests and usually deliver pre-prepared stock answers. One person suggested we could indicate why it is in the candidates' best interests to take a survey from us seriously, because of the manner in which we distribute our materials.
6. Matters for discussion on July 10 —Verne said that we'll prepare a very preliminary list of priority issues/choices in the Governor's race for Civic Caucus discussion on July 10.
7. Importance of the media —We need to see what major media outlets might be contemplating this summer and fall in connection with the Governor's race, a member said. For example, we should consult with Jim Pagliarini of Minnesota Public Television. Minnesota Public Radio ought to be invited the same time, perhaps Pat Cook, a member said.