“Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”

The words of Ross Perot’s Vice Presidential candidate, James Bond Stockdale, came to mind during the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Candidate Forum at the Archer House on Thursday morning, where I don’t think I was in my best form. I wasn’t the only one…

My left hemisphere was engaging my right hemisphere in witty repartee, I guess you had to be there, but it was one of those strictly internal conversations. Finally, when we got to a question about our economic future as a state, I was awakened by an odd feeling that I had slipped into an alternate reality, listening to the other debaters describe a rosy picture of where we were and where we are headed. Ray Cox and Pat Garafalo seem to think that things are just fine, government was too big and the cuts weren’t that bad. Ray even said some things needed to be cut.

I know after months of door knocking and talking with voters that there is anxiety about where we are headed and how the budget was ‘balanced’ in ’03. How will we improve the roads, build the bridges, and assure that local governments have the resources they need? How can we continue to let schools endure budget cuts with no recourse but increased levy votes? How will citizens pay for health care and prescription drugs? It was as if my two Republican opponents were saying the schools in Minnesota are too good. . . nursing homes provide too much care. . . everything will get better now that economy is improving. I looked at the audience they were real people connecting with what I was saying and it startled me into a higher level of unconsciousness. Of course I don’t agree with Gov. Pawlenty’s “No New Taxes” pledge!

After the meeting, this exchange got me thinking about the courage of another Republican Governor, Al Quie, for whom I have a lot of respect.

When he faced deficits, he accepted and utilized tax increases to balance the budget, as did Gov. Arne Carlson some years later. Quie believed that because of this decision he would not win re-election, and he decided not to run again, clearly making a hard choice for the best interests of his state and not for his own political gain.

It’s been a busy press week, and much of it focused on radio, the perfect medium for an introvert because it’s one-on-one with no audience, and it’s easy for me to find my “voice.”.

Sunday was Radio related with a fundraiser for ‘south of the river’ Democrats hosted by Garrison Keillor, it included a great stump speech by Mark Dayton too.

On Tuesday evening, I was fortunate to be invited to KRLX FM, the Carleton radio,

where the conversation ranged from health care to energy policy.

Next up, was the StarTribune on Wednesday, for their endorsement interview, and then

Eric Eskola, who called on Thursday. He’s working on a story for ‘CCO Radio about the hot races in the state.

Then, Friday afternoon, I was featured on KSTO, where I followed Ray Cox on a politics program, hosted by Will and Chris. It was a very congenial interview, joking with the hosts, to the delight of host Chris’ parents. Apparently, he’s an apple who’s fallen a ways from the tree, and I think I gained a couple of new supporters there in the “green room.” The day ended with a session at KYMN, waxing about how “I’m different” while struggling in vain to keep my statements under 30 seconds.

Stay tuned…

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