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Tuesday Talk: What’s your policy speech?

January 24, 2012 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Today, two big events will set the 2012 policy agenda: the start of Minnesota’s legislative session and the President’s State of the Union address. Progressives want to move forward with a plan that creates jobs, rebuilds roads and bridges, strengthens education, and widens access to affordable health care. Conservatives will push for constitutional amendments and social agenda distractions.

If you had the chance to address a body of legislators, what would you focus on? What would be in your policy speech? 

Thanks for participating! Commenting on this conversation is now closed.


  • Bob says:

    January 24, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I do not believe for a minute that progressives are interested in createing jobs in this country or are interested in getting us away from foreign oil. The keystone project is the last straw for me. The President is playing politics with peoples lives. You or anyone else can try to spin his decision any way you like, but the fact is he is catering to the extreme enviornmentalist left at the expense of jobs and energy security. I have been a union operator for 25 years and will not vote for anyone who will not promote our country. This project has been in the permitting process for years at great expense, it is not the Presidents job to work out the details of projects, this move is purely political, North Dakota is a prime example of what we should be doing. As a country we are regulating ourselves out of business and without businesses we have no jobs. Done with the Democrat party.

  • John Crampton says:

    January 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

    We’re running out of time to hold climate change to 2 degrees in the next 50 years.  The impact will be staggering if we do not act immediately to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  Future generations will suffer immeasurably if we fail to act.  It is the moral equivalent of war.

    Therefore I am ending all subsidies to fossil fuel production.

    Furthermore, I am insisting that the oil industry will pay the total cost of any future military actions in the Middle East and throughout the world for securing oil, natural gas, coal etc.

    As an alternative, as commander in chief, I will impose a wartime national emergency to nationalize all sectors of the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. or on U.S. soil.  “You’re in the army now…deal with it”

    I regret that such draconian measures are necessary, but, in large part, they are due to the oil and fossil fuel industry’s own, well-funded propaganda efforts (using a pliant and sycophantic mainstream media) to deceive the public by obfuscating the overwhelming scientific evidence of the last 50 years, that climate change is occurring, that it’s manmade, and that it has the capability to destroy our planet’s ability to support human civilization.

  • Brian R says:

    January 24, 2012 at 9:18 am

    If I were to address this legislative session, my policy would include a very simple concept: every Legislator has been elected to represent the people of this state and it’s high time they focus on the issues that truly matter: Jobs. Nothing is more important to our economy than providing for an atmosphere that encourages job growth, and if our elected officials would concentrate on plans to create more jobs (through increased manufacturing, roads and infrastructural projects, and stop bickering over who is to be “blamed”, we would see some light at the end of this tunnel. Stop bickering over social programs that actually assist those in need and try finding solutions by actually working in a bi-partisan manner. The civility of our supposed leaders has been lost amid all of the vitriol, and we are all sick of it! Try doing what you promised the electorate (not the lobbyists with the most cash)so real solutions can me found. Are there any new business enterprises that would appreciate being given the opportunity to come in to Minnesota and begin a prosperous effort at building things? I would bet so!!! It’s time to forget about being re-elected and try doing the job you ran for, to begin with!

  • Carl says:

