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Republicans in the newly redistricted Senate District 50 took their official first steps on Saturday, March 19. In a reflection of the resurgence of conservative fervor, over 170 delegates and alternates attended the convention, one of the largest turnouts in recent memory.
The assembly opened shortly after 10 AM in the large hall at Bethany Church in Bloomington. Over the next six hours, Republicans from precincts in much of Edina and west central Bloomington dealt with a number of important operational topics. After setting the convention rules, the delegates and seated alternates approved the bylaws that will govern operations for the next ten years.
Republicans went on to elected Senate District 50 officers, as well as delegates and alternates to the higher-level conventions scheduled for April and May. The convention also heard from 15 candidates or their surrogates.
The new officers are:
• Co-Chairs Pam Tucholke and Winnie Martin
• Treasurer Louis Tiggas
• Secretary George Rerat
• Communications Chair Randy Sutter
• Vice Chairs Michael Barg, Craig Black, Louis Dennard, Kathy Kranz, Taylor Mackenzie, Owen Michaelson, Joel Quinnell, Liz Ross, Julia Tate, and Michele Versluis
The list of Delegates and Alternates elected at the convention is posted under the 2022 Conventions tab on the senate district website. (Note that over the next month, the website will be converting from www.SD49GOP.com to www.SD50GOP.com).
Despite the fact that three dozen other districts were holding conventions across the state at the same time, 15 state-wide and Congressional candidates appeared or had strong supporters speak on their behalf at the Senate District 50 Convention.
Minnesota’s office of Management and Budget (MMB) released its February revenue forecast at the end of February. The report projects a surplus of $9.253 billion for the next budget cycle, which is up from the previous $7.7 billion surplus in the December forecast.
State Sen. Julia Coleman (R, Carver County), the vice chair of the Senate Tax Committee joined fellow Senate Republicans in calling for permanent tax relief.
The major changes proposed to the state’s tax code reduce the first-tier income tax rate, impacting every Minnesotan, from 5.35% to 2.8%. They would also eliminate the tax on Social Security. If passed, these proposed changes would bring about the biggest tax cut ever and provide $8.51 billion in tax relief to taxpayers over the next three years.
Minnesota is one of just 13 states who tax Social Security benefits and is partially surrounded by states who do not tax this benefit – Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and South Dakota. Estimates show for the 410,900 Minnesotans who pay this tax, the average relief would be $1,313. Eliminating the Social Security tax would put $539 million back into the hands of beneficiaries. Bills introduced to eliminate the Social Security tax in the legislature have had bipartisan support.
Additionally, according to the National Tax Foundation, Minnesota’s lowest tax bracket is higher than the highest tax bracket in 17 other states. Under the Republican proposal, a Minnesota family making $100,000 would see a tax savings of over $1,000 each year. A typical individual making $37,000 would receive about a $500 annual reduction.
In comparison, the New House Republican Caucus points out that Gov. Walz wants to give taxpayers a one-time check for $500 (single) or $1,000 (married), with no long-term savings or reductions.
In a move to return the entire surplus to Minnesota taxpayers, the members of the New House Republican Caucus are proposing to eliminate four major state taxes (the tax on Social Security, the sick tax, the death tax, and the alternative minimum tax). In addition, they are proposing cuts to individual income taxes and corporate taxes.
Mark Blaxill is one of three Republicans who have announced their candidacy for the Congressional seat in the 3rd Congressional District. An article on Tom Weiler is posted on our website. Adam Schwarze will be interviewed prior to the CD3 endorsing convention on April 23.
Mark Blaxill grew up and attended high school in Princeton, New Jersey. His parents wanted to raise their family in a small-town atmosphere outside of the urban metropolis of New York City,
Enjoying what his home town had to offer, Mark continued his education at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, now known as the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Not interested in being a doctor or a lawyer, he chose to pursue a path leading to a career in business.
Princeton gave him the opportunity to accept internships with businesses in the Philippines and Japan. During his junior year, Mark did an independent study focusing on energy policy. His senior thesis was on the relationship between Japan and other countries in Southeast Asia.
