The Winona Daily News reports in New child protection center open; director looks forward to day he can close it:
. . . Among the speakers at Friday’s dedication were representatives for both U.S. Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz spoke from a lectern. All three were instrumental in securing a $1.22 million earmark for the center in 2008 and releasing the funds from the Department of Justice last month after they were delayed. The hold up caused the center to take out a loan to stay open.
The center has often struggled to obtain funding, but the federal money and $2.5 million in private funds from a WSU capital campaign are expected to sustain the institution into the future. All three legislators said they will continue to support the center.
“We are standing with giants here,” Walz said.
Angela Rose, executive director of Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, a Chicago-based child-advocacy organization, spoke of her own torment. She was abducted and sexually assaulted when she was a teenager. She relayed the trauma and how authorities handled her case.
Vieth took the podium last. He used much of his time for a rallying cry.
He talked about a hotel cleaning woman in Hudson, N.Y., who saw him speak. She told him she had been sexually abused when she was young and that it plagued her for years. She told him how important his work was, and that she would pray for him and his center every day for the rest of her life. He said the woman asked him not to forget her.
And then he challenged the audience and the world to put him out of a job.
“The grand opening of the new facilities of the National Child Protection Training Center is a great day,” he said. “But it pales in comparison to that day not far from now, that wonderful day not far from now when the work is done, when all the children are safe, and we can close this center.”
Amen to that. KAAL-TV provides a video tours of the new center in Center Cracks Down on Child Abuse. Vieth exemplifies the problem-solving ethos of many Southern Minnesotans. Confronted with his own limitations as a county prosecutor when pursuing child abusers, he worked to discover and share means by which all could fight and prevent this scourge.
The denial of the center's application for a federal grant by the DOJ, despite its high ranking by peer reviewers, triggered Congressman Walz to call for hearings on the grant making process. The Winona Daily News reacted to the testimony at those hearings here. Murray Waas has more on the hearings at Crooks and Liars.
In his Political Notebook at the Mankato Free Press, Mark Fischenich writes about Chet Edwards' visit:
A Lone Star salute
Texas Congressman Chet Edwards — the Democrat who will be George W. Bush’s representative in Washington once the president retires to his Crawford ranch — came to Minnesota this week to campaign for Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato.
Another reason you might know Edwards’ name is he was reportedly among the final four choices on Barack Obama’s list of running mates.
But Edwards’ visit was more about his chairmanship of the appropriations subcommittee that funds Veterans Affairs, and the Waco resident praised Walz’s record on veterans issues during stops in Rochester, Owatonna and Mankato.
Edwards talked about the $16.3 billion increase in funding for veterans health care and other benefits during Walz’s first year in Congress, an amount that exceeded the combined increases for those programs in the previous 12 years.
Edwards credited Walz in particular for pushing an increase in the mileage reimbursement paid to veterans who travel to get medical care at VA hospitals, bumping it from 11 cents a mile to 41 cents in the upcoming fiscal year.
“Tim twisted my arm so hard I thought I was going to have to hire a chiropractor,” Edwards said to the group of veterans at the Morson-Ario VFW.
The political reporter also observes how dated a recent vote makes Davis's attack ad:
The second part is clearly false because the moratorium on offshore drilling no longer exists.
Walz and other Democrats eventually dropped their opposition and supported a budget bill that allowed the moratorium on offshore drilling to expire. That bill passed. Since the offshore drilling ban no longer exists, it can’t be argued that Walz’s earlier votes will “keep gas prices high.”
In short, Davis is flapping his fingers backward, as his beloved vice presidential candidate might say.
GAC mathemathics prof Max Hailperin thinks that since Walz helped veterans with transportation, such advocacy adds yet another reason to vote for Tim Walz's re-election.
The Rochester Post Bulletin reports in Mayo Clinic hires firm to explore bypass route for DM & E that Davis's mention of the hire, which he had heard about as a candidate in a briefing by two Mayo officials, was the first public mention of the hire. The option may revive a bitter debate from Rochester's politics in the late 1990s:
The possibility of a bypass running south of the city holds both promises and perils. State Sen. Dave Senjem, of Rochester, who was present at Thursday's debate, said he was stunned when he heard the news.
"It hit me like a ton of bricks," said Senjem, the state Senate minority leader. "I thought it was out of the question."
