Supporting Representative Hortman

During an important debate in the Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday, April 3, on a controversial bill on whether punishments for protesters should increase for blocking roads and airports, several Representatives were giving passionate speeches on their position, including several Representatives who are racial minorities.  The main problem, several of their colleagues, also elected Representatives, didn’t listen to those speeches.  Representative Melissa Hortman (also the DFL Minority Leader in the MN House) called out those Representatives in a floor speech saying: “I hate to break up the 100% white male card game in the retiring room, but I think this is an important debate.”
She was asked to apologize by Representative Bob Dettmer (R), who stated that he was offended, as he is a white male.  An apology was also demanded of Hortman by Majority Leader Representative Joyce Peppin (R).  Hortman declined saying that she is “really tired of watching women in particular being ignored.  So I’m not sorry.”  Representative Greg Davids (R) called on her to resign and claimed, in an interview, that it created a “hostile work environment.”  Later that week, in a process overseen by Peppin through her position as majority leader, a formal protest was filed for the legislative record against Hortman.
The work environment analogy fails to justify the on-the-record protest.  Let’s start first with the attempts to paint Hortman’s calling out of the card game as discriminatory.  This characterization doesn’t take into account the context of the comments themselves, which is relevant to a discrimination claim under the Minnesota Human Rights Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act (neither cause of action is being contemplated here, but these are two examples we can use as an analogy).  The GOP has a history of using legislation and legislative rules to silence its opponents, be they activist organizations advocating for the rights of minorities or their own colleagues in the legislature.  A bill was being debated seeking to increase punishments for certain protesters amidst a backdrop of recent protest for rights of racial minorities.  While Representatives of a racial minority gave floor speeches discussing that bill, a group of white representatives are playing cards in the retiring room.  In this context, Hortman’s comments are attempting to stop ongoing racial inequity, rather than creating it.  To interpret the MHRA, Title VII, or any other law or rule in a manner to make Hortman’s comments a “hostile work environment” would stifle frank discussions about diversity in the workplace, and hurt important diversity training.
Furthermore, the work environment analogy fails, because if anyone was caught playing cards in a meeting, when their colleague was giving a presentation, they would be fired.
What’s even more insidious about the card game and the on-the-record protest is, that while many Minnesotans may not like the protest tactics at issue in the bill, most Minnesotans at least understand that the tactics are being used because many feel that lawmakers don’t listen to the voices of minorities.  The card game and on-the-record protest only proved that narrative to be correct. This fact clearly hasn’t sunk in to Peppin, Davids, and Dettmer, and shows they are out of touch with Minnesotans.
No protest, or any repercussive action has been filed against any of the representatives in the card game.  It should be noted that one of the representatives is a member of the DFL, and I sincerely hope he feels ashamed.
To the members of the GOP who were offended by Representative Hortman’s comments: don’t ever call us “snowflakes” again!
An opportunity to support Representative Hortmann on Tuesday April 18 can be found here:
Michael Vogel, J.D.

SD34 meeting on April 4th, at 7pm, Maple Grove Government Center

The SD34 Central Committee makes decisions for the District between conventions.  The Executive Committee, Precinct Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and members of the Congressional District 3 and State Central Committee who live in SD34 make up the State Central Committee.  All Democrats are welcome to attend meetings.  This month we will be planning precinct level listening sessions and a spring fundraiser.  This is a great opportunity for activists to share and coordinate activities.  If you have agenda items, please feel free to contact us.

We have an opening for a female-identifying delegate to the State Central Committee.  Please contact us for more information if you are interested for running for the position at the April 4th meeting.

The meeting will be at 7pm in the Maple Grove Government Center Lower Level EOC Room (12800 Arbor Lakes Parkway N).  We hope to see you there!

Response to attack ad against millenial Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff (Post by Mike Vogel)

A poll was recently released in the Georgia 6th Congressional District, putting Democrat Jon Ossoff up against his nearest Republican rivals, which would guarantee him a spot in the runoff if his numbers hold.  This was the district that was represented in US Congress by Tom Price, a Republican who is now in charge of HHS.  The district is in the suburbs near Atlanta, and has been traditionally Republican, except that Donald Trump only carried the district by 1 point over Clinton in the presidential race, and a Democrat is now in the lead, at least for the first round.  Even more impressive when you consider Ossoff is 30 years old, and now endorsed by Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis.  Ossoff represents the GOP’s greatest fear…politically active millennials.

Naturally, the GOP would react with an attack ad.  This attack ad goes after the fact that in college that Mr. Ossoff used to film comedy skits in cosplay and was in Georgetown’s Glee Club writing comedy songs, and claims he’s not capable of being serious.  The ad argues that there was some crossover time between some of these activities and the 5 year work he did as a foreign policy staffer under Congressman Hank Johnson.  The ad does not mention his education at Georgetown or the London School of Economics, or his 2016 documentary to BBC exposing the atrocities of ISIS.  The ad argues he is merely playing dress up.  The attack ad smacks of the assumption that a millennial who may like comedy, cosplay and glee club cannot be serious.

