30 Year Republican Legislator : “I wish I had any idea why they did it”

QUERY : Why is it that my respect grows for politicians after they leave office ?

ANSWER : ‘Cause they are finally free to be statesmen and not beholden to Party Managers … but why do they wait so long to be honest with their constituents ?

The MN-GOP has had more than their share of problems lately, yet the most revealing might be the Thornton Debacle.
The New Ulm Journal called it a “Clumsy power play” asking “Does anybody in the House GOP caucus know what they are doing?” Surmising “Apparently, the Republicans wants to fund different types of projects and wanted to put someone in charge who would do their bidding. If that was the motivation, Republicans acted with a stunning lack of finesse.”

For the New Ulm Journal to slam the Republican Party, is a newsworthy story in itself … yet, they seem to be doing that more frequently lately …

For those not familiar with the Thornton Debacle, Minn Post’s story provides a good overview.
Here are the highlights :

Susan Thornton, director of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) was fired.
The LCCMR, which was formed in 1963, is a nonpartisan outfit that makes recommendations on how money from the Lottery trust fund should be used in bettering the Minnesota environment.
A 17-member commission — five state senators, five state reps and seven citizens appointed by a combo package of the Senate, House and governor — recommends, by consensus, to the Legislature how the money should be spent.
Legislatures of the past have “tweaked” funding.

But when Republicans took control of the Legislature, the tweaks turned into major changes. Funding for projects that might involve such issues as global warming was slashed, according to some commission members. Those funds then were used to backfill budget areas that were being cut by the Legislature.

Thornton, according to commission member Jeffrey Broberg, was warned by Republican legislators that “she wasn’t working closely enough with the caucus.”

Broberg said that Thornton responded by saying that the commission is nonpartisan and that it was her job to work on behalf of Minnesotans.

Dennis Frederickson has a little insight into the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) having served twenty years including a stint as Co-Vice Chair.

In an interview, with the New Ulm Journal, Mr. Frederickson said he is confused and frustrated by the current debacle surrounding the firing and un-firing of LCCMR Director Susan Thornton.

Dennis Frederickson is a Republican and was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1980 and has been reelected every year until retiring in 2010.

Thirty Years of Service …
Thirty Years of Addressing Citizens Needs …
Thirty Years of Wisdom Gained by Listening.

Here are the highlights of the NUJ story :

Frederickson, speaking only as a prior member, said he was utterly baffled by the Republicans’ actions.
I can’t recall any situation like this. From what I understand, the majority of commission members were very supportive of Susan,” said Frederickson, “I haven’t heard a single reason why [they fired her], much less a good one.”
Frederickson said the LCCMR was established explicitly to be nonpartisan and that it was reconfigured just six years ago to incorporate public input by adding seven citizen members. He said commission was highly successful in staying nonpartisan because all its members prioritized hard facts over any political component.
That’s what made it such a pleasure to be able to serve on [the commission]. Everyone took the job so seriously and collegiality was expected on the commission,” said Frederickson, “I think the situation is very unfortunate for this reason: the commission added seven citizens explicitly so the public would have more input.”
He also said the commission had an admirable record of fiscal responsibility because of how thoroughly it vetted and tracked any funds it provided. He said the commission was diligent at checking throughout the year to make sure the group that received the funds were using them in the best way possible.
Regarding Thornton, he said that he knew her as being a hard worker who had the support of the majority of the commission. Thornton herself has developed a reputation for asking very tough fiscal questions of those seeking the commission’s funds. Some accusations, include ones from the LCCMR Co-chair Nancy Gibson and Co-vice chair Jeff Broberg, claim that the firing was an effort to oust Thornton’s strict oversight and bring the commission in line with Republicans’ agendas.
I feel it’s completely inappropriate for any long time, dedicated staff member to be treated how Susan was treated, “said Frederickson, “I wish I had any idea why they did it.”

That question – “I wish I had any idea why they did it” — would seem to be appropriate for many of the antics the MN-GOP has pulled since assuming power in the Minnesota Legislature.

This new crop of Republican legislators seem to march to their own drummer … with no respect for opposing views even if it is from experienced legislators who were elected under the Republican banner … case in point, Mike Parry (R-SD-26) and his July 5 2011 tweet during the state government shutdown : “With all due respect, Mondale & Carlson need to stay in their rockers unless they can get Dayton to do the right thing …. RESIGN!”

With all due respect” is something that does not seem to be offered to Republicans who do not walk the plank … just ask Arne Carlson, Al Quie, George Pillsbury, Peggy Leppik, Neil Peterson, Dennis Ozment, Roger Scherer, David Jennings, Ed Oliver, Lynne Osterman, Dave Bishop, Bill Schreiber, Art Seaberg, Rod Searle, Dave Durenberger, Doug Kelley, Joanell Drystad, and Al Olson … all who are currently banned from participating in Republican Party activities by the Republican Party State Central Committee.

The “MN-GOP Power Play” will lead to more people wondering if they can be trusted with any responsiblity.

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