    January 24, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Economy, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs which I think that Dayton has done a good job of laser focus on.  That is the concern of Minnesotans so business incentives to hire people, infrastructure projects, business development projects, and educating our youth and workforce.  We are in the start of a recovery in the state and cannot lose our focus.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    January 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Joe, your rhetoric is such a put down to anyone who disaggreas with you. I guess that’s life. Were I in Obama’s shoes I would not waste the bully pulpet on my enemies, I would turn against the failed logic of the party hacks and special interests and put my countries needs over my parties wants. We could start by ending the war on drugs started by Nixon. I would start with the legalization of marijuana and hemp. This would eliminate about $450 Billion from the costs of enforcement, persecusion, and incarceration. It would also create between 500-750,000 new living wage jobs making it the biggest potential job creator on the table. Next I would call for a new CCC program to deal with invasive spesies and reeducate those the education system has failed. Third would be an infrastucture push to take care of our roads and bridges. Next would be a call for the formation of a civilian commision to thoroughly examine and vent all possibilities to solve our healthcare problems ending the political gridlock on this divisive issue. I would instigate a venture/loan fund for the promotion of worker ownership structures. Last I would move to get the US government out of the buisness of educating our children by eliminating the 5 Regional Education Labs and downsizing the Fed Dept. of Ed. to a buyers coop usefull to the States. That’s just the start of ending the gridlock, and helping the people.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    January 24, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Once programs are in place to get the economy moving again I would turn my attention to fixing the problems my party had created and never addressed Staring with Medicare, medicade, SSI, and SS fraud. Eliminating the 20%+ fraud rate in medicare would be on top of the list as would be allowing alcoholics and drug addicts to draw SSI. AA calls that enabeling, something very ignorant psycologically. To enable an addict is to prolong and profit from his or her agony. In our system it is about protecting and creating public employee jobs not helping the addict. I would move quickly to end the medicare and SSI incentives that are being used to addict our children at unprecidented rate. I would also end all blanket immunities given to public employees who promote these addictions opening them to legal action.

  • Mike Fratto says:

    January 24, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Its high time the elected members of this state identify what is the best public policy for the people they represent and not just those who may have voted for them or the people who contributed to their campaign.  You represent all citizens in your district!

    How does this state get to work?  In order to effectively do a job a person needs to e educated.  They need to read, write, do simple math, and they need to communicate.  This places education at the top of the list.  Once the basic education needs are met, the question that needs to be answered is what skills, knowledge and abilities do employers, current and future, want in their employees?  Where are they going to get them?  The answer is simple.  Either the employer is going to educate their employees in all aspects of the job they are in or the education system must to do it.  Which should it be?  If its the former, how do you make it happen?  IF the latter, how do we pay for it?

    The next piece of the key is housing. What can you do to make housing more affordable?  Why do we have so many vacant and foreclosed homes? No!  The answer isn’t deadbeats didn’t make their payments.  What are the real facts that caused this problem?  Was it interest rates that raised the monthly payment out of the reach of hard working Minnesotans?  Was it mortgage companies who made loans to people who couldn’t make the payments in the first place?  What percentage was due to fraud by our banking system and what percentage from deadbeats who lied to get a loan?  Once those answers are determined, you need to ask how you can change that dynamic.  What legislation is necessary to prevent the problem from occurring again?  I think I could provide answers to this problem, but my views won’t necessarily be accepted by you. 

    Of course, the ultimate solution to our problems are income and expenses of public monies.  You can’t nickle and dime programs to save money.  You must identify programs that are no longer necessary or don’t do what they were supposed to do.  If a program isn’t doing what it is supposed to do you have to ask why.  Is it due to constant cuts that eventually made the program ineffective?  OR was it designed to solve the wrong problem.  Once this has been determined, you need to either fix what is wrong or eliminate those that don’t don’t work.

    I caution you not to look at this as an easy solution.  It may be what Grover Norquist would do; but you don’t represent him. You represent hard working Minnesotans. 

    You also need to look at all the deferred maintenance projects that have accumulated over the years.  I am sure you know that saving the few dollars it might take to have your car looked at when the check engine light comes on is far better than the cost of a major repair.  The same goes for our public buildings and infrastructure. 

    Finally, its your job to create and fund programs.  Your job involves looking at our Statutes and determining how you can improve the purpose of that Statute or a section.  Working with the Revisor’s office you create language to effect those changes.  Then you listen to testimony on the effects of your proposed changes and you decide whether to pass the proposed changes to the Governor for signature.  Once it is signed it becomes law.  It is then up to the Executive branch, in most cases, to implement your changes.  If you have done your job right, you have created the proper parameters so the Executive Branch can implement your program as you expect.  It’s unlikely you have the expertise to operate the program but you can establish guidelines and allow the implementing agency to make rules that meets its needs and the needs of its customers.  If you choose to abdicate this responsibility, the agency has to do this without your guidance.  It is far better to take your time and create a good law rather than wasting public money trying to correct it in the future.