Mark has always found it easy to work with numbers, and he particularly enjoyed his college courses in economics. He had a goal of going to the Harvard Business School after graduation, but knew that he had a greater chance of getting accepted if he had some business experience. So, his next step was a job with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Harvard’s backyard.
BCG is an American global management consulting firm founded in 1963. By 1966, it had opened a second office in Tokyo, Japan. It typically recruits from top undergraduate colleges, advance degree programs and business schools. Blaxill was required to do in-depth analyses of corporate clients. Armed with quantitative data, he would work with company leaders on market strategy and process improvements. He found that he needed to approach each client challenge with humility, learning from workers at every level from top to bottom.
The new Congressional and legislative district boundaries released on February 15 cut through some existing precincts. Minnesota cities are also required to redraw their Council Member district boundaries based on the population counts of the 2020 Census. The city staffs of both Bloomington and Edina have issued preliminary maps for consideration by their city councils and their citizens.
The Edina City Council has approved, and the Bloomington City Council is considering, a reduction in the number of their respective precincts. Such a reduction, coupled with the redrawing of the precinct boundaries, will likely affect some of the recently-elected precinct officers. Those adjustments will be addressed by senate district leadership after the final precinct maps are approved. It will not affect the senate district delegates and alternates that were elected during the February 1 caucuses. They will automatically become delegates and alternates of the new precincts.
The proposed Bloomington map shown above and on the City's redistricting page reduces the number of city precincts from 32 to 31. If adopted, precinct numbers will change for every area except Bloomington P17. Per Bloomington City Clerk staff, the precinct renumbering was to make numbers within city council districts sequential. About a fourth of Bloomington voters will go to a different building to vote, due to boundary changes.
Some of the requirements that Bloomington is following in redrawing the boundaries include:
• The population of the most populous City Council district must be within 5 percent of the population of the least populous City Council district.
• Polling places must be located within or no more than 1 mile outside of the precinct boundaries.
MN GOP Requests Step 1 be Completed by April 1
We’ve heard from some Republicans who signed up via National or State websites to be an election judge in 2020 that they were never contacted for training or to serve. It’s likely that incomplete contact information (e.g., no email or phone) or a name that did not perfectly match state voter registration records were barriers to city election officials matching election judge indications of interest with possible positions.
While state law requires a party-balance of election judges, using names supplied on lists from each major party, those individuals must (as a separate step) apply and be hired and trained by their local election office.
MN GOP has clarified the description of steps needed and now collects much more information as it prepares the lists of Republican election judges.
Step 1: Fill out the form at the MN GOP website’s Election Protection page to ensure your name is on the Republican Party list. Hit the "submit" button. Note that if you signed up at the Bloomington/Edina Caucus 2/1/2022, we’ve sent your info to MN GOP. But it’s OK to tell them again yourself.
The law says party lists must be submitted by May 1. MN GOP is requesting signup by April 1, to allow time for list preparation.
Step 2: Once you have filled out and submitted that form, you will also need to "apply" for a position as an Election Judge with your county or city election office. You may apply to more than one location if you’re willing to travel to serve (you don’t need to live in the specific city/county). Election judges are paid for training time and hours worked. Pay rates are set by the local election offices.
For Bloomington – use the links in the top half (for 2022) of the Election Judge page at the City of Bloomington website. Fill in both of the forms, print out and sign by hand and return to the city clerk. If you have questions, call 952-563-8729 or email [email protected]
Note that obsolete information and links for 2021 were still on the lower half of that page in early March 2022.
As the district lines were redrawn, so were some political careers. A number of legislators found themselves out of their old districts, and some were faced with a decision to run against a former colleague, or retire.
So it was with Senate Minority Leader Melisa Lopez Franzen (DFL, Edina), pictured at left. Her neighborhood was shifted to Senate District 46 (Edina/Hopkins/St Louis Park), which has been the home territory of Sen. Ron Latz (DFL, St Louis Park). Latz declared for re-election, and Franzen chose to retire after the current session ends in May.
