Zimmerman caucuses: Short night for DFLers, GOP caucus-goers riled up

by Nathan Warner

Contributing writer

Tuesday’s precinct caucuses were the first time Livonia and Zimmerman convened after the redistricting last year.  The caucuses met in Zimmerman High School.

DFL Caucus Representative Frank Scouten presided over a room of 5-6 people.

“We had no candidates to vote on,” he said, “so we got out early, but we did pass a resolution increasing minimum wage and one banning copper mining on the north shore.”  He said the copper mining resolution was debated with several people abstaining from the vote for lack of information.

On the other side of the school, the Republican caucus filled three rooms with frustrated citizens passionate about their way of life and the disconnect they feel with the Capital.

State Representative Kurt Daudt stopped in to pitch his message about the urgency of this year’s elections.

“We must win back the majority in the House,” he said, “and we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we also have a great opportunity to win back both the House and the Governorship.”

He described the last legislative session as awful.  “The Democrats voted for $4 billion in new spending and $2.2 billion in new taxes,” he said, “while shamefully blowing $90 million on a new Senate building.”

Daudt went on to decry MNsure as an utter failure, comparing it to the problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act.

Hot on Daudt’s heels, Oak Grove mayor, Mark Korin popped in out of breath to proffer his ticket, challenging Daudt for the House Representative seat.

Mayor Korin stood on his laurels, claiming to have reduced his city’s taxes by 33 percent through the application of conservative business principles.

“I didn’t decide to run for this race, I was asked to run because we’re missing a grassroots voice today at the Capital,” he said, adding that he is no career politician.  “Will you honor the voice of your constituents,”

Region leader Peter Hiltner asked, “or will you ignore us once you get elected like all the people I’ve voted for in the last 20 years?”

Korin said that in business he’s held accountable for bad decisions and this is the model on which he bases his government service.

“If I don’t serve you, then I need to step down and I will,” he said, “If I betray your trust, you need to fire me.”

Because Korin is president and founder of DepotStar, an engineering company, he says he doesn’t need the government’s money to do his civic duty and he believes government roles need to be part-time.  “We need to be productive citizens in our country who serve in government as an obligation of our citizenship,” he added.

One of the many resolutions added to the Republican Party Platform for the SD 31 GOP District Convention in March was a popular call for a state constitutional amendment further safeguarding the Second Amendment, which passed unanimously.  As the night concluded, there was widespread frustration over the fact that border protection was clearly stated in the Republican Party platform, but was not being defended by the GOP at the national level.

“It’s right here, plain as day,” future chair of Livonia P1, Kim Stueve said, pointing to the provision, “so why aren’t they defending our Party Platform?”

“Because they’re cowards, plain and simple,” Hiltner said, “and I’m sorry if that surprises people, but that’s how we feel, and we are fed up with people we elect and trust to represent us, turning around and betraying us.”

This passion and energy will find further voice at the District Convention to be held March 15 at the Nowthen Alliance Church in Nowthen.