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Politics Matters
Published On: 6th November 2012 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

A few weeks ago, I sat in on an adult forum at a local church where several dozen people gathered to discuss a timely topic: Civil Discourse in Politics Today. Participants shared their views on the current state of politics and the stream of negative ads and opinions that flood our airwaves, mailboxes, and social media.  We shared ideas about what positive and productive civic discourse would look like.  In our descriptions we repeatedly used words like respect, objectivity, and trust.  There was a general sense of yearning that we move toward greater civility in future elections and our fervent hope that, in this regard, we have not reached a point of no return.  There was a consensus that when Election Day arrives it will be met with relief.  It is on this day when votes will be cast and we commence with the peaceful transition of power.  We will feel good about exercising our civic responsibility and ready to take a break from what has been dismissed as, “politics as usual.”

After this long campaign season of promises, positioning, and partisanship, there are those who have made the decision not to vote.  This disheartens me.  They say that their vote does not matter.  They say that the current state of politics has caused them to turn their back on the process.   I would urge each one to consider this excerpt from Bill Moyers from his book Moyers on America: a Journalist and His Times. This former White House Press Secretary aptly describes why politics still matter:

America faces what scholar James Davidson Hunter describes as “the never ending work of democracy:” the tedious, hard, perplexing, messy, and seemingly endless task of working through what kind of people we are going to be and what kind of communities we will live in.  Politics is the work of democracy and it encompasses practically everything that we can and must do together:  how we educate our children, design our communities and neighborhoods, feed ourselves, and dispose of our waste, care for the sick, elderly and poor, relate to the natural world, entertain and enlighten ourselves, and defend ourselves.  It also affects what values we seek to defend, what roles we are chosen for us by virtue of our identity, and what roles we create for ourselves.

Politics matter.

Your vote matters.
Please, Vote.

2012 Endorsements!
Published On: 17th October 2012 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

I am proud to be endorsed by the following organizations in my upcoming election for the Minnesota State Senate.  It is truly a great cross section of the many groups and supporters  in areas such as equality, education, working class Minnesotans, public services, safety, environment and natural resources, and health care.  I am anxious to work for all of my constituents as we take back the legislature and provide a voice for the people of this great State.

Sierra Club
Minnesota Farm Bureau
Minnesota Farmers Union PAC
Education Minnesota
MN Nurses Association
Clean Water Action
AFSCME Council 65
MPPOA – MN Police & Peace Officers  Association
Planned Parenthood
DFL Veterans Caucus
United Transportation Union
Care Providers of MN
Outfront Minnesota
MN Professional Firefighters
Project 515
Small Business Minnesota PAC
Take Action MN

What’s the real story about this Brass Band Music Library?
Published On: 4th October 2012 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

As many of you know, there have been at least 4 negative mailings put out against me by something called the Freedom PAC.  A look at the donor list for this Republican PAC leads us to a long list of wealthy corporate donors intent on spreading political half-truths, inuendo, misplaced facts, and propaganda.  In many ways I thank them.  Every time they send one out, another slew of people contact me ready to support my candidacy and donate to my campaign.  “What can we do about these mailings?” they ask.  “Who can I complain to?”  “How can I donate to your campaign?” Negative campaigns promote cynicism among the electorate, give politics a bad name, and turns people away from the political process.  That is unfortunate.

Many of the mailings have claimed I voted to spend $400,000 on abrass band music library, a sculpture garden, a polar bear exhibit, or a bird atlas?  Really?  All of these projects were part of an $800 million bonding bill, eventually signed into law by then Governor Tim Pawlenty.  The State of Minnesota sells General Obligation Tax Exempt and Taxable Bonds, Revenue Bonds, the proceeds coming from the sale of General Obligation bonds that are used to pay the cost of building the capital projects that are approved by the Legislature. The Freedom PAC has cherry picked from the hundreds of infrastructure and construction projects that typically make up a bonding bill passed by every legislature in non-budget years.  Those projects are carefully vetted and chosen by the capital investment committee and typically mean hundreds of other projects are left on the committee floor.    Bonding bills are job creators, not job crushers.  Interest rates are at an all time low with constructions workers eager to work on projects that invest in Minnesota.  These investments include our public universities, our zoos, municipal buildings, structures that have regional economic impact, roads and bridges, and other public  projects.  Legislators are asked to vote the entire bonding bill up or down.  These bonding bills typically have broad bipartisan support and the debt service on the bonds make up a tiny portion of the overall state budget.

Joe Kimball of MinnPost wrote about the Brass Band Music Library several years ago.  Look for similar references to surface in campaign lit over and over again across the state over the next few weeks. His story, in the link that follows, puts things into context much better than I can.

As Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story.  Happy trails to all of you!  And thanks for your support.

 Whats the real story about this Brass Band Music Library?


The Highs and Lows of Campaigning
Published On: 12th September 2012 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

Door knocking is an integral part of any campaign season.  Candidates head out after their regular jobs during the week and on weekends to the towns and cities that make up their legislative district.  I prefer door knocking to phone calling, enjoying the chance to introduce myself, shake a few hands, and state my case for election in November.