As a result, the MN Senate seat in Senate District 50 is now open. Former legislator Dr. Alice Mann (DFL, formerly from Lakeville) has declared her intent to run for this open seat.
Similarly, Rep. Andrew Carlson (DFL, east Bloomington) found out on February 15 that he was suddenly living in the same district as Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL, west Bloomington). They appear to be set to square off against each other for the House District 50B seat. Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL, Edina) plans to run in House District 50A.
Redistricting rendered the House District 51B seat (east Bloomington) open. Nathan Coulter, re-elected to the Bloomington City Council in 2021 and a legislative assistant for the DFL House Caucus, has declared for the open seat.
Sen. Melissa Halvorson Wiklund (DFL, Bloomington Richfield) will run for re-election, now in Senate District 51.
With two open seats in Senate Districts 50 and 51, there is opportunity for conservative candidates. If you are passionate about changing the direction that our state is going and would consider running for office, please let us know. Please call and leave a message at (952) 856-3028 and we will get back to you.
At noon on February 15, the special judicial panel empowered to rebalance the voting strength of Minnesota’s legislative districts, issued its maps. Suddenly, we are no longer Senate District 49. We are, in a somewhat altered form, now Senate District 50.
Our new district is shown in green on the map above The area shown in pink that includes the eastern portion of Bloomington and all of Richfield is now Senate District 51.
NOTE: it may take a few weeks to convert websites and email addresses over to the new senate district designations. In the interim, we will continue to use the SD49GOP domain name.
Nine of our 34 precincts have been ceded to adjacent redrawn senate districts. Three precincts on our far west are now part of a new Senate District 49, comprising primarily Eden Prairie and Minnetonka. Six precincts in northwestern Edina (the neighborhoods north of Highway 62 and west of Highway 100) have now been joined with the city of Hopkins and much of St Louis Park to make up the new Senate District 46.
To compensate for the loss of those nine precincts, the southeastern boundaries of the new Senate District 50 have moved east. Parts or all of nine Bloomington precincts in the center of Bloomington have now been joined with the 11 western precincts and 14 Edina precincts.
The new Congressional and Senate District boundaries divide some old precincts because the Court uses census tract boundaries that don't align exactly. Usually municipalities have been prompt and efficient in adjusting precincts. MN Statute 204B.135 requires cities with wards (including Bloomington and Edina) to redistrict at least 19 weeks before the primary. With the primary this year falling on August 9, we should expect new precinct maps by March 29.
You may view more detailed maps showing the district boundaries at the MN Legislature’s Mapping Service page CLICK HERE. You may also choose the interactive map to lookup district assignments by street address.
Our January article described the legislative and court processes that established the new boundaries. And our February 7 article described the preparations needed by Senate District leaders to react the to changed boundaries.
Tom Weiler is one of three Republicans who have announced their candidacy for the Congressional seat in the 3rd Congressional District. We will cover all three prior to the CD3 endorsing convention on April 23
Tom Weiler has retired from the Navy, but his passion to serve his country remains strong. He said that he has seen countries that don’t have our system of government, and it has reinforced his drive to serve and defend our nation. He wants to ensure his children, and all other American children, have the opportunity to achieve their American dream.
Tom grew up and went to high school in Eden Prairie. Many of the friends he made while playing baseball and football have gone on to enjoy what he considers “very successful lives”: solid careers, happy marriages, great families. He is proud and thankful to have grown up with classical Midwestern values, where parents instilled the importance of service to community and country.
Weiler’s proudest memory while growing up occurred during a trip his family took to Washington DC his junior year. While there, they encountered a March for Life. With a mix of curiosity and passion, Tom skipped the museum and monument tours that his family had planned to join the march. He remembers it vividly because he stood up for his beliefs.
Tom was drawn to the University of Notre Dame because of football and faith – and a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp scholarship. He graduated in 2000 with a degree in Civil Engineering and a commission in the US Navy.
