Went to see the Democratic candidates for Senate this morning in Onamia. All four were there: Al Franken, Mike Ciresi, Jack Nelson-Palmeyer and Jim Cohen. All four were good speakers, seemed competent and passionate, interesting, etc. I was there as newspaper editor, but most people know I used be a DFL county official, so I saw a lot of old friends.
Jack had the best prepared and best delivered speech. He took very clear stances and stated his priorities — health care, ending the war, environment, education. Good DFL principles, but as a peace studies professor with a hyphenated name, I’m not sure he has what it takes.
Al told personal stories but also talked policy and had a pretty inspirational riff about “American is only a great country when it’s a good country, and we’re not a good country when we torture.” He told a good story about how his wife’s family succeeded as a result of social security, higher education grants, and the GI Bill.
Ciresi also came across as very passionate and sincere. He talked about when his mom died of breast cancer when he was 12, and his father’s insistence on providing health care to his employees. He talked about the tobacco lawsuit, his real claim to fame, and made a good case that it was more than just a claim to fame — The state gets 200 million dollars a year as a result, and would’ve had more than that if Pawlenty hadn’t raided it to pay off the deficit.
Jim Cohen seems experienced and passionate too, but he’s not from here, and there’s not much to distinguish him, even though he has a good track record of public service. Mostly he talked about himself instead of the issues, which got old.
I took some video. Maybe I’ll post some to my youtube site, or to this page.