I am 31 years old.  I do stand-up comedy.  I was president of the Butler University Men’s Glee Club.  I’m a father of two, and I write parody songs about changing diapers and potty training. I look excellent dressed up as the Tenth Doctor of Doctor Who at comic book conventions. I’m also an attorney licensed in Minnesota since 2010.  As an attorney, I’ve been a Social Security Disability Advocate, I’ve done document review in connection with lawsuits and government investigations, and am now a Compliance Attorney.  Finally, I am the Vice Chair of DFL’s Senate District 34.  The GOP would probably like me to think I should apologize for the fact that I cosplay, do comedy, write parody songs, and sang in a glee club.  To the GOP, I say: I’m very serious, and you don’t scare me!

To other millennials, the GOP just noted that they think you are not welcome in politics.  The GOP, in their attack ad has just indicated that they don’t think millennials can be serious.  Meanwhile, Ossoff has received multiple key Democratic endorsements, and has raised in excess $3 million.  This isn’t just limited to the Georgia 6th, as the Democrats have pushed a very large campaign to get millennials interest in the campaign bench (see e.g. “Run for Something”).  This entire race dynamic has shown that the Democrats want to embrace millennials, and the Republicans want us to go away.

Us millennials are aren’t going anywhere, and the new generation of capable representatives and leaders are right before us.  The Democrats aren’t running from this.  The Republicans are running scared.

Caucus Training Sessions

Here are a list of Caucus Training Sessions that CD 3 is putting on. If you want more information on what the Caucuses are and what you should expect feel free to attend.

  • Jan 29th, 3-5 PM, Eden Prairie Community Center – Come to Caucus – hosted by SD48 (Babara Khan)
  • Feb 3rd Come to Caucus – Oxboro Library, Bloomington – hosted by SD50 (Ben Sunderlin)
  • Feb 13th Come to Caucus – Penn Lake Library, Bloomington – hosted by SD50 (Ben Sunderlin)
  • Feb 20th Come to Caucus – Penn Lake Library, Bloomington – hosted by SD50 (Ben Sunderlin)
  • Feb 20th, SPANISH/En Español – Vengan a la Caucus – Augsburg Park Library, Richfield – hosted by SD50 (Ben Sunderlin/Paula Cole)

2016 Caucus and Convention Information

The dates have been set for the 2016 Caucus and Convention Season! Here are the dates and locations below. Click here to learn more about the DFL Process.

2016 Caucus Night – March 1st 2016
Maple Grove Senior High 9800 Fernbrook Ln N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
More information will be mailed to you in the coming weeks about what to expect. During Caucuses we will be electing delegates for the Senate District Convention, participate in a preferential ballot, as well as introducing resolutions to the party platform.

2016 Senate District 34 Convention – April 9th 2016
Maple Grove Senior High 9800 Fernbrook Ln N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
During the Senate District Convention we will be endorsing candidates for MN House and MN Senate as well as electing delegates to the Congressional and State Convention.

2016 Congressional District 3 Convention – May 14th 2016
Osseo Sr High 317 2nd Ave NW, Osseo, MN 55369
During the Congressional Convention we will be endorsing a candidate for US Congress as well as endorsing individuals who applied to be National Delegates for the Democratic Party’s National Convention
**If you are interested in being a National Delegate click here for more information. For more information on the National Convention, click here.

2016 State Convention – June 4th 2016
Orchestra Hall 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
During the State Convention we will be considering proposed resolutions to the DFL Platform and Action Agenda and electing delegates to the National Convention

SD34 Convention – Saturday March 15th

The 2014 SD34 DFL Convention will be held on Saturday March 15th at Fernbrook Elementary School in Maple Grove.

Saturday March 15th
Registration opens at 8:00am, Convention convenes at 9:30am

Fernbrook Elementary School
9661 Fernbrook Ln N
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Convention Documents:
Proposed Convention Agenda
Proposed Convention Rules
Current SD34 DFL Constitution (There are no changes proposed)

For reference, the State DFL Party Official Call and Constitution is available here.

Any questions can be directed to Amy Van Schepen at

Precinct Caucuses – Tuesday February 4th

Precinct caucuses are scheduled for Tuesday February 4th, 2014.

Caucuses for Senate District 34 (Dayton, Maple Grove, Osseo, and Rogers) will be held at Maple Grove High School starting at 7pm (Doors open at 6:30pm).

Maple Grove High School
9800 Fernbrook Lane N
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Click here for map

To learn more about precinct caucuses, click here to view introductory videos and to find what precinct you live in.

If you are unable to attend on caucus night, you can still participate by submitting a letter of nomination (PDF).