For much of the next 20 years, Weiler’s Navy career was literally underwater, as a submarine officer. He started out focused on the nuclear propulsion systems and worked his way up through the levels of responsibility in preparation to take command of a submarine. His superior performance on front line submarines conducting missions vital to national security led to his selections for Submarine Command early, to be an aide to the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, and many other competitive assignments.
Among Tom’s accomplishments on shore tours:
• Worked contingency planning in the Joint US European Command headquarters in Europe, including planning force protection measures in response to the Avian Flu pandemic.
• Served as a Legislative Defense Fellow assigned to Congressman Rob Wittman (R, VA), the ranking Republican on the House Armed Service Committee.
• Successfully completed the very demanding United Kingdom Submarine Commander Course.
• Identified as the top-rated Executive Officer in his submarine squadron.
• Selected for a sought-after slot in the Political & Military Masters Program at Harvard and was accepted into Harvard’s Masters Program in Public Administration.
• Served as the Executive Assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs in the Pentagon.
• Served in the role of Strategic Communications for the Admiral for Undersea Warfare.
If you were elected as a precinct delegate or alternate during the recent caucus, you will remain in that capacity until the next caucus in 2024.
The new Senate District 50 will hold a convention at Bethany Church at 6900 Auto Club Road on Saturday, March 19. The formal call to register and attend the convention will be sent out, via email, on or before March 9. It will provide the start time and registration fees associated with the meeting. If you are a delegate or alternate and do not receive a "call" email by March 9, please contact your precinct chair.
The purpose of the convention will be to:
• debate and approve new bylaws
• elect senate district officers
• elect delegates and alternates to the Congressional District 3 (CD3), Congressional District 5 (CD5), and State Conventions
• review and approve/disapprove resolutions to the MN GOP party platform
• potentially endorse MN House and/or MN Senate candidates
Committees are being formed to draft the bylaws, to review the platform resolutions that were approved in the recent precinct caucuses, to seek legislative candidates, and to identify potential delegates and alternates to the CD3 and state conventions. If you are interested in serving on any of these committees, please call the Senate District telephone number, (952) 856-3028 and leave a message.
Please let your precinct chairs know by February 23 (this Wednesday) if you are interested in being a district or precinct officer, a convention committee member, and/or a delegate or alternate to a higher-level convention. If your precinct did not elect a chair at the caucuses on February 1, or if you do not know how to contact your precinct chair, state your interest in an email to [email protected] by February 23.
A “slate” of proposed delegates, 1st, 2nd and 3rd alternates will be drafted by the committee of precinct chairs before the convention, to include those who’ve expressed interest. This preparation helps shorten the time needed at convention by having lists of correctly spelled names, and confirmed intention to serve if elected. Some nominations / self-nominations from the convention floor are also anticipated. Depending on the number of people interested, the positions could be subject to rounds of voting at our March 19 SD50 Convention.
Regarding delegates and alternates to the higher-level conventions, you should know the following:
• If you live in CD5, the CD5 Convention will be held at the Crystal VFW Hall on Saturday, April 2
• If you live in CD3, the CD3 Convention will be held at Wayzata High School on Saturday, April 23
• The State Convention will be held in Rochester on Friday and Saturday, May 13-14
• You will need to attend the full meetings and you will need to cover your costs of registration, transportation, and food/lodging (as required)
• Depending on the number of people interested, the positions could be subject to a vote at the convention
Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.
People throughout MN are heeding the call to public service and declaring as Republican candidates for election this year. How about you?
Soaring crime in our cities and suburbs, failure of many of our public school students to meet expected grade standards, divisions with our society, heavy-handed and unequally-applied mandates, pressures to increase density in our neighborhoods, inadequate support to our small- and medium-size businesses, and insistence on spending budget surpluses rather than returning them to taxpayers are several of the issues that we need to address in our own state legislature.
This is the year to take a stand.
If you are passionate about changing the direction that our state is going and would consider running for office, please let us know. Please call and leave a message at (952) 856-3028 and we will get back to you.