People ask me if I run into any constituents who are “less than friendly?”  I’ve certainly experienced a few people who were less than excited to see me at the door with a clipboard and a handful of campaign literature.  I certainly am guilty of interrupting a family’s supper, Gopher football game, tomato canning, or even Junior’s bath time. However, most people are very friendly.  Most people appreciate the fact that I am interested in their vote and that I show up on their door step.  On a few extremely hot days, several have graciously offered me a glass of water.

A few weeks ago in one of the nearby towns in Senate District 20, I knocked on a door and a middle aged man greeted me with, “Republican or Democrat?”  When I kindly responded, “Yes!” he inquired further, “Which one?”  When I said I was endorsed by the DFL party, he said no thanks and closed the door.   At the next house, a gentleman was outside watering some plants.  Before I could say hello, he told me to get the hell off his yard.  He didn’t have time for “any politicians.”  I said, “You seem a little frustrated,” looking for an opening for some civil discourse.  Looking me over apprehensively, he decided to share his concerns.  We talked for the next 15 minutes and at the end of our conversation he asked for a piece of my literature.  He said he would look it over. We shook hands and I proceeded down the street to the next house.

The next day, I received an email from the man who told me to “get off his yard.”  He thanked me for letting him “blow off some steam.”  He commented that anyone willing to take an earful from an angry constituent couldn’t be half bad.  After looking at my literature and my website, he was satisfied that I had the best interests of constituents in mind.  He said he would probably vote for me November 6.

Of course, I would rather receive a pleasant smile at the door than an angry “earful” but this particular meeting turned out to be one of my most rewarding door knocking encounters of this long campaign season.

Running a Positive Campaign
Published On: 28th August 2012 | Published By: Kevin Dahle For Senate

What if political campaigns were driven by the important issues of the day?  What if the public held accountable those candidates who ran a negative campaign? What if voters could weigh the pros and cons of a candidate based on information that was truthful and verifiable? What if…?

With two months remaining from a long political season, campaigns by local candidates will be much more visible.  Candidates have been working for months door knocking and phone calling, courting potential voters in hopes of securing elected office on November 6.  Unfortunately, it’s this time of year also when the worst aspect of campaigning will begin to rear its ugly head: negative campaigning.  Often times, these tactics are beyond the control of the candidate’s campaign plan.  Interest groups, constituents, political parties, and political action committees will unleash their own brand of politics with absolutely no input from the candidates themselves.  Within the past two weeks alone – in two different newspapers – I have been accused of creating Minnesota’s six billion dollar deficit, ignoring constituents west of I-35, for my reelection, I relied exclusively on “liberal Northfield,” college students and unions outside our district, doing nothing for public school funding, and worst of all, that I, as a teacher, fought against the interests of students in the legislature.  These attacks did not come from my opponent but by someone I never met and one who knows absolutely nothing about my campaign and little of my congressional record.

I was visiting with a woman from my church last week.  She told me she had been subjected to a push poll over the phone.  “Will you be supporting Kevin Dahle for the Minnesota Senate in the upcoming election?”  When she answered yes, the unidentified caller asked, “Will you be supporting Kevin Dahle even though he… (insert lies, half-truths, positions out of context, etc. here)?    A push poll, by definition, is not a poll at all.  It is a telemarketing technique to influence or alter the view of respondents based on propaganda, innuendo, and/or rumors.  In a push poll, large numbers of respondents are contacted and little or no effort is made to collect and analyze response data.  Other constituents have contacted me with tales of phone calls that denigrate my campaign rather than tout their own endorsed candidate.  Fortunately, it did not change their mind.  But what of those who are seeking information on candidates and are influenced by such base tactics?  Is this really the best way to treat our electorate?  Do we really deem an informed citizenry as a threat to the political process?

I am determined to continue to run a positive campaign.  My volunteers will talk only about the Dahle campaign and the assets that I can bring to the legislature.  We have not and will not talk about my opponent in a negative way.  We actually prefer not to talk about my opponent at all.  I pursue this ideal because I believe this is the type of campaign people across Minnesota would like to see.  The negative ads and the negative campaigning we see at the Federal level leave them frustrated.  There are some groups who have the legal right to support me in a manner that I do not believe is constructive.  I do not become aware of such methods until the “horse has already left the barn.”  However, I assure you that any attack on my opponent will not come from nor ever be sanctioned by me.  When in doubt, I encourage any person from any party to contact me with the opportunity to set the record straight.

Because of negative campaigning, many voters have told me they may not even vote this year.  This sense of futility undermines our democratic process.  I tell them they cannot give up on their right to vote.  Voting has been and will be the supreme act that buoys the citizen above the negative flotsam and jetsam of an ill-conceived campaign.  Even if you vote for my opponent, I want you to vote.  It’s too important a decision to be left to the few.  Of that I am positive!

Vote Kevin Dahle 2012