  • Robert Nepper says:

    January 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

    The legislature should immmediately stop the ongoing destruction of good, private-sector job opportunities by requiring employers to simply “Use or Return” all employee-submitted inventions which the firm claims! Current rules allow these firms to claom virtually all employee inventions, actually develop only a select few, then “trash-can” the many remaing UNWANTED ones (so no one can benefit from them)! Lawmakers should start discussions with SF 78.

    Just ONE unwanted invention which was released back to the creative employee as “worthless,” as spawned a huge $50 BILLION entirely new xerographic industry (the Xerox copier), creating a half-million new jobs! (Wall Street Journal May 23, 1989)

  • Paul says:

    January 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    We must wise up to tricks of unethical and/or unaware politicians.  Republicans will introduce “jobs” bills that only serve to allow pollution and strip needed regulations.  An example is their attempt to ramrod the Keystone pipeline through without adequate study of its environmental impacts and consideration of safer alternatives.  They will also push for lower taxes for “job creators” without tying tax breaks to job creation, which only results in an upward redistribution of wealth.

    Others will push for “entitlement” cuts with tricks like claiming that SSI benefits are “enabling” to alchoholics and other addicts.  Social workers know that addicts will always find a way to support their addiction and when they lose their only means of support, they’re more likely to resort to criminal acts which cause greater harm to society.  Effectively, they are trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it.

  • carl brookins says:

    January 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Conservatives are pushing amendments and other maneuvering designed to enlarge government, make it more expensive, and intrude on citizen’s rights. This is not your father’s Republican party. This is a secretive effort to take over rule of our nation.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    January 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    My State of the Union speech would include these promises:

    —I will direct the IRS to refuse to honor any tax breaks given to companies that do NOT create the jobs they supposedly need the breaks for.

    —I will inform the oil industry that the Keystone pipeline is off the table no matter how many new proposals are submitted. 

    —I will tell the Energy Department to cancel any new nuclear power plants.

    —I will cancel the sanctions placed on Iran. There is no proof Iran wishes to develop nuclear weapons OR that it would use them against Israel if it did. We cannot afford another war for oil or for any political reason.

    —I will appoint Representative Ron Paul as a special Defense Department manager in charge of dismantling our Empire and to end our current wars, the use of drones that kill civilians, and the incarceration of suspected “terrorists” without a fair trial by our Justice Department.

    —I will support whole-heartedly a Constitutional Amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. 

    —I will initiate the DE-militarization of local police forces and end their sometimes brutal treatment of peaceful demonstrators.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    January 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Pul, what social worker know is that if too many alcoholics reach bottom and decide to get better, they are out of a job. By enableing an addict you can make a living of him or her forever at our expence. More self serving Nanny state BS. I know of several dozen of these worms bleeding us dry and laughging all the way to the liquor store, most of them either can’t believe they are getting this freebee, or have gotten so arrogant they believe they have a right to it. You can’t help them until they decide they want help and reach out for it.

  • Paul says:

    January 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    A policitian who calls someone a “worm” is not the kind of person I’d entrust with looking out for their best interests.

  • tony says:

    January 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Bob, turn off Jason Lewis & Hannity. The Keystone project is to get oil from Canada to th Gulf to be sold to Europe & South America. We already have 2 pipelines that brings oil from the same place to the US to be refined. The Repubs said if we dont send it to the Gulf they will send it to the west coast of Canada & sell it to Asia, but the Canadian government just put a 1 year moratorium on that. Even the Canadians dont want that oil spilling out on their ground. Regulations? We cut regulations & we got our current economy, Bush staffed our regulatory dept with oil people & we got the BP spill. First thing Obama did was clean out that nest. Who you gonna vote for now, more oil spills & broken economies or 23 months of job growth & a reduction of our foreight oil use below 50% of our total. Hope & change is working. We dont need another Bush clone.