Senjem, who is employed by Mayo Clinic, sat on the Rochester City Council in the late 1990s when the council unsuccessfully tried to push the bypass option. "It was like the Civil War in Rochester," pitting the city against rural residents as well as the city against DM&E, Senjem said.
He said he had always assumed the bypass idea was dead and that whatever mitigation did occur, it would involve a recessed railroad bed and high vertical walls running through Rochester. Talk of a bypass is likely to revive that rancorous debate, he said.
The article concludes:
At the forum on Thursday, both Davis and Walz spoke of the need to find a common solution. Davis, in particular, extolled the benefits of a multi-modal transportation hub involving rail, Interstate 90 and Rochester International Airport that would create jobs and new infrastructure.
"That would be fantastic, but we have to investigate this further," Davis said.
Walz, a Mankato high school teacher who was elected as a Democrat to Congress in 2006, opposed DM&E's plan. He indicated a new spirit of cooperation is being built among the major players. He said he has met dozens of times with the Rochester Coalition as well as nearly a half-dozen times with Canadian Pacific chief executive officer Fred Green. The Rochester Coalition includes Mayo Clinic, the city of Rochester, Olmsted County and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.
"We can build and expand our infrastructure. And if it is the Canadian Pacific building to move our commodities, to move our cellulosic ethanol or to move coal from the Powder River Basin -- because I'll tell you what, if you don't believe in coal, turn these lights off right now because that's where it's coming from," Walz said.
Walz focused on coalition building to resolve the dispute. Davis sounds as if he's addressing some other question.
Developing rural infrastructure is an issue that Walz has brought up at his Economic Summits in the district--and his concerns have included the electronic highway as while. In Broadband comes up a little in Local Elections, the Blandin Foundation's blog notes that Walz is one of the few who discuss the issue:
I’ve run across a couple of articles today that talk about local Minnesota elections and specifically mention broadband. I want to keep this post nonpartisan so I’m simply going to list and link to the articles I found. Also, there wasn’t anything particularly earth-shatteringly new in any of the articles – I just like to note the fact that broadband is coming up.
Rep Tim Walz of Mankato – “Government needs to help rural areas expand Internet access like years ago it did that for electricity, Walz said. The large empty areas between homes means electric cooperatives always will struggle without government aid, and the same is true to broadband, he said.”
Andy Welti 30B – a letter to the editor talks about Welti and the importance of the Broadband Task Force
I thought I’d be able to find more – sadly no; well not yet.
The Don Davis article about Greg Mikkelson has been posted to a Ron Paul forum here: Greg Mikkelson (I) Minnesota 1st Congressional District. Will Mikklelson's support for Ron Paul draw Republicans away from Brian Davis? Davis parts company with Paul on the new FISA bill (Paul voted against it; Davis told the Mankato Free Press he would have supported it) and the war in Iraq, both important issues for the Ron Paul movement.
While Mikkelson is the Independence Party's candidate after being the only one to file for the seat, Southern Minnesota's most prominent Independence Party leader, former Congressman Tim Penny, expressed his support for Walz's re-election in this week's Waseca Daily News.
A great article in the Mankato Free Press about Field Operations Day 1: Obama. Go read it to get a sense of the excitement about the campaign. The grassroots are pretty healthy in Southern Minnesota. Witness the news from the New Ulm Journal, Speeches as DFL opens Obama office:
Local Democrats now have foothold in downtown New Ulm, since they opened a DFL campaign office in the space formerly occupied by New Ulm Drug.
Party activists joined local representatives and candidates for a grand opening for the office, located at 103 N. Minnesota St., Friday evening.
The office has, so far, served as a central point for door-knocking tours, as a call center, as a merchandise shop for DFL candidates and as a meeting place for local party members. Sign-up sheets for upcoming activities hand on the walls and red, white and blue balloons hang from the ceiling. Campaign stickers and signs sit on the glass shelves that line both of the walls at the front of the space.
Another sign of grassroots organizing in Southern Minnesota? On beautiful sunny Saturdays like this one, we've noticed that our traffic plummets until nightfall, when friends return to check out the latest news and commentary.
The pattern developed earlier at the end of the summer; it strongly resembles what we saw on the Saturday before the 2006 election. Minnesota Central worries about apathy---with these new offices and the strong organizing by DFL candidates, and our own traffic patterns, we don't see the Walz campaign being lulled into sloth.
Photo: Victor Vieth.